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Responsibilities and Relationships in Education and Training Essay

The Teaching Role and Responsibilities In Education And Training The role of ‘teacher’ is an infinitely varied one, but there certain principles which underpin all aspects of the teaching role.

Whether we are attempting to teach from personally acquired experience or knowledge, or from third party information, the process of teaching can be formalized into a structured process with the aim of maximizing the potential for learning.

Numerous models exist with the aim of outlining the key stages of this process. For example, Gravells (2010) identifies them as such:

Identification of Need →Planning and Design→Delivery/Facilitation→Assessment→Evaluation

In order to undertake each of these stages successfully, the role of the teacher becomes multi-faceted. For example, conducting initial interviews with students helps to establish individual aims and identify particular learning styles such as those recognised by Honey & Mumford (1992). This should enable to the teacher to tailor their teaching style and utilize a variety of methods, while also providing an opportunity to set clear goals which can be used as a benchmark when reviewing students’ progress. Accurate documentation of this is essential and forms part of the teachers’ responsibility.

Furthermore, whilst undertaking these roles as a teacher, it is vitally important to consider the parameters in which we must operate. These are most likely to be defined by legal requirement – for example the Equality Act (2010) or the policies or the organization for which we may be working. Ultimately, it is down to the individual teacher to ensure their own professional conduct at all times.

References:
Equality Act (2010). London: HMSO. Available at: http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2010/15/contents Accessed 25/11/2014.

Gravells, A (2010) ‘Preparing to Teach in the Lifelong Learning Sector’. 3rd Ed. Exeter: Learning Matters Ltd.

Honey P., Mumford A. (1992) ‘The Manual of Learning Styles’ 3rd Ed. Maidenhead, Peter Honey.

Summarise Key Aspects Of Legislation, Regulatory Requirements And Codes Of Practice Relating To Own Role And Responsibilities

There are many aspects to consider when discussing the conduct of a teacher and the requirements therein. Some of these are legal frameworks, others are more informal but equally important in terms of setting out guidelines for good practice.

All of these requirements, when adhered to, help to ensure that as teachers, we are providing a safe, secure and successful learning environment. As students, they provide reassurance that care will be taken to promote inclusivity, maintain trust and ensure wellbeing.

Some Codes of Practice will be designed to suit individual environments and will vary accordingly. Therefore care should be taken to ensure we are familiar with the particular requirements of the company or institution in which we are operating. Other codes are overarching and apply in all circumstances. One of the more recent of these is the ‘Statutory Special Educational Needs and Disability System for Children And Young People’ (SEND) which came into force on 1 September 2014 and explains the duties of schools and colleges to provide adjustments and aids for disabled children and young people up to 25.

Legal acts which are underpinned by law are further reaching but equally apply. These include things such as the long standing 1974 Health and Safety and Work Act, which ensures the “health, safety and welfare of persons at work” as well as “protecting others against risks to health or safety in connection with the activities of persons at work”. However, in the constantly shifting legal landscape, we should be mindful of new legislation coming into force.

Finally, there are, of course, directives issued by professional bodies such the Institute for Learning which has a Code of Professional Practice (2008) covering 7 key areas:

Integrity
Respect
Care
Practice
Disclosure
Responsibility

References:
Department for Education (2014). ‘SEND code of practice: 0 to 25 years’. Available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/send-code-of-practice-0-to-25 Accessed 29/11/2014

Institute for Learning (2008). ‘Code of Practice’ Available at: https://www.ifl.ac.uk/membership/ifl-code-of-professional-practice/view-the-code-of-professional-practice/ Accessed 1/12/2014

Explain Why It Is Important To Identify And Meet Individual Learner Needs As we have established previously, the first step in the (Gravells, 2010). Teaching and Learning Cycle is ‘Identifying need’. Without properly ascertaining this, the further steps in the cycle become more difficult to achieve and the chance for success is significantly diminished. Furthermore, informing learners of objectives creates a level of expectation for learning (Gagne, 1965). In order to avoid this outcome and the negative implications of failing to succeed, we must have a clear approach.

Prior to the start of any learning activity, there will, by necessity be a process which ostensibly is an administrative exercise. However, these interactions provide an excellent opportunity to engage with students in a way which could provide useful information. For example, noting that a student may have difficulty with grammar or spelling when completing a written questionnaire may indicate a greater need for support with literacy. Or, a student struggling to get to grips with viewing digital information such as a Powerpoint or PDF file could highlight a lack of I.T skill. It is important that we use all of these tools at our disposal, as acknowledging a perceived ‘flaw’ in ourselves is not always an easy thing to do. Students may be unwilling because of stigma or embarrassment or simply through an inability to recognize that a problem exists, which is an issue in roughly 30% of adults (Skills for Life Survey, 2011).

