Needs of the learner population and its effects on teaching

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The purpose of this section is to build an awareness of the escalating needs of the learner population and how it dictates the ever increasing roles, responsibilities and boundaries of the teacher. (Gravells et al, 2009)

The key purpose of being a teacher is to create effective and stimulating opportunities for learning, through high-quality teaching that enables the development and progression of all learners. (Gravells et al, 2009)

Gravells, et al (2009: p2) certify that teachers in the Lifelong Learning Sector have been provided with 'Professional Standards' put into place by the Lifelong Learning Sector thus providing a reliable framework with which teachers can refer and use as an agreed building block that should be implemented in all environments. This includes all post-16 education, further education, adult and community education, work based and offender education. (Gravells et al,2009)

Domain A: Professional Values and Practice:

Sets the standards for these values and their associated commitments:

Domain B: Learning and Teaching

Domain C: Specialist Learning and Training

Domain D: Planning for Learning

Domain E: Assessment for Learning

Domain F: Access and Progression (Wilson et al, 2009)

(Refer to appendix: figure 1, figure 2, figure 3, figure 4 and figure 5)

The teacher has a responsibility to register with the 'Institute for Learning', maintain their continuing professional development and abide by their 'Code of Professional Practice'. (Gravells et al, 2009), refer to appendix, page 2.

Tummons (2007) maintains that the first responsibility of the teacher is to our learners. He advocates that the role of the teacher is, partly to motivate, build confidence and provide feedback with the intention to motivate the student further by offering praise and recognition of work well done, in addition to providing guidance on future tasks.

Petty (2004) also tells us that motivating students is a prerequisite to effective learning and provides one of the greatest challenges to teachers.

Whitton (2009) provides a thought provoking set of guidelines which emphasis some of the roles of a teacher:

A good listener provides a very positive experience for the student making them aware that what they contribute has been acknowledged.

A clarifier and assessor confirm whether instructions have been understood.

An encourager provides reassurance to the learners that their messages have been understood.

A reflector and planner reviews and amends teaching processes and delivery to contribute towards continued learning.

A trouble-shooter provides or follows a protocol or method for handling problems that arise within the establishment or classroom.

A negotiator offers a range of possible solutions to problems that learners experience by providing and investigating options and solutions.

A director provides and explains choices to learners and makes decisions.

(Whitton,2009)

Seevic College (2010) specifies some of the boundaries within the sector, but in addition provides a safeguarding handbook which specifies certain boundaries. The teacher if she is told something personal from a student that could harmful to their wellbeing, then the details need to be passed onto the 'Safeguarding Children Team'. The teacher needs to avoid asking any questions to what has been relayed by the student. A times the teacher may give an opinion but she/he must not use their position to force her/his beliefs onto the students. A teacher should be approachable and friendly with her/his students, but the teacher needs to remember that she is an adult with a role of responsibility and therefore needs to remain as their teacher not part of the students clan.

In addition the teacher needs to have another member of staff with them when interviewing or seeing one student where privacy is needed then an open door is a favourable option. If you know a student and have squash or some other activity then it is imperative that the Safeguard team are aware of the connection. Furthermore should a student be stranded a need a lift then the teacher must not oblige but notify the appropriate departments. Lastly never have any communication with a student with your own personal resources, the teacher must communicate only through college resources. (SEEVIC-College Safeguarding Policies, 2010)

Introduction

Equality

The rights of learners to have access to, amend, and participate in their chosen learning experience and this should be regardless of ability and/or circumstances.

There are six strands of equality, age; disability; gender; race; religion and belief and sexual orientation. (Gravells et al, 2009)

Childrens Act 2004 provides the legal underpinning for the 'Every Child Matters' Well-being encompasses the following points:

Be healthy

Stay safe

Enjoy and achieve

Make a positive contribution

Achieve economic well=being. (Gravells et al, 2009)

Disability Discrimination Act 1995 (Amendment 2005) if a learner does disclose a disability or additional need; then the whole organisation is deemed to know and it is vital that issues are communicated to all concerned and acted upon. (Gravells et al, 2009)

Diversity

Is about valuing and respecting the difference in learners, regardless of ability and/or circumstances or any other characteristics the learner may possess. Greater than one learner and the teacher will experience diversity not forgetting that the teacher themselves will be different from the learners however regardless of these differences learners are entitled to be treated with respect. A number of these differences will include experience; educational background; culture and beliefs. (Gravells et al, 2009)

Sfbn-equality-diversity.org.uk encapsulates equality and diversity by stating they drive an organisation to comply with anti-discrimination legislation.

One of the positive benefits is drawing on a wider pool of talent, positively, motivating and meeting the needs of a wider learner base. (sfbn-equality-diversity.org.uk)

(www.sfbn-equality-diversity.org.uk/meaniing.html accessed 20th November 2010)

Inclusion

Tomlinson (1996: p10) sums up equality, diversity and inclusion in one paragraph:

'The aim is not for students to simply take part in further education but to be actively included and fully engaged in their learning. At the heart of our thinking lies the idea of match or fit between how the learner learns best, what they need and want to learn and what is required from the FE sector, the college and teachers for successful learning to take place,

By inclusive learning therefore we man the greatest degree of match or fit between the individual learners requirements and the provision that is made for them.'

Initial Assessment

An initial assessment is essential to identify each learners needs Maslow (1970) provided a hierarchy of needs that is a classical representation of human motivation; and aspects of self-actualization. (Refer to appendix page )

The college holds interview days whereby prospective students are pre-interviewed so that the institute can assess their suitability for a course. The pre-interview process evaluate the students predicted academic results to ensure that the right people are enrolled on the right courses in addition individual needs are addressed and recorded for future reference. This process has proved to be a motivator for those who wish to continue with their education.

The students first day are used as an induction day and this enables the students to socialise with other students, introduce them to the program and to the lecturers. This initial assessment enables the college to create a profile for each student which provides the lecturer with an insight into the student's needs, vision and goals.

My class ages range from 16 through to 18 years of age and are currently undertaking a range of First Year BTEC and 'A' Level examinations in ICT in a college for Further Education. They are all housed in a safe environment with adequate lighting and furniture together with a host of personal computers equipped with the software which will enable them to learn, practice and pass their examinations.

My students come with a variety of skills, personal attributes and experiences which have affected their educational and social requirements. The college provides teachers with ILP (individual learning plans) for each student which provides me with an insight into their current needs and past educational attainment. The ILP will highlight any particular needs the student may need for example the student may use English as their second language which would need to be addressed when preparing and delivering the lesson. These records enable and prompt me to ensure that all learners are included in a learning session. The other advantage of an ILP is for those students who may experience some physical or psychological difficulties and require in class support. It is of utmost importance for me to take note of all ILP so that all students are mental stimulated, active participants and enjoy their learning experience. In addition the ILP provides me with a tool whereby the lesson can be prepared and taught at the level suitable for the students.

The lessons must provide a challenge but as McNamara and Moreton (1997) brought to my attention that it is not just about ensuring the session is set at an appropriate level but also to highlight learners learn in many different ways which I find the Kolb's learning cycle provides me with a firm base in which to practice.

Using starter activities prior to sessions enables me to assess their learning and make me aware of those students who may need extended activities.

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