In our family university was never spoken about before … and now, it’s “Oh what are you going to do? Are you going to leave school, are you going to go to uni?”

Teaching and Supporting Enabling Learners

Accent on Communication


  • Display awareness of their sacrifices

    Right from the start, let your students know that you are aware of the sacrifices they are making to study.

    Some Student Comments

      I was intimidated at the thought of returning to school at 45 years of age. I was also not sure whether financially, taking on a degree program and incurring a large HECS debt, on top of my mortgage, was a sensible choice; I am putting everything into study! ;

      I gave serious consideration as to the cost of a degree. I am single, one average wage, children to support, a mortgage on my house, the burden of a debt hanging over my shoulder, was just too great. It's very difficult to do this alone, possibly the most difficult of circumstances.

  • Address academic cultural capital...

    ...spend more time unpacking the academic terminology you use in class - do not take it for granted that students will know what you are talking about.

    Some Student Comments

      It’s very much like moving to a foreign country where you don't speak the language. Having been out of school for so long… but actually committing to it, taking that leap into the unknown a little bit by taking away my security blanket of work and a full-time income, is very similar to when I moved to [another country]. Yes, I had work but I had no social network, none of that framework. So you’re swapping one framework for the other pretty much and just having that, you can do it. If you do fail, it’s not the end of the world. You still have your skill set there that you had two years ago.

      You know, [...] I think that’s the parallel – that’s kind of how I feel at times because with university, it is a different language, it is a different way of writing, it is a different way of communicating…

      Even as simple as telling you the difference between a lecture and a tutorial, I didn’t even know what they were sort of thing, you know. Referencing, different ways and styles of writing is, how to read an academic journal, what an abstract is – I didn’t know any of that before that [enabling] course.

  • Record your classes and make the recordings available

    Some Student Comments

      I’ve actually found that doing it online is very helpful because you can rewind, you can pause [...] you can stop the lecture, go look something up and then be on the same page rather than having that rushed feeling of “Oh, okay, I’ve got to write a note to go back to that” and maybe losing that.