Understanding Inclusive Learning and Teaching Essay
Understanding Inclusive Learning and Teaching
The focus of this assignment is the key factors that influence inclusive teaching and learning and how it is incorporated into my specialist subject area. As individuals we all learn differently, this has been influenced by past educational experiences, study techniques and personal approaches to how we undertake tasks. This can be defined as ‘particular ways of gathering, processing and storing information and experiences’ (Cuthbert, 2005). As all students have a particular style of learning, this knowledge as a teacher enables the inclusion of a variety of tasks within their teaching style. Fleming (2005) stated that people can be grouped into four styles of learning: (Gravells, 2012), Visual, Aural, Read / Write and Kinaesthetic (VARK), with Honey and Mumford (1992) suggesting that learners are a mixture of the four styles, Activist, Pragmatist, Theorist and Reflector. (Gravells, 2012). However, Coffield states “it was not sufficient to pay attention to individual differences in learners, we must take account of the whole teaching –learning environment” (Coffield, 2008).
To teach is to change how someone understands, experiences and conceives the World (Ramsden, 2003), inclusive teaching methods are to encourage students to question, inquire and search our bodies of knowledge (Biggs.J, 2003). My practice of teaching is to normally small groups and ‘on the job’ training to prepare dental nurses to become ‘work ready’ (this method is more Kinaesthetic, but more realistic a way for the students to learn in accordance with the job role). The nature of their role means they have to continually professionally develop to meet General Dental Council (GDC) guidelines, so they meet registration requirements, which allows them to work within the industry as part of a patient safety welfare campaign. The teaching methods are usually in the form of tutorials in a dedicated staff room as a group, (collaborative learning), this allows participation of all the learners and allows activities to be set that engage them and includes different learning styles.
The activities can be practically based using materials that they use in their everyday job role and as a group discussion on core subjects and relevant legislative change. This allows them to critically think and analyse the subjects being covered as they contribute to the training session it is important that their styles of contribution are valued. (Dennis and Lawland cited in Schpilberg & Hubschmann 2003) “Thus, we now turn to a discussion of strategies to facilitate small-group learning” “Effective teachers a) present material in a clear engaging manner and b) focus on the interpersonal factors that characterise classrooms and rapport with students” (Goldstein, 2006).
It is a responsibility to the learners and ourselves as a teacher that an environment is developed and created where they can think and achieve. I have to ensure that my knowledge on the subject is relevant and up to date and how it fits in to the standards set by City and Guilds for the Oral Health NVQ (an award which the Dental nurses are required to achieve) this is via an outside source (college) which embeds the functional skills needed (numeracy and literacy) as a mandatory subject. Another of my teaching methods delivered is by way of ‘on the job’ training which allows me to assess their progress, explore their knowledge and skill by observing and questioning their processes. This method of teaching falls in with Kolbs (1984) four stage experiential learning cycle.
Figure 1 Kolb’s (1984) experiential learning cycle (Gravells. A 2012)
The learner carries out the task, reviews it and learns from it and continually applies the doing of this task in their day to day job (plan, do, act and review), as part of their training they are required to complete a booklet of tasks and have this signed off by me the teacher when they are assessed as competent it can also be used as a reflective tool. They are also required legally to complete a CPD portfolio to show they are keeping up to date with the core subjects set out by the GDC on a three year cycle, which must have at least fifty hours of verifiable CPD. Developing this teaching style does require time and the incorporation of different teaching strategies as well as being able to assess what is effective in my teaching, ensuring that the learners are engaged and are learning from the sessions. Looking at Gagne (1985) levels of learning and the nine events his theory suggests that has to take place for effective learning to take place, I have unknowingly being applying these to my sessions: 1. Gaining attention- I would show them an example of what training was to take place at that session such as how a matrix band should look like when it is set 2. Identifying the object- that this is what they will be able to do by the end of the session, set a matrix band up. 3. Recalling prior learning- I would ask if they have yet set up a matrix band.
4. Presenting stimulus- explain how they will put the matrix band together 5. Guided learning- demonstrate how the matrix band is put together 6. Eliciting performance- ask the students to try and put a matrix band together 7. Provide feedback- at every stage I will inform the learner how they are progressing 8. Assessing performance- ensure that they had correctly put the matrix band together and check it and ask the learner questions in regards to its set up. 9. Enhancing retention/ transfer- summarising what has just taken place and inform what will be in the next training session. It is imperative that the learners are kept motivated by praise and encouragement, most of the sessions that take place are not kept to lengthy times, and feedback is encouraged to ensure that the sessions have been fun and worthwhile and relevant to their job and fits in with the curriculum laid out for the Dental Nurse award. An inclusive learning approach allows learners to overcome barriers to reach their full potential, teachers have to be aware of all their learners, (Booth et al 2000) states “Inclusion is seen to involve the identification and minimising of barriers to learning and participation”.
