Teaching Strategies in Lifelong Learning
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Key aspects of legislation, regulatory requirements and codes of practice relating to own role and responsibilities:
Legislation, regulations, codes of practice relevant to the learning process is not usually concerned with one section of the process, but the process as a whole. For example Identification of needs; which would include the start of a record keeping process by the teacher to include personal details of learners, Individual Learning Plans and other associated documents would attract the attention of Data Protection legislation, as well as organisational policies and procedures on handling business related information and any other activities undertaken within the role.
The Data Protection Act 1998 defines itself as an Act to make new provision for the regulation of the processing of information relating to individuals, including the obtaining, holding, use or disclosure of such information. It also makes specific references to the definitions within the education settings in Northern Ireland, and advises on eight data protection principles. Although no direct Northern Ireland equivalent Order is available (with the exception of equal opportunity monitoring under Section 75 of the Northern Ireland Act 1998) , many (if not all) organisations will adopt the principles set out in the Data Protection Act 1998 in the form of a Data Protection Code of Practice. In summary, these guidelines should quickly define what data or information will be held, how it will be used and typically a nominated person within the organisation who will advise, control or monitor the information, and that it is in keeping with the principles defined in the Act. Organisations need to be careful on what information they hold on individuals, as the Freedom of Information Act (2000) allows individuals such as students to request a copy of the information held about them. Any records teachers hold or create, need to be justified and factual in the event they are ever requested.
Planning learning, involving the construction of the lesson plans and activities, should include detailed steps and resources that should be used to facilitate the learning. Often making reference to external sources for information, or the use of information from external sources in the delivery or the learning session could attract copyright, intellectual property rights and licensing issues if not handled correctly. Facilitation of learning, is where the main contact with the learner should occur, and opens up a whole host of legislation, policies or procedures, mainly to do with contact you will have as a teacher with your learners. Safeguarding regulations introduced by the Government, and many organisational policies include that regulated activity (Regulated activity is concerned with positions required to have access to children and/or vulnerable adults) (nidirect, 2012) requires employers to obtain enhanced AccessNI disclosures, detailing the criminal history of an individual. Depending on the nature of the learning activity that teachers may be delivering, they will in all cases need to give careful consideration to health and safety requirements.
The Health and Safety at Work (Northern Ireland) Order 1978, gives an overview of the requirements that organisations must have in place, or undertake, to ensure they operate within a safe environment. It lays out responsibilities for individuals such as employees, as well as organisational responsibilities. Legislation such as this is more prevalent in a workshop based environment with mechanical plant or machinery, but should not detract from classroom based activities for which it is still relevant. Remaining in the classroom, other regulations may be relevant to your role as a teacher within a Health and safety remit. The use of Display Screen Equipment (DSE) in ICT related teaching methods should be considered when delivering ICT based learning sessions.
The Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations 1992, gives guidance on workstations, training and information in relation to the operation of such equipment; in order to minimise ill effects for prolonged periods of use. Interaction with learners has no hard and fast rules; however there are a number of unwritten rules or guidelines on how to appropriately interact with learners. Some educational establishments host guidelines for staff within internal policies on how to dress or define inappropriate interaction with pupils (i.e. via social networking sites), however The General Teaching Council for Northern Ireland published a set of code of values and professional practice, listing the following attributes for teachers:
It also goes on to say that In keeping with the spirit of professional service and commitment, teachers will at all times be conscious of their responsibilities to others, learners, colleagues and indeed the profession itself. (GTCNI. Northern Ireland Teacher Competences, pg45) The attributes listed above should all be present within an individual planning to undertake a career in teaching, if not; then some personal development should be undertaken to introduce these attributes or strengthen weaker attributes in order to improve their skills and relationships with learners Stephen, this is very good work for legislation and codes of practice. You have supplied several examples considered by teachers in different educational settings today.
Some other key legislation is in the area of special educational needs provision (SEN), and of course the newly revised Equality Act 2010 addressing many of the older pieces of legislation around discrimination, race, religion, disability and suchlike. We need to be very mindful of these pieces of legislation teaching in the lifelong learning sector. With more students coming to education between the ages of 18 to 24 and up words with disorders such as ADD, ADHD, ASD, there is growing attention on good practice by facilitating teaching and learning inclusively. Inclusive practice is a broad topic and we can meet the needs of individual learners in different ways. Differentiation in the classroom is a major focus. Some practitioners take a blended approach and utilise technologies and different formats for delivering teaching.
