Learning is an area of our lives that we all engage in from the time we are born to the time we die. Lifelong learning is of key importance for individuals of all ages with an abundance of benefits. Learning enables the individual to be better informed in daily life and therefore the individual becomes more active in and contributes to society and this makes such individual a better citizen. Lifelong learning contributes to an individual’s personal well being and fulfillment. Lifelong learning supports an individual’s creativity and innovation and as such increases the potential for paid or unpaid work experiences for satisfaction. Quote “Education is the most powerful weapon you can use to change the world” Unquote, and so for me to successfully be able to use inclusive learning and teaching approaches in accordance with internal processes and external requirements I would say requires some form of recognised qualifications.
To complete this unit I will be focusing on my present teaching placement. I am actively involved in the teaching and learning of ESOL students at two separate women’s academy campuses. My input is over two days with two morning sessions and one afternoon session delivering entry level 1&2 basic Mathematics and English as well as level 1&2 functional skills. 1.1 Create a purposeful, inclusive learning and teaching environment. Maslows’ hiearchy of needs tells us that students will not be able to learn effectively if their safety and belonging needs are not met. As such I needed to pay close attention to the physical space and design layout of the classroom. My initial feel for the first classroom/ learning environment that I encountered was congestion by that I mean it was a fair sized room but the layout gave an impression that there wasn’t enough space for students to move about. There were five large desks seating four or five students and so moving from one area to the next meant that some students had to physically stand and maneuver their chairs to access passing. This was where I felt that I needed to connect with the students in such a manner that the subject being taught was of importance; that they enjoyed the learning experience and they understood clearly what was being taught.
Once I placed that into my mind I felt better as these students were here in this learning environment for a few weeks and I am the new person here. I greeted the group with pleasantness and smiles as I entered the room and the response was ever so wonderful seeing all these smiling faces made me feel very welcomed. Their personal tutor gave a short explanation of my presence and asked me to do the honors of my own introduction. I knew there and then that this was my opportune moment and as first impressions count this had to be very good after all I am the new comer. Prior to this I had already met and discussed the different groups that I would be involved with for my teaching practice placement with the Assistant Director for these campus sites and I also knew which teachers I would be co-teaching with as well as the desired days and times. I was made aware of the external requirements and the internal processes for each learner to participate in these learning programs. I knew that each individual had an initial diagnostic assessment to determine the level of learning.
I was made aware of the special needs requirements. Whilst I was happy to be given such information I wanted to check for myself and with respect I could not just accept all of this at face value I would be sure to check the validity of the information shared with me. There is the saying seeing is believing and I needed evidence. Well, as I was saying my initial greeting and purpose was a pleasant and warm one for me as well as the group. I informed them of my past work experiences; that I had a family and my country of origin and where I was educated. I also mentioned places that I had travelled to and worked in the educational arena and eyes lit up with smiles, I knew then that I had captured the attention and to a certain degree the hearts of these wonderful women who wanted to make a difference in society and to themselves by engaging in this learning program. I felt good as I detected that they were even more warm and accommodating and that I had welcomed them into my arena and they accepted me. In continuing to create a purposeful, inclusive learning and teaching environment I needed to acknowledge the diverse make up of the learning group that amounted for celebration as part of the richness in daily life and living.
I asked if the group could individually introduce themselves by saying their names and with permission their country of origin. To continue on the same spirit of connectedness as I am the newcomer who will be involved in their learning I wanted to know from themselves a little about their prior learning experiences from pre- entry level to this entry level 2/3. Amazingly they volunteered family information which I welcomed and thanked them for. Psychologically the students felt safe to share and clearly this also demonstrated a sense of belonging. I had created a safe environment whereby the students took risks and sometimes the information was not directly from the person concerned but from a close colleague in their presence. I felt that this feelings of safety will enable them to ‘have a go’ at answering questions and talking / participating in the classroom activities without fear of being ridiculed. With the above in mind I had to be quite sure that the whole classroom was conducive to this settled environment whereby they all understand firm rules and routines. By this I mean that I emphasizes on the importance of orderliness and tidiness.