However, individual needs may not be only be based on academic ability or skillset, there are a multitude of different needs which may exist and it is important to consider a holistic approach. Some students may have no difficulty with course content but may be distracted by other personal problems which affect their ability to learn. These could include financial difficulty, bereavement or an underlying health issue.

Ultimately, the importance of identifying and meeting learners’ needs is about providing the best possibility for successful learning through providing support where it is most needed.

References:
Gagné, R. M. (1965). ‘The conditions of learning and theory of instruction’ (1st ed.) Holt, Rinehart & Winston: New York.

Gravells, A (2010) ‘Preparing to Teach in the Lifelong Learning Sector’. 3rd Ed. Exeter: Learning Matters Ltd.

Skills for Life Survey (2011). Department for Business, Innovation & Skills. Available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/2011-skills-for-life-survey Accessed 1/12/14.

Explain Ways To Maintain a Safe And Supportive Learning Environment As part of providing students with the best opportunity for success, it is crucial that the learning environment is both safe and supportive. These aspects are intertwined in that their aim is to create an environment where consideration for all matters other than the subject itself can be put aside to concentrate on learning.

When operating in any environment, safety is the first issue. A risk assessment should be carried out prior to beginning any teaching session to establish whether hazards exist, and if so what extent they pose a risk (Trades Union Congress, 2008). These factors should also be assessed dynamically and any new or developing threat should be treated as a priority. When working in an environment such as a client office or business premises, safety considerations should include awareness of the existing plan of evacuation in case of fire. Any issues which are identified (such as blocked exits etc) should be bought up with the client in a professional manner.

Support for learners may be provided in several ways. On a personal level, it is ensuring inclusivity for all students, treating each individual with respect and tolerance, as well as providing individually tailored help to match the needs identified in the first stage of the Teaching and Learning Cycle (Gravells, 2008). However, support is also provided through recognizing the need to give adequate breaks and availability of resources required to undertake the learning process properly.

It is vital that consideration is given to these factors in the planning stage so that support may be implemented pro-actively rather than reactively.

References:
Trades Union Congress (2008) ‘Risk Assessment’. Precision Printing: London. Available online at: http://www.tuc.org.uk/sites/default/files/extras/riskassessment.pdf Accessed
1/12/14

Gravells, A (2010) ‘Preparing to Teach in the Lifelong Learning Sector’. 3rd Ed. Exeter: Learning Matters Ltd.

Explain Why It Is Important To Promote Appropriate Behaviour and Respect For Others The importance of appropriate behavior is paramount as it will set the correct tone for a learning environment. Fundamentally, it is about the rights of learners to have access to, attend, and participate in their chosen learning experience regardless of their circumstances. (Equality Act, 2010)

The best way to promote this is to set the example as the teacher (School of Educators, 2011). This can be achieved in a variety of ways.

Ensuring that the planning of any session has been properly executed will help to demonstrate basic values such as organization, efficiency and punctuality and when delivering a session, using appropriate tone and language will exhibit the kinds of behaviour which we want to see reflected in students. It is also important that we are focused on the task at hand and are not distracted by outside influences. Something as simple as switching off a mobile phone could make all the difference. In that regard, requesting students to put their phones into ‘silent’ mode is something which could help to avoid them becoming distracted but also establishes a basic ground rule while not necessarily conveying the same message as ‘please all turn your phones off’.

Where undesirable behaviour occurs, it is important to consider whether addressing it may in fact be more of a disruption than the behaviour itself, however, where it needs to be addressed, this should be done so quickly and professionally. However, it is important to note that students, like teachers should incorporate humour into learning. Using humour in the classroom shows that you are human and consequently encourages students to like and respect you. Being able to laugh at yourself when you make a mistake offers a good counterbalance to the moment when you must be strict
and so helps lighten the classroom atmosphere (Cowley, 2007)

Treating students as individuals but with equal respect will help to promote the same response from them. Therefore, care should be taken to listen to, appreciate and encourage individual contributions, this is especially true in the case of adult learners who bring their own experiences to the learning setting.

References:
Cowley, S. (2007) ‘Guerilla Guide to Teaching: The Definitive Resource for New Teachers’ (2nd Ed.) Continuum: London.

Equality Act (2010). London: HMSO. Available at: http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2010/15/contents Accessed 04/12/2014.