Similarly, assessment instruments can be introduced in different formats and ways e.g., flexible timescales for coursework, professional discussions, product evidence from the workplace, online quizzes and exercises with a stronger visual emphasis, brail, making reasonable adjustments and so one. I wouldn’t suggest you need to add anything here, only to be mindful of these areas when delivering training, teaching and facilitating learning in future. Own responsibilities for promoting equality and valuing diversity:
Although St John Ambulance and their instructors operate under an equal opportunities policy;
there is policies in place that St John Ambulance will not discriminate on any grounds, however within the remit of commercial courses First Aid is a skill as defined by the Employment and Medical Advisory Service (EMAS), and therefore holding a related First Aid (at work) certificate implies competency to deal with workplace first aid emergencies. St John Ambulance, where possible will make reasonable adjustments where a learner is unable to perform a first aid skill for a temporary period, i.e. illness or injury;
allowing the learner to demonstrate the skill at a later stage in order to meet the competency requirements for the course. Within volunteer courses, there is greater scope for meeting the needs of the learner in relation to equality and diversity;
however with subsequent or additional rules imposed.
Learners who are able to verbally demonstrate knowledge or competencies with a running commentary of how skills should be performed in the event of an emergency, i.e. talking another capable person through life saving steps would be permitted to undertake a supervised volunteer role, however would not be permitted to operate on an individual basis. Other elements that could be considered in promoting equality and diversity within the learning environment, was the introduction of Resusci Anne learning aids with different skin tones into the classroom, as opposed to the all white skin tone learning aids that operated up until a few years ago.
Own role and responsibilities in lifelong learning.
St John Ambulance operates within a niche market sector of education, in that instructors and assessors operating on behalf of the organisation work from pre-defined presentation material specifically related to First Aid, and there is little scope for creativity on behalf of the instructor. St John Ambulance operates two different streams or brands of training within the organisation, commercial and volunteer training. Commercial instructors are employed trainers that deliver Health and Safety related first aid training such as First Aid at Work to commercial clients typically within industry in response to legislative requirements within the Health and Safety (First Aid) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 1982. Volunteer instructors are tasked with the delivery of first aid and other related training within volunteer units to the volunteers who provide first aid cover, and crew the organisations fleet of Ambulance vehicles.
Although the curriculum being delivered is somewhat pre-prepared; there are still a number of roles that are undertaken by the instructor locally as well as some interaction with a number of key personnel or other professionals. In respect of meeting the needs of the learners, St John Ambulance operates a document called a Class Registration and Enrolment form (CRE); this document records the details of the learners, and any subsequent assessment outcomes that is completed by the instructor initially, and countersigned by any assessors to confirm the details and accuracy of the submission. Volunteer Instructors are typically responsible for their own session plans and schemes of work; which are inspected annually by an internal training verifier within St John Ambulance, although as colleagues we share a lot of information and “behind the scenes” paperwork, presentation content is generally restricted to nationally produced presentations that slide order may be adjusted, but slide content must remain intact.
For courses that span a number of sessions, an attendance register; or an indication on the CRE is made to acknowledge that that candidate attended all sessions. Instructors operating multiple sessions of larger groups (typically volunteer groups) will generally keep their own register for the group, addressing any issues arising from non-attendance of learners.
In liaising with other professionals, before running any volunteer related course, the proposed course needs to be registered with the Area Training Officer, using an internal form. The details recorded include the type of course; the proposed start and finish dates, the name of the instructor and any proposed examiner. These details are required, in order for the Area Training Officer to verify that the people involved in the delivery are permitted to deliver a course of that nature. The Area Training Officer has overall responsibility for the volunteer training delivered within the broad boundaries of the Northern Health and Social Care Trust, spanning from Coleraine, right over as far as Cookstown and up to Larne.
As St John Ambulance operate tight protocols on who may request the issue of certificates, or who may deliver courses to volunteers; the number of volunteer instructors within St John Ambulance is not of a great number, for two main reasons; that they don’t get paid, and the standards set by the organisation in order to become an instructor are set at a very high level. With the level of volunteer instructors at low numbers, Instructors liaise locally with other volunteer units when offering volunteer training for other groups to allow other units to avail of the training often making contact with Leaders of other volunteer units within their own Area.
In order to create and maintain a safe learning environment when delivering courses on our own premises, there will have already been risk assessments carried out for the premises to ensure they are suitable for the delivery of learning sessions. Risk assessments will include areas such as that premises meet the new Fire Safety Regulations, that fire exits are clear of any obstructions etc. Other risk assessments to include the general teaching aspect of the delivery of the learning sessions will include safety checks on teaching aids and electronic equipment, in that they are functional, serviceable and should cause no harm to either the instructor or the student. These assessments are also dynamic and on going throughout the learning session being delivered.
Common practice prior to the start of any learning session is making learners aware of specific health and safety requirements for the course. Pointing out Emergency Evacuation signals, routes and assembly points, as well as covering safety points of practical sessions such as trip hazards or any medical issues such as colds etc that may affect their performance on essential areas such as CPR that learners need to demonstrate effectively.
