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There have always been problems in any new professions to start with. A fresh Graduate from a University may be very sound professional in his area of study but may not be a very professional Lecturer at the early days of his career. Without proper teaching qualifications it is sometimes difficult to deal with different students from across the world. My critical incident is based on the same sort of problem which I faced at early days of my lecturing career. Looking at the broader canvass this is the problem for majority of the new lecturers in professional colleges. After sailing as Captain on board ship for several years I joined to lecturing profession. I am mostly involved with professional courses which are time constraint. For the professional students, time is money and they want to learn maximum things in a limited amount of time. At the same time some of these students come from various backgrounds and Nationalities find it very difficult to co op because of English not being their first language. Some of the International students find themselves on totally different planet when they start their studies here in FE colleges. In this type of circumstances the brighter students will always try to move ahead at a pace but some of them who are struggling because of language barrier or having different methods of teaching used elsewhere find it very hard, and will always try to stop the lecturer by asking/interrupting you unnecessary questions again and again. In this way I used to feel myself in a very tight position not to complete the syllabus in time but felt sorry for the brighter students who want to cash their time for money. But by the passage of time I have learnt that in this type of tight situation, first priority is the completion of the syllabus as if its not completed in time then be ready to take the rant from line manager or the course team leader as at the end I am suppose to finish the syllabus in time without wasting undue time on. This critical incidence made me think and work on the main professional standards of both the Scottish and the English frameworks. These Professional standards highlight the importance of values as underpinning important aspects of professional practice. According to the Scottish framework FE teachers are required to critically reflect on their own values.
English framework is more extensive and devotes one of the six domains that make up the framework to Professional values and practice (Domain A). Within this domain explicit statements are made about what teachers in the lifelong sector value, including (p. 3)
AS 3 Equality, diversity and inclusion in relation to learners, the workforce, and the community.
Within the Professional values and practice domain there are sets of statements about what knowledge teachers in the lifelong sector should 'possess', for example
A lecturer must be committed to improve his own personal and teaching skills by use of feedback and regular evaluation. In this way he must find different ways to evaluate and use of research to develop share his own practices with other colleagues.
As discussed earlier in the critical incident that to deal with learners from different backgrounds especially from multinational backgrounds the FE lecturers must be highly trained for such type learners.
When learners from abroad are enrolled in various course, although they meet the requirements of English, but having command on spoken English language does not solve the problem. The education standards in Scotland and England are far different from other countries. The students from out side UK normally more concentrate on mathematical subjects and pay less attention on theoretical subjects. The reasons could be different which not an issue to deal with are. When compared with UK students who are more good in literacy and theoretical subjects. This contrast of the back grounds causes many concerns. Ultimately the new lecturers find it bit hard to deal with. When these type of multi cultural students are mixed together in a totally new atmosphere especially for the new lecturer then things could be critical especially in time constraint professional courses
The phrase critical incident defines an image of fundamentally significant within one's professional practices(ed at el Tripp). This critical incident has changed my style of teaching and made me learn various professional teaching standards of UK.
To overcome this type of problem reflective practice pays a major role. Reflection on practice is natural process of making sense of professional action( ed at el Ghaye and Ghaye)
The students sponsored by various Shipping Companies are frequently contacted and briefed with Current practices in Marine Industry to run.
For the sake of new lecturers, induction process is very important and the buddy system along with line manager plays a very important role in developing professional skills of a new lecturer and to help a new lecturer understand the system in a much better way. Shadowing the colleague or senior lecturers in their class help the new lecturer to built confidence in him.
Managers are a very important factor in dealing with such situation. At the beginning when the class was lagging behind because of the disruptive behaviours of a few students, the manager played very important role and guided me in dealing with such students.
A good Lecturer should be flexible and innovative. The commitment to the continuous professional and vocational development is the key factor to help improve new lectures in the industry.
The complex relationship between standards and forms of professional practice is commented upon by Nasta (2007) both sets of standards make an implicit assumption that it is possible to capture in written statements-codified knowledge-the richness and complexities involved in the process of teaching. Whilst codification may have some significant advantages in making knowledge transparent and accessible, there is far from common agreement about whether it is possible to capture in this form, the fundamental knowledge and practices of professionals operating in complex teaching and learning environments.
While planning the lesson it should be focused that the teaching sessions will meet all the aims and requirements of individual learners and groups by using variety of resources. Now a days with use of latest ICT technology, Blacboard, moodle, Ilearn, Smartboard and Three dimensional power point presentations.
The use of audio visual lecturing techniques can help the students as well as lecturer to deliver quit dry subject in very interesting manner which keep all the students engaged.