School of Educators (2011). ‘The Characteristics of a Good Teacher’. Available online at: http://schoolofeducators.com/2011/05/the-characteristics-of-a-good-teacher/ Accessed 4/12/14.

Explain How the Teaching Role Involves Working with Other Professionals As a teacher, there will always be a requirement to liaise and work with other professionals, and this is likely to occur in a number of ways.

When employed in a teaching role, we act as a representative of the organization which employs us, and we have a responsibility to represent that organization in a professional manner. Equally, when dealing with internal colleagues, whether a manager or a colleague at the same level of seniority, we are dutybound to treat others with respect, politeness and courtesy. Values which all form part of the Institute for Learning ‘Code of Practice’ (2008).

Remembering that we have a responsibility to act according to these guidelines can be especially important when faced with other professionals who may be challenging or difficult in their approach. For example, in a client situation, a Manager who is under pressure is annoyed because some of his staff are being abstracted from their usual duties to undertake training. In this situation, it is feasible that a degree of hostility may be directed toward the trainer. In acknowledging the managers concerns and highlighting the benefit of the training both to the staff and the manager, we may be able to defuse the situation rather than escalate it.

Of course, students themselves can be professionals and care must be taken to acknowledge the professional standing of adult learners so that we do not condescend or patronize. However, we also have a responsibility to care for our students and where it is highlighted that a student may have a need or issue which requires third party support, we may need to act as an advocate or intervene to flag potential issues. Legislation such as The Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act (2006) make it potentially necessary to liaise with other professional agencies and, depending on the nature of the matter, it may be appropriate to use care or discretion. In all cases, it is appropriate that we remain professional and impartial.

References:
Institute for Learning (2008). ‘Code of Practice’ Available at: https://www.ifl.ac.uk/membership/ifl-code-of-professional-practice/view-the-code-of-professional-practice/ Accessed 1/12/2014

Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act (2006). London: HMSO. Available at: http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2006/47/section/6 Accessed 4/12/14

Explain the Boundaries Between the Teaching Role and Other Professional Roles In dealing with other professional roles, there must come a point at which the boundaries of our own role are recognized to avoid us ‘overstepping the line’. This can apply on either a professional or personal level and works in two ways: our behaviour toward others and their behaviour towards us. The key basis upon which these boundaries must be drawn are ethics. Ethics can be described as ‘The codes of conduct or moral principles recognized in a particular profession, sphere of activity, relationship, or other context or aspect of human life’ (Oxford English Dictionary, 2014)

In particular, the teaching profession is deeply implicated in ethical concerns and considerations. (Carr, D. 2000.) Therefore, it is an issue which should be constantly at the forefront of our thinking as teachers and an awareness of ethics helps to define the boundaries between us and other professional roles.

Some boundaries are not so much an issue of ethics, however, but more of practicality and there must be limits placed on what we can reasonably be expected to achieve. This could, for example, include something such as a client wishing us to condense a lesson into a shorter time to reduce the impact on their business. Whilst the motivation for this may be understandable, it could also be perceived to undermine the value of the lesson itself, or at the very least will have an effect on the quality of the teaching. Recognising this kind of boundary enables us to ensure the integrity of our aims as teachers.

Oxford English Dictionary (2014) Available online at: http://www.oed.com/ Accessed 4/12/14.

Carr, D. (2000). ‘Professionalism and ethics in teaching’.London: Routledge

Describe Points of Referral To Meet The Individual Needs Of Learners The teacher/student relationship is a unique one and often provides opportunities to unearth or identify needs which have previously been unnoticed. These needs may be specific to helping someone become a more effective learner, (such as possible dyslexia) or could be a wider issue in terms of being affecting the individual students’ life beyond the classroom.

These wider-reaching needs could be in any area of a persons’ life and broadly speaking, fall into one of 5 categories as identified by Maslow (1943):

Our role in providing support to help a student meet the identified need will depend on the particular need itself. For example, a student who is apparently lacking in one of the ‘upper needs’ such as self-esteem may benefit from more support, praise and encouragement. Some needs, however, will require external or third party input and this is where we may seek to access a point of referral.

It may become clear to us in the process of teaching that a student is suffering a crisis affecting their overall wellbeing: Domestic abuse, homelessness, drug or alcohol misuse etc. In this instance, we can play an important role in referring someone to a service or organization who can provide assistance. So as to be sure that we are not misguided, the student themselves should be engaged initially and when help is offered, it can be simply through providing information, or if consent is given, we may choose to act as an advocate.

Maslow, A.H (1943). ‘A Theory of Human Motivation’. Psychological Review (50)p.370-396.


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