Roles and responsibilities in identifying and meeting the needs of the learners. It is important to understand from the outset as to what is required to be achieved, keeping in mind as to how, as an instructor I will be able to deliver or convey that information.
Within St John Ambulance, I would be delivering a range of topics in First Aid, and as set out in a number of course standards, candidates need to achieve and perform vital key skills to a competent standard.
Not every student or learner is the same, and it is important to be aware of each of the learner’s preferred learning style to achieve the goals mentioned above. Fleming (1987) describes 3 main learning styles, visual, auditory and kinaesthetic. Whilst some learners may have a preferred learning style, others may use or prefer a combination of two or all three.
Whilst some of the elements delivered on a First Aid Course require the information to be delivered in a specific way, this does not prevent me from bringing personal experiences or other engaging activities to the teaching delivery. Some examples of this would be inviting the class to share an experience of an incident that they have had to deal with; changing the tone or focus of the class from the instructor to a peer student; whilst maintaining the topic being delivered by reinforcing the actions taken or that should have been taken in order for a successful outcome.
Another factor that should be considered when identifying the needs of the learners is their actual learning process. Kolb (1984) describes four different stages of the learning process, Concrete experience, observation and reflection, abstract conceptualisation and finally active experimentation. This can start at any stage and is continuous, much like the teaching cycle. This theory particularly emphasises the importance of varied teaching methods, teaching the same concept, but through different means to ensure your learners have a full understanding.
Boundaries between the teaching role and other professional roles:
Teachers work with a diverse network of learners, colleagues with other skillsets; external awarding bodies and many more; relying on the co-operation of these other professionals to assist with the overall success of learning. As an example; many colleges and institutions host a wide variety of ICT related equipment to assist with the facilitation and delivery of learning sessions, however not every teacher is an ICT expert when it comes to equipment failures, nor should they be expected to be. Troubleshooting ICT equipment used for the delivery of learning sessions definitely falls outside the remit of the teaching and learning cycle, and calling on the assistance of dedicated ICT staff to assist, should help resolve matters much more quickly rather than either spending valuable time dedicated to learning trying to get equipment to function as it should.
In general, teachers should spend the time outside the classroom preparing, and inside the classroom teaching; making use of the competencies and skills of other colleagues as and when required. Also, consider colleagues/departments/internal and external, are you involved in other activities where conflicts of interest might occur? To make this section more specific with some examples, please refer to the guidance within the edexcel specification for unit 5. Consider personal eg team role, researching provision, representing learners; professional eg liaising, negotiation with professionals, negotiating on behalf of learner, communicating. What awarding organisations or regulatory bodies do you liaise with? Some of this covered in responsibilities towards other professionals below? Points of referral to meet the needs of the learner:
With every best effort on a teacher’s behalf in order to meet the needs of the learner, there may be occasions where barriers to learning will occur that may require a different approach. Learners should expect to be accommodated and included in the learning environment, however sometimes additional support may be required, not necessarily provided by the teacher. Some barriers to learning may include physical or sensory impairment, teachers need to know where and when to look for additional support. This could be in the form of support initially from a line manager or other colleagues for the teacher, whilst the learner may be able to avail of specific support in the form of a dedicated group of staff. The University of Ulster as an example hosts a dedicated department that deals with Student Support, with a charter that states: aims to provide equal opportunity to all students (University of Ulster, 2012), and can be accessed directly by students or referrals from members of staff.
In respect of my role as a first aid instructor, there may be occasions where a learner has previously dealt with a traumatic incident, and may show signs of emotional difficulties when demonstrating practical skills within the classroom (ie. a learner who has previously performed CPR on a family member). Whilst being sensitive to the issue and needs of the learner, there is a bigger issue in that the learner should be referred to other sources of help, for example in a workplace environment, learners should be encouraged to make an appointment to speak to their Occupational Health Department, or if one is not available, their GP in the first instance or local counselling service.
Whilst not all referrals should be on a reactive basis, I regularly include other sources of information for learners in the form of websites or podcasts publicly available from voluntary agencies such as St John Ambulance or the British Red Cross; this allows the learners to investigate the topics covered in class through a different medium, reinforcing the points delivered in the lessons covered.
Responsibilities in relation to other professionals
As a tutor or instructor, there are a number of other professionals that I will need to liaise with such as administrative staff who would support elements of record keeping, caretaking staff assisting with rooms layouts other instructors and assessors assisting with the course delivery to name a few roles internal to the organisation.
Other professionals external to the organisation could include (in respect of first aid courses) employers of the learners on the course or Inspectors from the Health and Safety Executive (NI) when running First aid at Work Courses.
