- Explain the teaching role and responsibilities in education and training.
My work is within the education sector at Northampton College. Specifically, I do two jobs both in the Supported Learning Department, firstly as a Learning support assistant, and secondly as an Hourly Paid Teacher. The Supported Learning department provides specialist education for our students with learning disabilities, it provides education which teaches life skills and the functional areas and skills of Maths and English that meet the real needs of our Young People. Interestingly we were working towards a method of rewarding when assessing, setting targets and goals. This became clearer to me when reading Petty, (2014,p.67) in which he talks about “Medals and missions are related to the goals the student is working towards“. The phrase “Medals and Missions” made simple sense of what we were doing. The ethos of his book, Teaching Today, (Petty, 2014), is also close to the Supported Learning ethos of meeting the needs and requirements of the diverse and different student body. The Teaching /Learning cycle of continually assessing, planning, delivering (or teaching), assessing again and then evaluating, is a model that we utilise extensively. We try to help our young people to make a successful transition from school into Further Education, it is acknowledged as being very hard, (Department for Education, 2011,p.14).
- Explain how the teaching role involves working with other professionals
The ‘Team Around the Child’ (TAC) concept can include any professionals from other fields such as education, health, social services, and police. Within the education environment there are many professionals that may be called upon – from the Teaching staff (the Teacher and Support Assistants) to the SENCO (The Schools Special Educational Needs Coordinator) there can also be involvement with the Principal or Head and the Governors. There should of course be layered communications and involvements with the Students Parents/Carers, siblings and other family members. There may also be occasion to call upon the specialised Safeguarding officers in potential cases of harm or abuse.
Within the Supported Learning area there will also be contact on a regular basis with the following professionals; Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) professions, Speech And Language Therapist (SALT), Occupational Therapist, Educational Psychologist, Social Workers, the Police and Youth Offending Teams.
- Explain the boundaries between the teaching role and other professional roles
Teaching as a rule tends to have variation between the vastly different curriculum areas, however in Supported Learning these boundaries are often blurred as Teaching staff can often cover all elements of the curriculum. At the Pre-entry level or at Entry Levels 1,2 & 3 the nature of the subjects is much less sophisticated or complex than at GCSE level. However, performing both an ASA and a Teacher role I have noticed that where there is team work the lessons tend to be more successful than where there are rigid boundaries between staff. With other professions, it is important to adhere to appropriate behaviours and to avoid overfamiliarity. Not letting one’s opinions cloud one’s judgements is an important area to reflect upon and to take care to not overstep boundaries with fellow professionals. Lastly, teaching staff should always consider the potential dangers and pitfalls of using Social Media like Facebook & Twitter – not disclosing confidential information about students or indeed not having any students on your friends list will help to mitigate any risks.
- Summarise key aspects of legislation, regulatory requirements and codes of practice relating to own role and responsibilities
In our sector of Supported Learning the new SEND Code of Practise (Department for Education and Department of Health, 2014, p13-p14) is very much a bible. Critically it has widened the period from 18 years to 25 years in which a person transfers between child and adult services. There is now much more focus on the views of children and young people in decision making and in their aspirations. Another important Act for us to adhere to, is the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act (2006), it is a very risk adverse document which seeks to help avoid placing people who are unsuitable to work with children, young people or vulnerable adults. The other key legislation documents that we need to follow include the Health and Safety at Work Act (1974), Data Protection Act (1998) and the Equality Act (2010.
The Health and Safety at Work Act (1974) describes the obligations on employers and employees and looks at protecting against the risks involved to health and safety, by assessing and mitigating against them.
The Data Protection Act (1998) controls how information is used by organisations or the government.
The Equality Act (2010) of England, Scotland and Wales ensures that people’s rights are met in areas such as age, disability, gender, religion and race.
Considering your learning in this unit or drawing on your own experience, provide a reflective account in relation to the following:
- explain why it is important to promote appropriate behaviour and respect for others (ref. 2.2)
This course mirrored for me the work we do during induction, at the very start of each course the different policies for behaviour and for respect for each other were mapped out and agreed by the teaching staff and the students. During the very first session of this course we set out ground rules which when followed enable learning to happen in a safe and structured way. I have found that collaboratively working with the learners to build a list of ground rules develops a list that we can all follow, the rules tend to be generic like punctuality, turning off phones, no swearing, no violence. We also try and incorporate positives like equality, respect for each other’s diversity and being frank and honest with each other.
- ways to promote equality and value diversity (ref. 1.3)
The Equality Act (2010) embraces diversity and protects people from discrimination because of being in one or more of the following categories: race, sex, sexual orientation; gender; disability, marital state, maternity, religion and faith, and age. The act sets out to prevent unlawful discrimination against people but it also strives to promote equality.
In practise, I have found that working in Supported Learning it becomes second nature, in our classes there are vast spectrums of differing abilities and different needs. Therefore, my lesson plans must be tailored to include all. I should ensure that the classroom environment and the actual content of the lesson is inclusive to all. I have found that ensuring each person in the room has a voice and is encouraged to use it, sometimes by using starter or Icebreaker activities.
During the second session of this course I came up with a definition of Diversity that I liked – Diversity is an acceptance and celebration that includes all, regardless of age, race, ethnicity, sex, gender and ability.
- the importance of identifying and meeting the needs of learners (ref. 1.4)
When embarking on teaching a new class I would first undertake initial assessments to see where any gaps are, and to understand the diversity of knowledge and ability – this is very important in Supported Learning where each class has very diverse students. Each student also has a file of information which in most instances also includes an Education Health and Care (EHC) plans (Department for Education and Department of Health, 2014, p141-p206). An EHC plan is the new document which has replaced the Statements of SEN for children and young people with special educational needs, it has wealth of information and should also include targets for the young people which can be incorporated into the lesson plans. Then I would plan and deliver lessons to the group and to individuals where required. It is then critical to reflect on how things went and if need be to adapt and apply any changes. Next I tend to continually assess and apply any further changes.
- ways to maintain a safe and supportive learning environment. (ref. 2.1)
A safe learning environment is about the physical safety of the classroom, but, it is also about the feelings of the young people, some of whom may have had very negative experiences of learning.
On the physical side adherence to the rules and policies of the organisation will be a starting point, following the obligations laid down by the Health and Safety at Work Act (1974) is key. Each time a classroom is used a risk assessment can be carried out very quickly making sure that fire exits are accessible (especially for wheelchair users), ensuring that there are no dangers that could cause trips and falls. describes the obligations for example.
With each class I teach I try to ensure a safe environment by making sure we establish ground rules and that everybody is comfortable with each other. I then try to model good behaviour by doing things like arriving punctually, ensuring my phone is turned off and treating all the learners with respect.
Data Protection Act (1998) [WWW Document]. UK Legislation. doi:10.1136/inpract.20.2.101
Department for Education (2011) Support and aspiration: A new approach to special educational needs and disability.
Department for Education and Department of Health (2014) Special educational needs and disability code of practiceâ€¯: 0 to 25 years. London.
Equality Act (2010) [online]. Available from: http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2010/15/contents [Accessed 23 March 2017].
Health and Safety at Work etc. Act (1974) [online]. Available from: http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1974/37 [Accessed 23 March 2017].
Petty, G. (2014) Teaching Today: A Practical Guide. 5th ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act (2006) [online]. Available from: www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2004/28/contents [Accessed 23 March 2017].
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