Book by Ann Gravells
Review by Meghan Ward,
Student Life & Engagement,
University of South Florida-St. Petersburg
Equality and Diversity in the Lifelong Learning Sector discusses the meanings and benefits of equality and diversity in the classroom. Gravells and Simpson believe that by, “combating discrimination, valuing diversity and advancing equality students should improve…by helping create a positive and equal learning environment” (p.7). Gravells and Simpson elaborate how the perception of equality and diversity in society have changed over time, for example, in the past, equality has often been described as “everyone being the same and having the same opportunities, while, it currently is described as everyone being different, but having equal rights” (p.8).
As teachers, the authors believe educators are responsible for advancing equality and diversity in the learning environment, so they provided many definitions of diversity and equality, along with exercise and activities that can make any teacher feel more educated on inclusivity in the classroom. Through incorporating the teaching and learning cycle, Gravells and Simpson, elaborate on how through identifying students’ needs, planning learning, facilitating learning, assessing learning and utilizing quality assurance and evaluation, teachers can promote inclusion and advance equality and diversity.
While Equality and Diversity in the Lifelong Learning Sector is written more for teachers, advisors can benefit from the lessons within the book. From creating a positive culture, to developing policies, procedures, and action plans, to best practices and examples of adapting learning situations and resources, Gravells and Simpson go into great detail of how to incorporate innovative practices into everyday learning. As a higher education administrator, the activities and examples integrated throughout the text provided for great areas of reflection and analytical problem solving. Furthermore, through reflecting on the examples, scenarios and activities provided, readers are able to assess their knowledge base and application of diversity and equality in their current position.
Despite the realistic exercises and points of reflection, the content of this book educating teachers on diversity could be seen as surface level. Additionally, by simply glancing at the title, readers might be under the impression that the “Lifelong Learning Sector” would pertain to adult learners or those who are continuing their education. However, the Lifelong Learning Sector pertains to a certificate program in education and this particular book is utilized as a primary resource towards this certification. Additionally, authors go into great depths to discuss the legislation that promote equality and protect individuals against discrimination; however, since the book was written for readers in the United Kingdom, this section of the book is not beneficial for advisors or teachers in the United States.
I would not recommend this book to advisors unless they desire to receive the Lifelong Learning Sector Certificate or plan on working in higher education abroad in the future. Although activities and exercises within the book were resourceful, there might be literature more applicable to diversity and equality specifically for advisors employed at higher education institutions in the United States. Nonetheless, becoming informed and trained in diversity and equality is an asset while working in higher education so staying educated is necessary to best serve students.
Equality and Diversity in the Lifelong Learning Sector (second Edition). (2013). Book by Ann Gravells, and Susan Simpson. Review by Weghan Ward. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin. 200pp., $26.00, (paperback), ISBN # 978-0-5697-3