Roles, Responsibilities and Relationships in Lifelong Learning In this assignment I will be addressing the role of a teacher, their responsibilities to their learners and the relationships a teacher has with other professionals. I will also look at my own role and responsibilities in the lifelong learning sector and how I can meet the needs of my learners while working within the boundaries of the role of a teacher.
This assignment will explain how to meet the needs of learners through referral to specialist professionals and how to promote appropriate behaviour in a safe and supportive learning environment which values equality and diversity. Government legislation dictates certain behaviour and actions to be taken by a teacher in given situations. The Special Educational Needs and Disabilities Act 2001 (SENDA) provides legal rights for disabled students whom are at a ‘substantial disadvantage’ that the responsible bodies require reasonable steps to be taken to prevent that disadvantage.
These steps could include physical changes to the educational establishment, delivering course material relative to the needs of the learner and providing learning material in different formats. The Equality Act 2006 was passed to establish the Commission for Equality and Human Rights (CEHR). The CEHR has a statutory remit to promote and monitor human rights; and to protect, enforce and promote equality across the nine “protected” grounds – age, disability, gender, race, religion and belief, pregnancy and maternity, marriage and civil partnership, sexual orientation and gender reassignment (EHRC 2013).
This makes sure that discrimination on the grounds of religion or belief within public functions, education and several other areas. They also place a duty on public authorities to promote equal opportunities between men and women. These legislations, along with many more, place responsibility on me as a teacher to be able to deliver the same criteria to learners regardless of gender, social background and ability. Working in a young offender’s institute I only deliver lessons to males aged 15 to 18.
These young people however are at different levels of education, have varied social backgrounds and ethnicity. It is my responsibility to ensure these learners can all complete the necessary tasks to achieve a qualification. If I do not feel I have the resources personally to meet the special needs of an individual learner then I can refer them to any of the more specialized staff within the establishment such as SenCo for special educational needs or YOT for help getting the learner into further education when their sentence is fully served or during their sentence if possible.
The learners can display negative attitudes towards other young people or staff of differing social backgrounds or ethnicities. It is my responsibility to challenge these negative attitudes in an attempt at changing the perception the learner has about these people by discussing the effects that their opinions have on individuals. If I feel I am not reaching the learner and their views are not changing I can refer them to the chaplaincy or their keyworker who can provide relevant courses that are aimed at these specific areas.
It is important that I promote the relevance of equality to the learners so that they feel comfortable sharing a work space with others of differing race or gender. Through this the learners will then learn to value and respect diversity in people and what a person from differing backgrounds can offer, rather than use it as a barrier to their own learning. In my role as a teacher it is my responsibility to identify and meet the needs of my learners.
I can identify some of their needs before I have any contact with them by asking for any information ESS or SenCo have about any learning needs I should be aware of such as dyslexia so I can adapt learning material for them. Once I am aware of the learner’s specific needs then I can talk to them about achievable targets to set which they agree to and set these targets out in their ILP (Individual Learning Plan). I find that learner’s are more receptive to targets that they have agreed to rather than targets they have forced upon them.
This can help if a learner has problems with authority as they see they are working with the teacher towards their own goals. Everyone wants structure in their lives, and no more so than your most poorly behaved students (Cowley 2005). Keeping problems from inappropriate behaviour to a minimum is important for all in the class as it is disruptive for all learners. It is important that I set out what is appropriate behaviour once a learner has started on my course. We discuss what they think is expected of them and what I expect of them and sign an agreement which outlines these expectations.
Now the learner is aware of how they should behave during their time with me I positively reinforce their good behaviour with praise during the lesson for good work, at the end of the lesson I point out a few things they did well and at the end of the week I have well done slips I give to learners who have produced good work and behaved well all week. These slips allow the learner points to spend on items from the shop on their wing and when issued are recorded as positive behaviour on C-Nomis to make other professionals aware that the learner has performed well.
And if your students do choose to push the barriers you have given them, you must be prepared to sanction them accordingly (Cowley 2005). However if a learner is misbehaving during lesson time I will remind them of the agreed behaviour expected of them, if their behaviour fails to improve I will ask them if they have any issues outside of class that could be causing them to ‘act out’ and if I cannot help with these issues I will refer them to another professional who can help such as their personal officer.
If their poor behaviour continues I can record this on C-Nomis to make other professionals aware that this behaviour needs addressing. In teaching in a prison keeping on top of learner behaviour helps maintain a safe learning environment as if I allow certain poor behaviour to go unchallenged it could lead to dangerous situations. Also each learner is made aware of various health and safety issues they may face during class time as when they start the course they need to complete a health and safety unit. This covers areas such as spotting hazards, using fire extinguishers and working on portable access equipment safely.
Involving the learner in identifying risks and hazards within the class environment helps them realise these dangers. Within a safe learning environment each learner can focus on their individual tasks and I can focus on their individual needs. When each learners needs are being met and the learners feel they can ask for help from their teacher a supportive environment has been achieved. As a teacher in the lifelong learning sector I must be responsible for having the relevant skills and qualifications to fulfil their role.
Having appropriate levels of skill in literacy and numeracy means I can produce materials for the learners to use and keep record of the progress the learners are making. Most worksheets and lesson plans are produced using a personal computer; this would not be possible if I was without the necessary ICT skills. Various interpersonal and life skills are required to be a good teacher such as; being adaptive, committed, confident, creative, decisive, diplomatic, enthusiastic, focused, honest, intelligent, patient, organised, positive, professional, reliable, responsible and supportive.
These skills and many more enable me to create a positive learning environment where learners can achieve their potential and as I evaluate myself I can ever improve the learning experience. When teaching a subject it is important that I have the relevant skills, qualifications and experience within this subject to be able to deliver quality lessons. It is imperative that I identify the needs of each individual learner so the learners feel valued and can receive appropriate tutorials and assessment for their level of ability as they achieve.
I must also meet the needs of the organization I work for by following the code of conduct the organization has produced. I will continue to attend CPD (Continual Personal Development) events to further develop and expand my skills to the benefit of my learners. In my role as a teacher I have a responsibility to other professionals to keep my lesson punctual so it does not over run into another teacher’s lesson and that I inform other teachers or colleagues of any behavioural problems with specific learners so appropriate measures can be applied to remedy this.
While I like to keep my learning environment relaxed and friendly it is important to be aware of the boundaries in my role as a teacher. These boundaries mean I should not become over familiar with my learners which could be detrimental to the learning environment and deal with learner’s emotional problems in a professional manner referring them to other professionals who are there to accommodate these needs.
These boundaries differ from other professionals as they are specific to a teaching role and are vital for keeping a teacher safe in their practice. In summary a teacher has many important roles and responsibilities to learners choosing to continue their personal development in lifelong learning and must always strive to improve the learning environment within current legislation.