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Understand Inclusive Learning and Teaching in Lifelong Learning Essay

1.1 Summarise Learning and teaching strategies used in own specialism

Within my own specialty field having a variety of teaching methods and strategies to potentiate learning is an absolute requirement. The field caters to people from all kinds of backgrounds and levels of education so it must be flexible and adaptable enough to appeal to its varied audience.

It is usually taught following a mix of teaching methods that focus on different learning strategies, and can be identified as being an “Interactive Lecture” with some slight variations.

It usually starts with a short lecture that lasts for approximately 15 minutes and usually contains a metaphor, as a way of introducing the subject and determining the boundaries by which the session is going to be ruled and also a list of natural examples, that is, situations or contexts where the particular topic being taught could be applied.

Demonstrations follow so as to allow the students to familiarize themselves with the concepts to be studied in any given class, and also to give them the opportunity to see first hand what the topic being demonstrated means and gives them a rough idea of what steps are to follow. These demonstrations usually take only form 5 o 10 minutes and can be demonstrated by the teacher on a voluntary student or it can occur in the form of Video, where another teacher or practitioner of the craft demonstrates the topic of the class.

Discussion between the students about what they have seen, is a very useful part of assimilating what has been observed in the demonstration and it is also a way to check and evaluate if the students have understood what was going on during the demonstration and check if they have been able to recognize the steps followed during the demonstration to achieve the end result.

Getting the students to put into Practice their learning is another way to immediately test their understanding and capability at carrying out what was demonstrated during the demonstration. This can be replaced by a Small Group Task, or a group or individual project where the students can test their skills in carrying out parts of what the demonstration entailed in addition of providing further information and develop their interaction skills within a team.

More small group discussions occurs after the students get to practice what they saw in the demonstration, where they get to comment and talk about difficulties, challenges and opinions in regards to how they found putting to practice and finally share their conclusions with the class.

The teacher ends the class by a small lecture style talk where s/he summarizes the key points reached during the class, and gives closure to the subjects of the session.

1.2 Explain how approaches to learning and teaching in own specialism that are inclusive and meet the needs of learners

A number of students that attend courses within my own field of specialism are blind, colour blind, dyslexic, or present some kind of “learning disabilities”.

Something that is always taken into account, are the learning strategies of the students that participate in any given class, their particular learning needs and other requirements that might be needed to support them in their learning process, this information is discovered through an initial questionnaire at the start of the course.

With activities that require interaction with colour or visual elements, the games/activities are adapted or modified in order to compensate for the barrier or disability/ies some particular students might present, by utilizing other senses as a way to replace the visual/colour component.

Adapting other materials, activities and games, bringing in flexibility to the exercises is part of the process to teach in my own specialism that are inclusive and meet the needs of the learners.

2.1 Explain how to select resources that meet the need of learners

Selecting the resources that meet the needs of the learners is a constant process of consistent evaluation and change.

Some of the factors that can influence the teaching methods utilized in any given context are the level of knowledge and the level of commitment of the participants, which links with the level of responsibility they are able to cope with on their own, in addition to their preferred learning system/style, or any other physical, cultural, hearing, language or learning needs.

Things such as the class environment and resource/teaching budget are also important; resources can be costly so establishing a sharing scheme or setting up small groups per resource can also be a good idea if it is not possible to find a suitable cheaper alternative. The characteristics of the room

Hand-outs are one of the resources that can be provided in the form of notes, extra information, the student´s can always look back and refer to, when their preferred learning strategies are visual. Worksheets, books, flipcharts, printed quizzes in addition to textbooks and journals are also wonderful ways to potentiate learning through the visual sense,

Whiteboards, blackboards, PowerPoint presentations, digital cameras, software, YouTube, other hardware or equipment and Moodle are more interactive ways of learning and their effectiveness depends on the suitability of methods for promoting learning.

Knowing enough about the possibilities available and having the skill to confidently utilize it for it to be effective is also important, in addition to the fact that a constant evaluation system should always be in place with the purpose of being able to make rapid changes whenever a teaching method does not have the results expected, and to find out what is effective and useful for any particular set of students.

2.2 Explain how to provide opportunities for learners to practise their literacy, language, numeracy and ICT

It is possible in my field, (NLP, Presentation Skills and performance enhancement) to present students with opportunities that require them to practice their literacy, language, numeracy and ICT skills in a variety of ways. Students are usually required to prepare some class with some recommended reading books, journals or articles, (depending on the particular aims of the course), occasions where they are able to practice their literacy and language skills.

