Roles, Responsibilities and Relationships in Lifelong Learning Essay
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a) As Gravells (2012, pp.19) states, the legislation, regulatory requirements and codes of practice relevant to a teacher in the lifelong learning sector will “differ depending upon the context and environment in which you teach”. For example, different organisations and employers are likely to have differing policies and guidelines, such as dress-code, time-keeping, equalities, regulating the role of the teacher.
When teaching accredited courses it is necessary to be aware of the requirements of external bodies, such as Ofsted, which may inspect provision, as well as awarding and funding bodies, such as an FE College, which will require evidence to assure the quality of qualifications and courses and course attendance.
There is various legislation and codes of practice relevant to the role of the teacher. Generic examples relevant to my role as a trade union tutor are listed in the table below:
There will also be legislation and codes of practice relating specifically to the subject area being taught, type and age range of students, and environment. Thus, the Children Act (2004) will be relevant to those teaching learners under 18 years. I have listed in the table below some of the legislation and codes of contact relevant to my role as a trade union tutor: Health & Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations (1992)| Information Technology Codes of Practice|
Trade Union & Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act (1992)| ACAS Code of Practice: time off for trade union duties and activities|
Legislation, codes of practice and regulations can change over time, and from organisation to organisation, and course to course. It is therefore important to check these regularly and ensure that, as a teacher, your knowledge and skills are up to date. b) “boundary n., pl. –ries. 1. Something that indicates the farthest limit, as of an area; border” Sinclair, J.M. et al, 1994, pp.187. Thus, boundaries both help to both define and limit our role as teachers; they are core to recognising our own areas of responsibility and expertise, and to recognising and respecting those of other professionals with whom we may work.
The boundary between the role of the teacher and the specialist is seldom clear. Therefore, to more clearly understand where appropriate boundaries lay, it is important to understand the role of the teacher. These can be broadly outlined by the teaching cycle, which consists of five processes: identify needs, plan and design, deliver/facilitate, assess and evaluate. As a teacher I may encounter barrier in each of these aspects of the teaching/learning cycle, and I may need to seek the assistance or guidance of other professionals. For example, if IT equipment is required to deliver, then it is the responsibility of the IT Officer to set this up. Similarly, at times it is necessary to invite a specialist, such as a lawyer, to provide briefings on particular areas such as legislation or to consult with them in the development of course materials.
As a trade union tutor I regularly work alongside colleagues in a variety of professional roles, including: lawyers and legal advisors, dyslexia and learning support services, trade union officials, technicians and IT support, Human Resources managers, college administrators and other tutors. As a teacher it is important to engage with other professional roles in a confident, respectful and professional manner, and to recognise and continually assess when aspects of my role can be more effectively dealt with by another trained professional. And again, as Gravells (2012, pp.16) says, “If you are ever in doubt about the boundaries of your role, always ask someone else…”
c) “The IfL Code of Practice states: Members shall take reasonable care to ensure the safety and welfare of learners and comply with relevant statutory provisions”. (ibid., pp. 51)
Having identified barriers to learning, it is then important to identify the correct services to which learners may be referred. These points of referral can be simply separated into internal and external support services. Internal services are generally those provided by the education provider or organisation. Thus, many FE colleges have student support services which might include counselling, financial support, learning support etc.
Trade unions may provide less internal services for learners, but there is generally an Education Officer or department, which can provide support to learners, and sometimes bursaries, and there is usually an IT department which can provide technical support and assistance. Many unions also have Learning Organisers, who can provide specialist advice and referral, and access to Union Learning Fund (ULF) resources. In addition, full-time union officials can assist learners in negotiating time off and financial and other assistance from their employers, and will work with them to develop an Individual Learning Plan (ILP).
External support services generally refers to specialist organisations can refer to organisations such as Samaritans, Lesbian & Gay Switchboard, NHS Direct, which provide specialist support and advice on specific issues which may affect learners. Within trade union education, external support services may also include referring learners, with their consent, to their employer. Many employers can provide financial and other assistance with learning, and offer support for staff with dyslexia and those for whom English is a second language. There are also other organisations, such as NIACE and the Workers Education Association (WEA) which provide additional training courses.
d) “A good first impression will help establish a positive working relationship with your students.”, states Gravells (2012, pp. 10), “The way you dress, act, respond to questions, offer support…”, all of these factors and more will place a part in setting the boundaries and establishing appropriate behaviours amongst learners. As a teacher it is vital to set a positive example, and to facilitate learners in establishing ground rules for behaviour during lessons, such as arriving on time, keeping phones on silent and listening respectfully to others.
Learners’ involvement in establishing the acceptable standards of behaviour is key to gaining their buy-in, and thus in maintaining and regulating behaviour on an ongoing basis. Establishing routines in the learning context can be helpful, and it is necessary to constantly monitor, review and evaluate the behaviours within the lesson at all stages of the teaching/learning cycle, and to encourage and engage with feedback from learners regarding their experiences. In each situation it is necessary to determine appropriate actions; if unacceptable behaviour is repeated by one or more individuals, it may be necessary to address this with learners on a one-to-one basis in order to identify and, hopefully, to address the causes of any problems or issues.
Gravells, A (2012) Preparing to Teach in the Lifelong Learning Sector – The New Award, 5th Edition, London: Sage. Lefrancois, G.R. (2000) Psychology for Teaching, 10th Edition, Wadsworth. Sinclair, J.M. et al (1995) Collins English Dictionary Updated Edition, Harper Collins.