This I made quite clear was to enable them to develop and be confident in their roles as students but not to forget that they are responsible adults also and that we all wish to be valued and in the best way possible. Making sure that the classroom is left in a manner that is welcoming for the next group of learners and that we never forget our life skills that we brought into the learning arena. I had observed that the displays in the classroom were inviting and pleasant as well as stimulating. This was reflecting a range of teaching and learning activities. I observed the attractively arranged, effectively labelled, relevant and purposeful displays and I was quite impressed wondering when and what will I be adding to this informative and interactive display. It didn’t take very long for that to happen with display from a field trip involving writing and speaking that reflected the learning process as part of the curriculum highlighting key learning points.
As such the inclusive learning and teaching environment for me was not just in the classroom but out in the wider community and this was most interesting as I observed how the students interacted in a social setting. There was a wide range of reading and learning materials available for the students both in the classroom area as well as in the main library. They were well organised and clearly labelled and accessible. The resources were diverse and this was of absolute necessitity as there are different learning styles. The availability was through visual, aural and kinaesthetic for different experiences. Creating a purposeful inclusive learning and teaching environment was not just about changing attitudes to learning. It was not just about giving all the support needed both internally and externally. It was not just about the all the activities in class and in the community, it was also about the physical layout of the design of the classroom that supported the inclusive and interactive teaching and learning process. Seating and tables in some areas did not give much work space, and did not allow for the flexibility to support work in different contexts.
By this I mean for individual work with the adequate space to place materials on the table without infringing on each others’ work space. Paired work, small group work as well as whole class work had been a concern at times. Limitation for me to move around and be able to see exactly how students were progressing in their given task was inadequate at times. As such with cooperation between the whole group and teachers a bigger and more appropriate room was made available. This new setting enabled the students the opportunity for independence, cooperative learning, collaboration and discussions throughout the teaching activities with eye contact for the learners. This also gave better access to move about the room that enabled me to ensure more purposeful, inclusive learning and teaching. However I had to be mindful of the social and emotional dynamics of the learning group as well as subjects and activities being taught/ delivered. I wanted my students to definitely see the course as being important. I wanted them to understand and enjoy each session because everything has an impact on learning and development. The classroom environment was maintained within the Health and Safety Laws ensuring that all learners were treated fairly and respectfully in that learning environment.
1.2 Demonstrate an inclusive approach to teaching and learning in accordance with internal processes and external requirements. An inclusive approach to teaching and learning is a cooperative relationship between learners and teachers. The starting point to such a relationship was with the college requirements / internal processes based on what the learners were hoping to achieve. This first contact was conducted by senior management at the initial stage of the individual’s learning journey, the initial assessment. From the institution perspective assessment provides statistical information for monitoring the overall performance of the college as well as individual teachers. This also provides information on numbers of students who started the course. The numbers of those who continued and whether successfully passed has been useful in continued recruitments that demonstrates quality and excellence.
However one of the main purpose and is of great importance is that this initial assessment helps to place the learner on the right course. After this initial assessment matching into identified learning groups is of great value for personal tutors as there is an element of control over what is taught. However, and I must stress this, individual learner’s goals must be paramount in the whole process bearing in mind the learning styles identified. A process of matching group interest and individual profile determines the learners interest which is an ongoing internal process with regular updates. This was managed by identifying individual learning targets such as, speaking and listening, reading or writing. Having identified these targets being specific as to how to meet these targets was discussed with the individual learner and this information was documented. Clearly there has to be deadline for achievements with expected documentation. Actual dates of achievements were quite important and by this I mean that some learners achieved positive outcomes before the set expected date and this informed the status of that learner as completing work was documented and dated. For others the documentation on expected outcome was that they had not yet started or that they’re in progress.
This happens in all learning settings as everyone has different learning styles or even a combination of styles that has an impact on how well learning has been achieved under certain conditions. The diagnostic assessments will continue throughout the learning and this is necessary for the continuous support needed for ILPs. ILP is of such great importance in that it must be appropriate for the learning being undertaken, be owned and used by the learner with support and be understood by the learner, basically it’s what the learner desires. I would say that throughout my teaching and learning experience and, this is ongoing I have experienced a range of learning styles with my learning groups. Inevitable I have had to mould the delivery of subject in such a manner that met the needs of the learners. Once this is managed properly the resulting factor will determine the success of achievements in accordance with (QCF) Qualification and Credit Framework.