As communication is a key element in my field, the necessity for them to develop excellent Language skills is key, as it also requires preparation, as elements of clear enunciation, focusing and the design of presentations are usually present in most of the courses within this field.

Numeracy skills are in most cases inherent as activities have to be very well timed and managed, and participants usually apply them within their own contexts and backgrounds at the same time they apply the skills learned during my courses, therein, time management, organizational skills and also an adequate level of numeracy are required. Through the skills learned during the course, a higher level of focus can be dedicated to reaching high performance states which in case where a student might have difficulties with numeracy, if s/he so desires, s/he could have the choice to choose it s a context and create a correlation between a particular high performance state (different from their usual nervous/uncertain state) and numeracy.

Students can develop or practice their ICT skills through the recommended online research and utilization of many online resources (forums, articles, blogs) that are available online for students, free of charge, in addition to having to prepare (in some courses), rough drafts for presentations to be handed in.

3.1 Explain ways to engage and motivate learners in an inclusive learning environment

There are many ways to engage and motivate learners in an inclusive learning environment. First of all, as per the teaching and learning cycle, it is important to identify needs that could be fulfilled or covered in any particular way, for that it would be a requirement to have a target audience so as to be able to study, search and find what the potential target audience could want.

Finding out what is of interest to them, so as to be able to develop an appropriate teaching strategy is crucial in order to engage and motivate learners, examples should be relevant to them. Ideally the competencies or skills to be taught could be taught through a utilization of content that is of interests them. We call “flora” many different types of flowers, they all have the same structure (form), a stem, a pistil, petals, pollen, etc.; but the shapes (content) they take are very different, a Lily looks very different from a Rose and from a Bird of Paradise, a Daffodil or a Cherry Blossom.

In the same way, by keeping the intention (purpose/form) of an exercise the same and giving it a shape (content) that is of interest to the students, there is a higher possibility of getting the interest of the students, thus engaging them and motivating them to participate in the activity/ies planned for the session.

Realizing, recognizing and acknowledging the differences between students, and respecting those differences, adjusting explanations, language and resources to include all participants is bound to also increase their engagement in the topic being covered.

Acknowledging and recognizing the achievements of the students in the process of achieving the “big goals” and reminding them of the goals that are to be reached at the end of the course while involving them in the process of taking responsibility for their own goals and reasons for being in the course.

Providing the students and participants with clear, specific and useful feedback that addresses specific areas or details that are lacking or would need further revision or study, with instructions of how to improve them or overcome them, is another responsibility of the teacher which potentially has great results in involving and engaging the participants of a course.

3.2 Explain ways to establish ground rules with learners to promote respect for others

It is important for the facilitators of learning to establish an appropriate micro culture within the members of a class.

The way students interact with their environment, with each other (psychological climate) and the interactions between students and teachers sometimes must be defined and agreed to since the start in order to avoid misunderstandings or problems due to “assuming” that a set of ground rules were “obvious” and “logical”.

These sets of behavioural rules, determined in consensus by the class during a session dedicated specially to designing these rules could include punctuality, part of this can be represented by arriving to class on time, respecting time allocated for breaks, (coming back on time) and ending class at the finishing time, unless a special project or other activity is taking place which would take a few more minutes.

Coming prepared to class is a very important ground rule, that would include bringing to class the materials (books, notes, pens, paper, etc) recommended by the teacher and having brought in homework, having studied or revised the learning materials in order to be a participative element in the class, by talking in turns, providing responses and sharing point of view in class.

In the same topic, another ground rule to take into account in the subject of participating in class is to listen and respect the opinions and arguments of other classmates or teachers, even if those opinions differ from ones own, note that respecting does not mean “having to agree”, it simply means that the topic of disagreement or discordance is open for discussion, sometimes to be expanded on at a later time.

Participation in class, or the voicing of opinions, questions or doubts is essential for ensuring the concepts covered in class are well understood, it is capital to note that there must be an element of trust and confidentiality within the group so as to be able to talk freely without fear or recrimination or judgement. If feedback is to be provided in any kind of occasions it must be done in a respectful manner, with appropriate language.

Following upon the concept of respect, the respect for the study/learning time is essential and can be demonstrated by switching off (or putting on silent, all electronic equipment that is not needed during the class; that includes telephones, music players, iPads, tablets, computers, and all other electronic devises that could be a disturbance to the progression of the session.

These rules are to be followed and reinforced within the group though the discussion and sharing these responsibilities, emphasizing how these ground rules are to help and support not only the teacher, but the students, in the learning process.


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