National Teaching Fellow 2014
Institution at time of Award - University of Chichester
Professor Vini Lander's passion for learning and teaching about equalities arose from her childhood, experience as a teacher, and now as a teacher educator. The persistence of educational inequality from early years to higher education has spurred Vini on to educate teachers to think beyond the status quo that may perpetuate these inequalities. Her long-held belief that teachers can make a difference has led to her inspirational teaching.
Vini started her career in higher education in 1992 as a science educator. In 2000 when she started to examine the teaching of equalities in initial teacher education she noticed that the 'one-off' lectures on equality and diversity did not inspire student teachers to translate theory into practice. Teachers make a valuable contribution to society and she felt they deserved better preparation to teach in a diverse society. From 2004-10 Vini was seconded to the Training and Development Agency Multiverse project as Deputy Director. Her role involved disseminating teaching materials related to diversity and achievement to teacher education institutions across England.
Vini's approach to learning and teaching about equality and diversity starts by stimulating students' curiosity through asking searching questions. She challenges her students to think differently and supports them to find ways to act to make a difference.
Charley, now a teacher, said: “Sadly, it is very easy to brush diversity under the carpet by buying ‘welcome mats’ in 40 different languages. Your teaching taught me we need to do more than this ...race equality has to be an attitude embedded into teaching not a tick list.”
In 2006 Vini introduced the Citizenship specialist route to the teacher education degree. The students on this route develop a deeper understanding of equalities and work with children and teachers to embed equality in their teaching. This primary citizenship route is the only one in the country and exemplifies Vini's ability to innovate and go beyond the usual to promote equality and diversity. The Ofsted Report (2011) noted “the outstanding way in which trainees are prepared to teach in a socially, ethnically and culturally diverse society”.
Since being awarded her National Teaching Fellowship, Vini has taken up the role of Professor in Education, Head of Research in the Faculty of Education at Edge Hill University.
Head of Research
Edge Hill University