As a trainer, teacher and assessor my roles are many and varied. As part of my day to day work I may not only deliver lessons but also carry out theory assessments, practical assessments and sometimes interviews. I may have to motivate and liaise as well as guide and assess. I will have to keep records and be a subject specialist as well as liaise internally and impart information and advice sometimes on a personal level. The first impact I play regarding my role is either interviewing possible candidates or meeting and greeting them on the first day of their course.
Meeting potential apprentices/apprentices on their first day induction requires me to make a good first impression and aim to create a degree of respect and professionalism from the onset. Geoff Petty says in his book. “When you go for an interview you put your best clothes on. Employers are affected by first impressions, but so are you as a teacher. We do this because we want to know how to behave towards a person and how we can expect them to behave towards us. It would of course be fairer to suspend judgement, but few of us manage this in practise”. (Petty G 2009)
It has been proven (Petty G: 2009) that students’ that don’t look interested in studies or that have a “don’t care attitude” are more likely to do worse on their course that those that appear bright and willing to learn. This is partly due to our “first impressions” leading to the student being taught differently even though this may be subconscious. This is when it is important in your role as teacher to be the needs identifier and try to teach to the needs of the students’ as individuals and not to teach to the needs of the class as a whole when designing the learning and implementing it.
Every student is an individual that has their own preferred learning styles one of the most common and widely used categorizations of the various types of learning styles is Fleming’s VARK model (sometimes VAK) consisting of visual learners, auditory learners, kinaesthetic learners or tactile learners. Flemming claimed that visual learners have a preference for seeing (think in picture; visual aids such as overhead slides, diagrams, hand-outs, etc. ). Auditory learner’s best learn through listening.
Tactile/kinaesthetic learners prefer to learn via experience, moving, touching and doing (active exploration of the world; science projects; experiments, etc. ) Its use in pedagogy allows teachers to prepare classes that address each of these areas. Students can also use the model to identify their preferred learning style and maximize their educational experience by focusing on what benefits them most(Wikipedia. org/learning styles). During my lessons I always try to give students a mixture of learning styles so overall the lessons are more varied.
I find this keeps the levels of interest much higher and it caters for the group as a whole, this way each student gets to learn at some point in their preferred learning style, this helps me confirm that they have knowledge and understanding from classroom based auditory and visual learning and that they can demonstrate through practical assessments that they have the skills and ability to perform tasks to a standard which can be deemed competent.
I insist my students must understand how, when, where and why they should perform tasks. By giving students as much information as possible I believe this empowers the individual and gives them more incentive for learning.
As a railway trainer assessor it is my responsibility to ensure support and guidance is available to help support students with various needs and personal issues, any apprentices who report a problem to me it is my duty to speak to the respective students and help deal with their learner needs, if it is anything regarding personal issues it is then my job to involve the appropriate person that deals with those issues, from the designated safe guarding officer to councillors within the affiliated colleges, chaplains or in some cases if the severity of the matter is such by contacting police.
All aspects on quality and diversity must be considered at all times and any issues must be kept confidential as the tutor has a duty of care to his/her students. As a railway assessor I am responsible for a class of up to 26 students as their supervisor/mentor it is my duty to inform the student of any relevant legislation and codes of practice. One of the first subjects covered is Health and Safety at Work Act (HASAWA) giving students information on company safety policies and information regarding fire and first aid.
Week one of their initial six week course involves presentations and Q&A regarding legislation that is applicable to the railway such as COSHH (control of substances hazardous to health), RIDDOR (reporting of diseases dangerous occurrence Regs) as well as HAVS (hand arm vibration syndrome) Noise Regs, LOLER (lifting operations lifting equipment Regs), Railway Regs and manual handling. “Recording provides the platform from which teachers can base their reporting to others and is a mechanism for evaluating learning and teaching. (highlandschools) One of the most important roles of a teacher (and assessor) is record keeping. From day one it is my responsibility to start with a course register as the course progresses I am responsible for gathering evidence that students produce assessing it, evaluating it, marking it and keeping it filled away safely. Data protection is very important because as a teacher we deal with personal details.
Part of my job entails collecting apprentice’s bank details and personal details this documentation needs to be collected and passed on to the wage department safely and securely. Weekly reports are carried out on each candidate this information must be kept in a secure location because any misuse could be detrimental to the welfare of students and break any trust built up between student and teacher. Keeping records is a very important reflexive tool for both teachers and learners.
Accurate records taken throughout a course enables both teacher and students to continually reassess the effectiveness of the teaching/learning relationship by giving an ongoing measurement against what the candidate should be learning, what they have been taught, whether or not they are making progress and whether the structure of the lesson plan is sufficient or not. Indications on whether the student needs more additional help can also be highlighted.
Holistic record keeping is beneficial as it can give an indication if there is external problems for example poor attendance may be due to a multitude of reasons and as a tutor this gives you an initial warning that there may be an underlying problem with this information you can then look deeper and begin to analyse behavioural patterns to identify whether or not there is any issue that might require the notification of other professional bodies.
Keeping accurate records of candidates work is necessary for progress, monitoring student achievement, ability and skill through ongoing assessment is essential to track their progress with the additional constructive feedback helps teachers set realistic targets for the candidate to achieve. Once these targets are met the end product is passed on to the awarding bodies for certification.
My personal interpretation is that the role of a teacher is a very varied and flexible one. Structured by lesson plans and course criteria the simple fact that individual students can be so diverse due to background, ability, age, and motive for learning makes the role of a teacher unique each and every day.
It is my opinion that there is a great responsibility of a tutor to pass on knowledge in a positive and passionate way, the tutor creates his/her own environment for learning and in that environment all the needs of the learner should be met. The teacher should be able to relate to individuals to develop a good personal teaching relationship and to understand what gets the best results out of each student to maximise learning outcome.