In relation to dealing with volunteer, depending on the age range of the volunteers you may have additional responsibilities towards parents or guardians; whilst at all times maintaining a professional approach when dealing with any other professional, internal or external to the organisation
Establishing and maintaining a safe and supportive learning environment:
With all training sessions I undertake, at the start of each session there are a number of health and safety points that are made aware to learners. These cover areas such as:
Fire alarm signal
These cover the areas should there be a requirement to evacuate the building causing an interruption to the session; the class are then reminded about a number of other aspects in relation to the session in order to maintain a safe environment. These issues are highlighted as: Location of toilets and facilities, and the expectations from students should they need to use them Mobile phones and communications, and that they preferably be switched off or turned to silent if they are expecting an important phone call. That the floor area is kept clear of any bags and coats to avoid trip hazards during practical sessions.
During the remainder of the training, students are made aware of specific risks, concerns or issues that need to be highlighted at that time, some examples of this would be: When using Resuci Ann manikins, that students who have had previous reactions to latex, cleaning solutions etc to advise the instructor so an alternative method can be used to demonstrate the skill (such as the use of a face mask) Or students who are currently unwell presenting symptoms of the common cold, are asked to refrain from carrying out ventilations on Resusci Ann manikins so as to minimise the risk to other class members. When using videos containing images of blood, or use of makeup within assessment scenarios, to advise the class beforehand.
Promotion of appropriate behaviour and respect for others within the classroom:
The creation and maintenance of an orderly working environment is a pre-requisite to effective learning and teaching (deni. 1998). The Department for Education Northern Ireland conducted a study which classified the nature and scale of poor behaviour in the classroom, it categorised the disruptive behaviour as mildly, moderately and seriously disruptive giving examples ranging from slowness to settle for the lesson through to learners who could not be managed through existing resources. Organisations delivering learning should already have in place, amongst other policies and procedures referred to previously; a policy on acceptable behaviour which should be referred to by the teacher on the initial interactions with learners. References to standards required at the early stages of the teaching and learning cycle within individual learning plans may also lay groundwork in building a relationship with learners at an early stage. Overall, inappropriate behaviour needs to be dealt with quickly; with a reminder to the attributes required of a teacher, this needs to be done fairly, whilst exercising a certain remit of tolerance within the classroom environment.
Dealing with this behaviour can start as easily with taking firm control of a minor disruptive situation, by drawing attention to it, advising it is not acceptable, and to continue on with the learning session. Where situations become difficult; distractive techniques could be used in order to initially regain control of the situation, whilst dealing with individuals after the learning session on a one to one basis may have more of an effect when consequences are explained without an audience. In extreme circumstances, teachers should always be aware that physical contact with learners should be avoided unless absolutely necessary. Guidance issued to grant-aided schools advises on: such force that is reasonable in the circumstances to prevent a pupil from
1. committing an offence,
2. causing personal injury to, or damage to the property of, any person (including the pupil himself)
3. engaging in any behaviour prejudicial to the maintenance of good order and discipline at the school or among any of its pupils whether during a teaching session or otherwise. (DENI. 1998)
Other tactics that could be employed within a classroom environment, would be a carrot and stick approach with incentives in order to maintain focus within the learning session, demonstrating to learners that should learning session targets be met, that they may either get perks or privileges. Such examples could be extended breaks or other privileges such as personal use of computers during the last 15 minutes of a session.
Equality issues may also arise within this section that every learner is entitled to the same opportunities as everyone else, therefore excluding a disruptive learner, or allowing a disruptive learner to continue could equally cause issues for both the learner and the remaining group of learners, depending on the situation. Overall, treating learners as individuals with the qualities referred to previously as a teacher, should be applied and demonstrated consistently. This will set examples for the learners with which they should also adopt. References in any documentation about equality should also be made readily available and pointed out to learners, as and when required.
(1998) Promoting and sustaining good behaviour (DENI) (Internet) http://www.deni.gov.uk/dc1998-25circular-2.pdf (Accessed 27/11/12)
(1998) Promoting and sustaining good behaviour (DENI) (Internet) http://www.deni.gov.uk/six_pack__promoting_gd_behaviour_a_discip_strat_for_schs-4.pdf (accessed 27/11/12) (2008) Defining teacher roles and responsibilities in the further education sector in England (excellencegateway) (Internet)
http://www.excellencegateway.org.uk/node/12016 (accessed 26/11/12)
(2012) AccessNI employers (nidirect government services) (Internet) http://www.nidirect.gov.uk/accessni-employers (accessed 26/11/12)
(2012) Professional Competences (GTCNI) (Internet) http://epublishbyus.com/the_reflective_profession/10020354 (Accessed 26/11/12) (2012) Student Support Charter (University of Ulster) (Internet) http://www.studentsupport.ulster.ac.uk/supportcharter.pdf (accessed 26/11/12)|
Gravells, A. (2012) Preparing to Teach in the Lifelong Learning Sector. 5th ed. Learning Matters: Sage Publications Ltd.