This problem can be dealt with Inclusion in education. Inclusion is the other important factor to discuss. But the problem with inclusion is that dealing with students of various backgrounds it's very difficult to handle. Like I had a case when class comprising Indian, Nigerians, English and Turkish students. All students from different languages on a course for six month. Exams are MCA based and when we try to include all students as part of the class there are always some trying to stop you and ultimately others are not happy and assume their time is wasted because of those students with language barriers and the varying styles of learning and teaching from different countries. When we look at the various forms of inclusion which are as follow:
A lecturer must value all students equally. Their participation in class must be increased and reduction from exclusion from the culture they are used to of in their communities. The institution policies and culture must restructure so that they can respond to diversity of students in the locality.
If the barriers to learning can be reduced by including all students for special needs as well. If we can recognise that inclusion in education is very important aspect of inclusion in society we can plan coherent and inclusive learning programmes that will meet the learner's needs. The policies must emphasize on the requirements to promote Equality, diversity and inclusion.
Effective and positive relationship between learners and teaching staff contribute significantly to the quality of overall learning experience. HMIe and Scottish Funding Council reports highlighted the contribution that both staff and learning environments make to a positive student experience.
All teaching practitioners fulfil at least 30 hours of CPD a year, with a reduced amount for part time teachers and with similar expectations of managers and leaders. All lecturers must feel a professional responsibility to be engaged in sustained effective Continuous Professional development throughout their careers. At City of Glasgow college especially at faculty of maritime studies the lecturer are not only provided with one hour mandatory CPD but also sent on board ship to refresh and update their knowledge and skills. In this way not only professional approach is achieved but better atmosphere is created for the lecturers to learn new skills which are useful in their teaching. The CPD is categorised into various areas and regular workshops are held to provide these CPD opportunities as on going bases. The teaching profession is constantly adjusting to accommodate changes. Teachers are under constant pressure to learn new skills, update their knowledge and change classroom practices (Richardson, 1990).when new knowledge or skills are learnt, they need to be absorbed and included in classroom practices. Many researchers perceive teaching to be in a constant state of change as new ideas or developments are disseminated (Borko, Mayfield, Marion, Flexer & Cumbro, 1997; Gallimore, Dalton & Tharp, 1986; Richardson, 1990, 1992, 1994, 1997). Schools have traditionally offered teachers workshops conducted after school by an outside expert or by attending conferences during school holidays, and it would appear that this has not been as effective as first hoped. Literature claims that these short workshops do not encourage the development of new skills nor do they have any long-lasting effect on pedagogy (Boyle, While & Boyle, 2004; Goldenberg & Gallimore, 1991; Guskey, 2002; Huberman, 2001). The survey showed that teachers were seeking participatory learning that focused on practical classroom strategies those were relevant to them. This was evident in a number
of aspects of the survey, but most clearly when the aims for PD were identified as
Positive changes to teaching practices and an improvement in student learning.
Professional learning needs to be practical and authentic. In order to achieve this, the survey showed that teachers wanted to be in control of selecting the content of their PD programmes. The importance of content was further borne out by the participation of members in communities. Participation was topical; members were motivated to participate according to the topic under discussion. This did not diminish the worth of membership, but instead transforms their potential for professional learning 'just-in time'. Members joined their community for professional requirements and emotional support, further illustrating the just-in-time advantage. The results from this study has shown that membership to online communities provides teachers with a rich source of professional learning. It would appear to satisfy all the suggestions raised by research in this field and, more importantly, would appear to satisfy the members of those communities themselves. Perhaps the most significant result collected from the survey was the result that 86.7% of members considered it to be a meaningful form of PD.
Adding to this frustration, current professional development (PD) programmes are
failing to achieve successful change in teachers' practice (Guskey, 2002). New skills
Delivered via PD programmes are not being adopted by teachers nor are they being used
in the classroom (Guskey, 2002; Richardson, 1990). This has been explained as the
Result of teachers seeking practical skills that would result in positive change in student
Learning (Guskey, 2002) and not, as more commonly delivered by those PD programmes,
Impractical theory-saturated sessions. The ability for programmes to deliver
Practical personalised learning is difficult to achieve; trying to develop a programme
that is everything for everyone would be impossible. However, the lack of relevancy
And practical applicability of existing programmes has been an often voiced criticism
Parallel research indicates the diverse ways in which professionals respond to market and managerial reform. At one level this manifests itself in creative and routine (willing) compliance, rule following or rule breaking, including the 'fabrication' of activities designed to meet targets that professionals do not necessarily believe in (Ball, 2003). At another, it involves mediation, 'trade-offs' and 're-storying' of professional identities in and against the audit culture (Stronach et al., 2002). Wallace and Hoyle (2005) suggest that research into the impact of educational reform on professional practice shows a high incidence of unintended
consequences, ambiguity and wasted effort.
