Introducing the Team at Diverse Learners
Team Ethos: To guide students on their learning journey, through identifying individual learning styles, personalising strategies, and through the use of Assistive Technology, so that they become more efficient and effective learners, with confidence in themselves and their capabilities.
Specialist one-to-one Study Skills and Strategy Support Tutor
Kerry is a graduate of the Open University and has gained all her qualifications via distance learning. This, like Andrew, gives her an insight into the needs of students studying at a distance.
Kerry has Specialist Teacher status, and an Assessing Practicing Certificate (Patoss).
She lectures on the BSc Nursing course at Hull University and has been involved in a number of research projects and initiatives to identify new ways to support healthcare students, publishing papers and presenting at international conferences.
Kerry and Jim have completed a project on using Skype on mobile devices to support student nurses on placements, presenting at the first national aDSHe conference in 2012.
“Over the last 30 years I have developed an extensive background in student support, in a wide variety of educational settings. I have supported many students with mental health issues in managing their learning and feeling more in control of their studies. This has been achieved through developing listening skills, building self-confidence and self-esteem, managing stress and anxiety, offering support and reassurance, and developing time management and organisational strategies.”
Andrew is an OU graduate and has been a registered nurse for 16 years and is a holistic, reflective, empathetic, and evidence-based practitioner. This background underpins his approach to all students, and his experience as both a student nurse and mentor to student nurses and colleagues has given him particular insight into, and understanding of, students on courses wherein professional placements are a requisite part.
Andrew has a calm, relaxed and measured manner with an engaging sense of humour that is invaluable for diffusing the anxiety that is often displayed by students in mentoring sessions. His approach enables him to be empathetic whilst supporting the students to take the steps needed to become more independent in their learning.
He also works at a local university as a mentor to Level 3 students, who have the highest complexity and need – for instance, students with mental health difficulties in addition to sensory impairment, physical disability or long term condition such as Fibromyalgia and M.E.
Specialist one-to-one Study Skills and Strategy Support
“I use a friendly, question, discussion and demonstration approach to support students throughout their studies, helping them to develop strategies to target their effort more effectively, and to achieve their potential.”
Michelle has been working with higher education students who have either a Specific Learning Difficulty or a disability for 14 years. Her main area of expertise is with healthcare students; nurses, midwives, medical students, dietitians, nutritionists, operating department practitioners, social workers, physiotherapists.
As a qualified midwife she is, like Andrew, aware of the particular difficulties of working in a variety of clinical placement settings, and within different and difficult shift patterns. This background also enables her to recognise and suggest transferable techniques from the academic to the clinical area, and vice versa.
Kerry and Michelle peer observe each other’s teaching sessions on a regular basis, and such observation of practice will be done on a 6 month basis at Diverse Learners to ensure consistency of approach.
Assistive Technology Specialist
Jim has worked in the field for 24 years with 20 years at HE level in Assistive Technology. Kerry and Jim have worked together for 15 years on a number of research projects and initiatives related to embedding study skills and delivering support via Skype. Jim also trained Kerry to use a wide range of Assistive Technology. Kerry says, “If he can train an incompetent technophobe like me he can train anyone.”
Trained in-house and a graduate of the University of Hull Jim is the IT coordinator for the University’s Disability Service and now develops their training programmes. This includes training other staff members in how to deliver training to students, delivering training to large groups of students as well as 1:1, writing training guides and producing training video podcasts for Assistive Technology.