1.3 Provide opportunities for learners to practice their literacy language, numeracy and ICT skills. The Sector Skills Council for lifelong learning on Inclusive Learning approaches for Literacy, Language, Numeracy and ICT skills in the introduction of the companion document mentions that, “All teachers need to develop an awareness of the literacy, language, numeracy and ICT needs of their learners in order for them to teach their area of specialism.” The document further states that “ All teachers can play an important part in providing opportunities to develop literacy, language, numeracy and ICT within their learning programs.” Teachers get to know their students very well after a little while and as such are able to recognise what interest them most. The initial assessment gives some indication of what they want to learn but the diagnostic assessment informs the ILP. How this process of achievement will happen is based on agreeing goals and actions to achieve those goals. Petty, G (2009, p530) states: “Each learner is unique and has individual needs. If the needs of our learners are discovered and met, the chances of success are greatly increased.”
2.0Be able to communicate with learners and other learning professionals to encourage learning.
2.1Demonstrate communication methods and media to meet the needs of all learners.
2.2Communicate with other learning professionals to meet learner needs and encourage progress.
3.0Understand how technology can enhance learning and teaching.
3.1Analyse ways to use technology to enhance learning and teaching.
3.2Evaluate the benefits and limitations of using technology in learning and teaching.
4.0Understanding expectations of the minimum core in relation to delivering lifelong learning.
There are social stigma attached to literacy numeracy and this often prevents adults from seeking the help they need. It is believed that 1 in 6 adults in the UK are functionally illeterate and this skills gap is preventing the country from fully realising its full economic potential. There are social stigmas attached to this which often prevents adults from seeking the help they need. For such individuals tackling this is the first step to raising aspiration. The psychological feel good factor will allow for increased self esteem and the confidence to reach their full potential. However being illeterate and innumerate and lacking ICT skills does not mean stupidity. You have to on the ball to get through a day in the UK without these skills and so as a teacher delivering lifelong learning I must be able to help learners to overcome these barriers created by socially acceptable norms in this country.
Expectations of the minimum core I believe is that all involved in lifelong learning has a responsibility to ensure that learners are provided with every opportunity to develop literacy, language, numeracy and ICT skills. As such it is important that at the initial assessment and induction of students that literacy, language, numeracy and ICT skills are identified. We must understand that Prior learning should be established and evidenced if at all possible to determine the level attained which will inform achievable goals. Observation at induction and during the course activity to get some idea of the learner performance and what learner’s likes are, also how they like to do things will determine learning styles. Really this boils down to attitudes, skills and knowledge and what will be the motivating factor for the learner’s presence in the classroom.
4.1Review ways in which elements of the minimum core can be demonstrated by delivering lifelong learning. Recognising that literacy, numeracy and ICT programmes must be made easily accessible to the most hard to reach individuals is a key responsibility for the Government. For those who lack the ability to read and write very door appears to be closed. In this present day it is likely that they will e able to apply for jobs as filling in application forms poses some challenges which in effect will make them loose their self worth and confidence. Adults lacking the skills that so many of us take for granted on a daily basis mean that they can’t even support their children’s education which is the future generation. If this is not effectively managed the revolving door syndrome continues as that is what is being seen at present. National statistics reveal that adults with poor numeracy and literacy skills are twice as likely to be unemployed as those who are competent.
4.2Apply minimum core elements in delivering lifelong learning. I will demonstrate this delivery of core elements with evidenced based teaching that I have undertaken and continuing as part of my teaching placement practice.
5.0Be able to evaluate own practice in delivering inclusive learning and teaching.
5.1Review the effectiveness of own use of inclusive learning and teaching approaches in meeting the needs of all learners.
5.2Analyse ways to improve own practice in using learning and teaching approaches to meet the needs of all learners.
5.3 Review ways in which own communication skills could be improved.