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As teachers we all want our learners to reach their full potential with their studies. In order for the learners to do this its important for the tutor to be mindful of the issues of equality and diversity. These issues will be discussed here as well as ways to promote inclusive learning which help the learners to get the most out of their learning.
Each learner is different due to different previous experiences and this means we must tailor our teaching so that it is appropriate to each individual learners needs. In terms of equality and diversity the relevant factors we must be sensitive to when teaching are disability, sexual orientation, gender, ethnicity/race, age, religious beliefs and economic/social needs.
The diverse backgrounds and experiences of individual learners are what make teaching so exciting and challenging. To tackle these challenges tutors need to employ a number of strategies to promote inclusive learning which means getting all the students involved in the learning.
Inclusive learning can be achieved in a number of ways such as providing grants to those on lower incomes so they can complete a course at a lower cost or for free. If there are wheelchairs users on the course the appropriate venue for the teaching must be chosen so that access is as easy as possible. A ground floor venue is likely to be the preferred option or where a particular class has to be above the ground floor it must have the option for the wheelchair user to be able to use a lift. For students that have a disability (such as being blind or deaf, etc.) it may be useful for the student to have learning support whilst attending the classes.
Carefully prepared resources can also help with inclusive learning. For example, handouts should be in a font size which is big enough (and without serifs) to help partially sighted learners with reading it. Any resources need to be in plain English (i.e. avoid unnecessary jargon). A good layout combining pictures and text is far more stimulating for learners than just blocks of text. Coloured paper may help those who are dyslexic.
When it comes to the actual teaching the tutor can use a number of techniques to encourage inclusive learning. These include using different learning styles, differentiation and varying the activities and interaction between the learners. It's understood that different people assimilate information with different learning styles such as auditory, visual, aural and kinaesthetic methods. Differentiation is when the teaching methods match and challenge an individual's needs and ensure their interest and enthusiasm in the subject is maintained. Understanding your students' abilities will ensure the right balance of methods and different activities are used.
Other points of referral which are available to meet the potential needs of learners include the hardship fund, learner support fund, Citizens' Advice Bureau, Job Centre Plus, Norfolk Deaf Association, Sensory Support, MIND, etc.
Legislation and Metropole Learning
For my job role I require an understanding of all current legislation, policies and procedures. I feel we have these in place so we have a guideline and it also protects tutors and students while working in a teaching environment.
I am new to the teaching environment so I have had to learn the different aspects of the current legislative requirements. I follow the Institute for Learning (IfL) guidelines which is a professional body for teachers, trainers, tutors, student teachers and assessors in the further education and skills sector. IFL listens and supports the needs of registered members and it continues to raise the status of teaching practitioners across the sector.
My current employer (Metropole Learning) makes sure that I have up to date information on legislative requirements and codes of practices. And I am also aware where to obtain this information if needed.
The Lifelong Learning UK (LLUK)
An independent employer-led sector skills council responsible for the professional development of all those working in community learning and development, further education, higher education, libraries, archives and information services and work based learning across the UK.
I would use the knowledge that I have gained from LLUK to increase the quality of my working area (Life Skills). I would also make sure that I incorporate the six core principles:
There are many more legislations that I have to be aware of while teaching. It is important that I keep up to date with these legislations and part of my responsibility is to make sure that they are been adhered to and I know what procedure to follow if this is not the case.
Data Protection Act
Each learner that I have will have their own file which holds personal and confidential information (address, contact details and medical history). These files are kept in a cabinet which is locked in the main office but I have access to these.
Health & Safety Act
When teaching I am always making sure that the environment that I am working in is suitable for me and my learners. Making any adjustments where necessary, for example if there are wheelchair users or people with epilepsy.
I carry out any risk assessments that maybe needed and I am aware of the companyââ‚¬â„¢s fire procedure including the usage of fire equipment.
Race Relations Act, Discrimination Act, and Equal Opportunities
It is very important in my job role to have the correct information, knowledge and understanding of these legislations. As the learners that I work with have learning and physical disabilities. I make sure that we have adequate facilities and adapt my resources to make sure that nobody is discriminated against.
This essay has helped to summarise the broad range of different people that you can expect to meet in the classroom and has suggested a number of ways to help increase the inclusivity of those learners. In addition, a range of other third bodies were suggested which can assist the student in maximising their potential and ultimately increase the enjoyment of their studies.