The professional knowledge is generated through tensions that are experienced at the interface 'between external criteria of performance and those ''ecologies of practice'' (Stronach et al., 2002) that frame identity and reality making among FE professionals' (p. 455). This argument demonstrates the need for subtlety in any attempt to understand the significance of tacit knowledge in professional practice (Eraut, 2000). Gaining a stronger sense of professionalism requires a more fundamental shift in the relationships that produce it, perhaps through professionals enjoying higher levels of trust but also being more answerable to civil society, which, it could be argued, is the source of the authority implied by the term 'professional'. It is possible that a stronger sense of professionalism would come from the instituting (to some extent, a restoration) of wider forms of democratic governance and accountability which transcend market narratives and consumerist interests (Gleeson & Knights, 2006). Thus, seen through a lens of a cultural understanding of learning, professionalism does not simply occur in a social context but operates as a social practice and constitutes a highly contested process. The cultural perspective here draws attention to the significance of unequal power relations in FE, in wider society and in individual learning sites.
Ball, S. (2003) The teacher's soul and the terrors of performativity, Journal of Education Policy, 8(2), 215-228.
Eraut, M. (2000) Non formal learning: implicit learning and tacit knowledge, in: F. Coffield (Ed.) The necessity of informal learning (Bristol, Polity Press).
Gleeson, D. & Knights, D. (2006) Challenging dualism: professionalism in troubled times,
Sociology, 40(2), 277-295.
Stronach, I., Corbin, B., McNamara, O., Stark, S. & Warne, T. (2002) Towards an uncertain
politics of professionalism: teacher and nurse identities in flux, Journal of Education Policy,
Wallace, M. & Hoyle, E. (2005) ESRC Teaching and Learning Research Programme thematic seminar. http://www.kcl.ac.uk/content/1/c6/01/41/66/paper-wallace.pdf (accessed
The online discussion has been very effective and helpful in context of professional practice. There were healthy group discussions on different aspects of professionalism. All the colleagues from different teaching areas were very informative and discussed the professional practice subject on variety of fruitful ideas. All the four elements of the discussions were exciting and everybody shared their views which are worth reading.
Having read the notes for the topic no 3, I found that the managerial view driven by the need to measure and define inputs, processes efficiency and effectiveness is very close to my critical incident. While dealing with professional students, who always want to cash every minute of the fee they have paid I always find me on the toes to complete the syllabus in time. Similarly my commitment and responsibility to serve clients to the best of my ability remind me to deal with the students which always try to distract me to slow down and delay the course. I always consult with my line manager and try to fulfil the basic requirements of professionalism. It is our moral obligation to continually develop and refine our practice and contribute to the development of the profession as a whole.
We in our FE colleges as part of the 'audit-culture' can not avoid various performance indicators. As part of HMIe we can not just ignore the whole class because of some bunch of students who will try to drag the whole class suffer. These performance indicators help us to raise the standards of professionalism.
Review of vocational education - The Wolf Report
The Secretary of State for Education commissioned Professor Alison Wolf of King's College London to carry out an independent review of vocational education. She was asked to consider how vocational education for 14- to 19-year-olds can be improvedÂ in order toÂ promote successful progression into the labour market and into higher level education and training routes. She was also asked to provide practical recommendations to help inform future policy direction, taking into account current financial constraints.
The review has been informed by over 400 pieces of evidence from the public, a number of visits to colleges, academies and training providers, and interviews and discussion sessions with key partners in the sector.
Key recommendations in the reportÂ include:
incentivising young people to take the most valuable vocational qualifications pre-16, whileÂ removing incentives to take large numbers of vocational qualifications to the detriment of core academic study
introducing principles to guide study programmes for young people on vocational routes post-16 to ensure they are gaining skills which will lead to progression into a variety of jobs or further learning, in particular, to ensure that those who have not secured a good pass in English and mathematics GCSE continue to study those subjects
evaluating the delivery structure and content of apprenticeships to ensure they deliver the right skills for the workplace
making sure the regulatory frameworkÂ moves quicklyÂ away from accrediting individual qualifications to regulating awarding organisations
removing the requirement that all qualifications offered to 14- to 19-year-olds fit within the Qualifications and Credit Framework, which has had a detrimental effect on their appropriateness and has left gaps in the market
enabling FE lecturers and professionals to teach in schools, ensuring young people are being taught by those best suited.
The Government will shortly be publishing a formal response to the review
which will set out how it intends to take forward the recommendations.
If you have any questions about the report or the next steps please email the DepartmentÂ 'sÂ Wolf Review team.
You are correct, we cannot avoid PIs as much as we would perhaps like too. I agree with your statement 'performance indicators help us to raise the standards of professionalism'
I may have previously moaned about it as it is extra stress sometimes to get students through to success who are not performing well. However as you clearly state it does make us as lecturers try even harder therefore raising the standards by not giving up so easily on difficult students.
If the FE system wasn't so focused on PIs would life as a lecturer not be easier? If we only had to deal with passionate and enthusiastic student's would our career be as rewarding?
The lecturers should try to deal with these issues in lieu of values and ethics that describe the real professional practice.