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Equality and Diversity Essay

This essay examines the key factors that influence inclusive learning and teaching in the lifelong learning sector. Teaching methods will vary according to what you want to get out of the session, what the learners are able to achieve within the time frame, what materials and resources are available, what you are teaching, the needs of the learners and your personal style. This could be formal, informal or a mixture of both. Formal teaching methods include lecturers, demonstrations and presentations. Informal teaching includes discussions, group work and practical activities.

As I will be teaching within the Beauty Therapy my lessons would be a mixture of both these delivery methods. Each activity within the classroom will consist of teaching and learning activities which are balanced to meet the different needs of my learners. Blended learning incorporates both traditional and computer based methods. This is commonly referred to as Information learning technology (ICT) this use of computer based technology to enhance teaching methods and resources or develop learner autonomy is widely promoted. The other main teaching methods other than ICT I am opting to use are lecturers and demonstrations.

These demonstrations are very important as it would show the students the beauty routine that we would expect them to follow within their practical sessions. This ensures that students will be working to the same standard and will also adhere to the requirements of the awarding body. Practical sessions also help to explain difficult parts of the task when verbal exposition in not enough. I would also use group work activities, these particularly suit kinaesthetic learners but also when you have a group consisting of various abilities it allows both weak and strong learners to work collectively.

Question and Answer sessions will be most commonly used in my tutorials. If I was teaching for example ‘the bones and muscles of the body) I would ask students to identify where muscles are on the body to help promote learning. At the start of the course the approach I will use to facilitate inclusive learning will be to carry out an initial assessment. This will help me identify what type of learners they are, I would then plan my teaching sessions to meet these individual needs by using a mix of visual, auditory, kinaesthetic teaching and learning strategies.

For example I had just completed a practical demonstration to my group on ‘a facial routine’, I wanted to make sure my learners could confidently work in pairs and practice this routine on each other. A task like this would suit the kinaesthetic because he/she is provided with an opportunity to do and learn, and for the visual learner I would produce a step by step illustrated hand-out to support the routine. The Equality Act 2010 outlines protective characteristics which promote equality within schools and colleges and prevent discrimination. This includes sexuality, sex, disability, marital status and religion.

In order to promote equality in my classroom I will need to respond positively to the diverse needs of all learners. Effective communication with learners is essential and it is the teacher’s responsibility to ensure that learners understand appropriate vocabulary and terminology and that comments are not discriminatory or offensive. As a teacher I would keep language simple so that if I have a learner from different backgrounds they may not have the same level of English as British learners. Resources used such as hand-outs, assignments and work sheets will also aim to promote equality and diversity.

For example I would produce worksheets in a gender free language and also aim to promote multiculturalism by producing scenario based worksheets that use names from various ethnic backgrounds. I would also pace my sessions so students have plenty of time to take notes and ask any questions. Although inclusion is about supporting learners’ needs. It is not always possible for teachers to do this without support themselves. All teachers should be aware of the limits of their own responsibility and know when and where to access support for learners. you will not be able to get students to solve all their own difficulties. Get to know and use your institutions student services or pastoral support system: it exists to support your students, and you, so do refer where it is appropriate” Petty 2004 There are many places of referral within education; these can be both internal within the education establishment or an external organisation. The internal places of referral may include student support services, learner study support centre, and counselling and careers advice.

If I had a student for example who needed help with writing their essay I would arrange for them to go to the learner study support centre who would be able to assist Learners with learning difficulties or disabilities may need additional support and may need a designated support worker to support them within the classroom. A learner with dyslexia may find it hard to read text or numbers or have difficulty with writing and spelling, therefore I would produce written hand-outs and allow learners with dyslexia to present their ideas verbally or tape notes if necessary.

Political correctness is a commonly used term at the moment and is used to ensure that expressions do not cause offence to any particular group of people. There are also many external agencies where learners can be referred, and which agency they are referred to would depend on the individual’s needs of the learner. This may include health related issues, family difficulties, poor attendance, or repeated challenging behaviour. The purpose of referring a learner to an external support agency is to support an individual student and to help them overcome their difficulties which are impacting on their education.

For example if I had a student who was constantly disruptive in class and had a record of aggressive behaviour I would refer them to the Pupil Referral Unit. They would help and encourage the learner to be involved in the learning process, but in a smaller environment where they be in a much smaller group (3-4 learners) and also receive one-to-one support. Functional skills such as literacy, numeracy and ICT can be easily integrated into my lessons. These activities will meet both literacy and numeracy standards but are more easily understood by the learner.

An example of this would be an assignment covering salon duties. I would ask the students to produce a sales ledger for stock to be re-ordered from our supplier. This would include maths as the student would have to calculate the cost of goods and also the total value of the order, it would include English as the student needs to produce the document and ICT as the student would have to present it in a typed format. The best way to establish ground rules with my learners is to negotiate them. The rules should be appropriate and fair and agreed as a whole class.

As a teacher, I would establish ground rules during the first session, and plan a short activity around this. The class could discuss what is expected of them and write the rules in small groups. I would also list a few ground rules and then negotiate them as a class. This gives all learners the opportunity to be included and involved and as they have decided on the rules they are also more likely to respect them. When establishing ground rules it is important to ensure they are clear and brief and start positively rather than with ‘do not’.

Once the rules have been established I would ask the learners to write them on some flipchart paper and hang them up in the class so that they are visible to all. It is also important to reinforce the rules consistently and to phrase learners when rules have been adhered to. I feel this method would motivate learners and also model good behaviour. Some rules may not be able to be negotiated. For example when the students come into class they must be wearing their salon uniforms and hair must be tied back.

As a teacher even though I have designed my lessons to meet everyone’s needs I still need to ensure that my learners are motivated and want to learn. Maslow (1970) argues that basic needs such a food, safety, love and belonging and self-esteem need to be met in order for them to achieve their goals and aspirations. Everyone is motivated through either Intrinsic (because they want to learn) or extrinsic motivators (because they have to i. e. better job prospects). “A good teacher will play to the strengths of the learner when trying to raise enthusiasm in learning”

Wilson 2004 – page 188 Other theories of motivation that can be used to motivate learners include the goal orientated theory, based on desire to be rewarded for achievement. A learner is given a clear direction or task and when it is reached there is a reward. For example I would set a group task for my learners to complete within the lesson. If they finish before the end of the lesson they are allowed an early break. If they don’t complete the task at the by the end of the session they will have to complete as homework.

Albert Bandura (1994) suggested that an individual’s belief in themselves and their ability is related to what they can achieve. An example of how this can be applied into the classroom is to encourage my learner to try, and re-explain the topic if they are unsure. Through coaching and reassurance I will enable that learner to achieve. Giving effective feedback will help to improve the confidence of learners and develop their potential. Feedback should be delivered promptly and be a two way process. I would ask the learner how they think they did and get an idea if their understanding of the topic.

Even if I had negative feedback to give to my learner I would end with a positive statement to incite the learner to take my comments on board and leave them feeling more positive about their performance. To conclude I suggest that inclusive teaching can only take place if both equality and diversity are positively promoted. Inclusive teaching relies on a range of differentiation strategies which may include adapted resources or additional classroom support. Depending on individual learner needs, learners may need to be referred to internal or external places of referral for extra support. .


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