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Understanding Inclusive Learning and Teaching in Lifelong Learning Essay

Learning outcome 1: Understanding teaching and learning strategies in lifelong learning

I am a Dental Sister at Guys and St Thomas’ Hospital. I will be teaching 1st year Undergraduate Bachelor Dental Students (BDS). The 1st year BDS have to have certain criteria when enrolling on the 5 year BDS course the academic entry requirements are Biology and Chemistry A-level grade A, Mathematics A-level grade A, GCSE grade B in both English and Maths and all applicants must take UKCAT. There is also some non-academic entry requirements which include scholastic activity, community activity, general activity/interests and work shadowing/observation experience. The student also has to have an interview before being accepted onto the course.

1.2 Evaluate the effectiveness of approaches to learning and teaching in own specialist area in meeting needs of learners

When meeting a group of new students it is important to find out each student’s particular learning style, this is so I can meet the learning needs of each student individually. Learning styles are individual’s natural pattern of acquiring and processing information in learning situations. There are many models of learning styles David Kolbs, Peter Honey and Alan Mumford, Anthony Gregorc and Neil Flemings VAK are some of the most popular. Honey and Mumford suggests that “learners are a mixture of four styles Activist (likes to keep busy, new challenges) Pragmatist (likes practical situations), Theorist (needs time to take in information) and Reflector (thinks deeply about what they are learning)” (2006) These are assumed to be acquired preferences that are adaptable, either at will or through changed circumstances.

Neil Flemmings VAK is one of the most common and widely used learning styles model, Fleming claimed that “visual learners have a preference for seeing (thinking in pictures; visual aids such as (overhead slides, diagrams and handouts). Auditory learner’s best learn through listening (lectures, discussions, tapes).Kinesthetic learners prefer to learn via experience, moving, touching, and doing (active exploration of the world, projects; experiments)” (2009) its use 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 the most.

Students can take a short learning styles test/ questionnaire prior to starting a programme ideally in the induction process to identify what their individual preferences are. This will allow me to construct a lesson plan to cover each students individual learning styles in class and to also understand some personal traits of the group. The group profile provided for me by Lesco had used the VAK to determine the learning styles of the group. There are12 students in the group, 5 Visual, 3 audio and 4 kinesthetic. Not all learners fall into one form of learning style they may be a multi-model (a mixture of two or more styles). For me to meet the needs of all the learners I will have to plan each lesson to cover all aspects of VAK, for example handouts, group work discussions and role play but to also keep all learners engaged.

A SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunites and Threats) analysis is also an effect tool for identifying the needs of students; it allows the student to reflex on their own strengths, weakness, opportunities and threats. SWOT analysis is also a way for the student to reflect and identify what their own strengths and weakness are and where they may need support. It can also help learners to plan how they will achieve their goal. Looking at the group profile I would say TW ( who suffers with dyslexic) HY (lack of confidence), JS (Started the group late) and WE (Relies on friends) would benefit most from completing a SWOT analysis as they all have obstacles that needs to be address in regards to their learning.

1.3 Evaluate aspects of inclusive learning

Inclusive teaching means recognising, accommodating and meeting the learning needs of all students. It means acknowledging that students have a range of individual learning needs and are members of diverse communities. For example a student with a disabling medical condition may also have English as an additional language and be a single parent. Inclusive teaching avoids pigeonholing students into specific groups with predictable and fixed approaches to learning. If not all learning styles are covered some students may feel excluded or left out, for example if I did not identify or carry out an initial assessment to identify that TW had dyslexic my lesion plans may not support TW’s learning style/needs. TN has a disability that may need some extra support and encouragement It is vital for me to carry out an initial assessment in the induction process or when first meeting the students to discover what each student needs are. Each session should cover all styles of learning e.g. active learning, student-centre, teacher-centre, peer working, small and large group activity, independent research and the use of information communication technology. As I will be teaching on a clinical environment it will not be possible to have the use of Information Communication Technology ICT but this will be covered with the student in the classroom environment.

2.1 Analyse inclusive approaches to learning and teaching

When taking an inclusive approach to learning and teaching I should aim to meet every individual student’s learning requirements that would benefit all students and not only those who declare their disability but also student who may not know that they have any specialist learning requirements.

When looking at the group profile and the general comments about each learner I can see that TW will benefit from multi-sensory learning this give TW the chance to use all her sense’s which in turn will motivate her and build her confidence in her learning experience. According to the International Dyslexia Association (IDA), “multi-sensory teaching is an effective approach to teaching students with dyslexia”, they also go on to say that “In traditional teaching, students typically use two senses: sight and hearing. Students see words when reading and they hear the teacher speaking. But many children with dyslexia may have problems processing visual and auditory information. By including more of the senses, making lessons come alive by incorporating touch, smell and taste into their lessons, teachers can reach more students and help those with dyslexia learn and retain information” (http://specialed.about.com/od/readingliteracy/a/Dyslexiaandmultisensory.htm,2013)

I also feel that TW will benefit from 1 to 1 opportunity’s and pair work.

MB enjoys group work and likes to be the leader, she may benefit from group work and co-operative learning, it may be a good idea be put PS in the same group as MB as MB can lead the group and PS may be encouraged to take part. PS may come up with ideas and help MB catch up with the work they missed when they were ill.

2.2 Analyse how to select resources to meet the needs of learners

Once the needs of the learners have been assessed and the right techniques have been selected it is vital to choose the correct resources to support and meet the needs of the learners. For me to teach the BDS 1st years how to set up a chair I will be needing a clinical dental surgery (chair set up), a sink with hand washing solution, the correct hand washing technique clearly displayed, barrier wrapping, sterile instruments. I will also explain to the students that Guys Tower has 30 floors with 6 lifts to accommodate over 5000 staff, students and patients, at peak times you can wait up till 20 minutes for a lift because of this I will start the lesson later then the clinical departments.

I will also need a computer and printer to enable me to compose and print out the appropriate handouts. One handout will have bullet points and the other picture diagrams of the step by step hand washing technique. Setting up a dental chair is done in groups of 3, one student to be the nurse, one to be the dentist and one to be the patient. Looking at the group profiles I will put the students into groups of 3 to cover all the learning styles; this encourages the learners to support each other strengths and weakness.

2.3 Explain how to create assessment opportunities that meet the needs of learners.

Assessments are a way of finding out if learning has taken place; it will enable me to see if the students are gaining the correct knowledge and the required skills to progress them forward in the program. Ann Gravells says that “Assessment can help your student by: • Diagnosing any area of concern to enable support to be arranged • Encouraging discussions and questions

• Ensuring they are on the right programme at the right level • Gaining feedback regarding what has been achieved so far, ascertaining areas for development and what is yet to be learnt and achieved • Maintaining motivation

• Recognising what they have learnt • Seeing any mistakes they have made: for example, spelling, grammar and punctuation. Gravells also goes on to say that “assessment is not another form for evaluation: assessment is of the students and evaluation is of the programme” (Gravellis P110, 5th edition 2013).

Formal assessments will count towards the student’s final achievement/ qualification, in the 1st year BDS the students take an end of years OCSE (Observed Structured Clinical Examination) exam. Informal assessments are activities that can take place at any time, for example, oral questions, a quiz and group discussion. Informal assessments may not count to the final achievement but it does enable myself and the student to know how much learning has taken place.

As a teacher when carrying out assessments I need to take into account all of the students learning styles, for example I may ask TW oral questions instead of a written test or to cater for TN’s needs I could have a written assessment instead of asking questions. To gain PS and WE’s confidence I could observe some pair or group work.


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