To ensure inclusion is taking place as part of my sessions, their needs are assessed usually by way of a training needs analysis which identifies the area and plan for their individual learning, this plan is agreed with the learner and a booklet is set out with the identified tasks, as well as the group practical’s and tutorials one to one meetings are also addressed which allows the learner a chance to discuss any problems or areas they feel they are struggling, this also allows an assessment of their progress and allows feedback from them to me. On analysis of their needs it may address they need additional support in learning or need to address their functional skills, having access to outside agencies that fund this support allows me to address the additional needs and direct them to these agencies that assess and evaluate their functional needs and set the required levels of attainment.
The best method of teaching throughout my industry have proven to be practically based where the student is shown how to complete a task they then in return do the task and talk their reasoning through, students have explained that they feel that actually doing the task they feel they learn more and understand more as to why they need to do this type of learning, the majority of my learners also stated that they did not like or felt that at times the journal reading was not as important and often did not make time to put this activity into the learning schedule. Making adjustments for disabled learners has demonstrated benefits for all students (University, n.d.)
And using inclusive methods make you reassess your materials and delivery of your teaching. Consideration of the diversity of students so to embed principles of equality in the design, planning and evaluation of teaching, to keep students engaged taking into account their past experiences, current interests and future aspirations. Teachers need to understand and address equality and diversity for effective teaching and learning to take place; the six areas of The Equality Act 2010 have to be identified:
* Religion and belief
* Sexual orientation
Equality is concerned with protecting individuals and groups from discrimination and stereotyping and diversity is about respecting individual difference whether visible or invisible. Resources should reflect this practice and not typically stereotype and be biased. Not all students will be motivated this could be because they are being made to do the learning for a job promotion and do not really want to be there, keep the students motivated and engaged in the learning could be addressed by using different learning styles in your sessions.
Creating a good atmosphere and environment is a starting point as well as keeping the tasks interesting, practical and relevant. Maslow (1987) introduced a hierarchy of needs in 1954 after rejecting the idea that human behaviour was determined by childhood events (Gravells, 2012, p. 42) he felt that obstacles should be removed that prevent a person from achieving their goals, he argued that there are five needs which represent different levels of motivation as detailed in fig 2 below. Figure 2 Maslow’s (1987) Hierarchy of needs expressed in educational terms Gravells (2012)
The theory with this is when a student satisfies their needs at one level they are then able to progress to the next. Resources used are relevant to the training, a variety of resources are used to stimulate learning and promote their interest. The practice provides professional journals for the dental industry and all the staff has access to these, they cover up to date technologies and changes within their required learning area. NHS direct, Information Governance and the local Primary Care Cluster Trust provide the dental industry with free resources online which covers the core CPD subjects set out by the GDC, these can either be used to refresh or acquire new skills, they are evaluated at the end of each session by way of multiple choice type questions which the learners have to complete and a certificate is produced to show they have met the competency in that subject. In house training is through power points, hand outs and specific training using products that are used in their daily job role.
Where possible the resources promote equality and diversity by ensuring that all the learners are able to learn from them, hence the diverse use of many resources from outside sources as well as in house. As some of the resources provided are accessed by the staff outside training and learning sessions it is imperative that what they have learnt from them is assessed, this is usually by way of group or one to one discussions to relate back what they feel they have learnt and can apply to the job role as well as questioning the necessity of some of the information provided and how it will be applied as a new skill or within their knowledge within their job role. Evaluating the effectiveness of approaches used to learn and teach in specific subjects will take into consideration the environment in which they are to be taught. Learners need to be motivated, stimulated and engaged within their learning and with this in mind it is the different approaches that will take into consideration their different levels of experience and knowledge.
The mixture of approaches used within my own industry: discussions, demonstrations, group work, online learning, practical activities, presentations and simulations mean that a variety of learning styles are being met. Teachers often base their teaching on the assumption about students’ lives and interests or on the beliefs of what an average student should know (Hounsell, 2004) that activities and resources chosen to connect with one groups interest on the assumption that they will appeal to all students may leave some students disengaged (Hockings, 2007) if the learning and teaching strategies are flexible this will allow students to apply what they are learning to their own interests are likely to engage a wider range of students (Hockings, 2009) (Leach, 2007).
A range of assessment methods are used internally and externally to address the learners progress and areas of development: and to also ensure they are meeting the required standards of the organising body: * Learning journals- these are kept as diary of learning, the learners have to fill these in with their own experiences and reflections of how tasks where undertaken, this is used as a discussion point. * Observation – this is undertaken by myself and external assessors on specific arranged tasks that have been agreed with the learner before the observation takes place, once completed feedback takes place immediately as a one to one meeting to develop areas of need and award praise on competence. * Self and peer assessment- this is undertaken as a whole practice session by the way of appraisals of the whole team by each other and each individual is sat down with and allowed to participate and reflect on the information given on the appraisal forms and agreed development plans are drawn from these. * Witness testimony- these are undertaken by team members for the external sources who assess for awarding body.
English, maths and information and communication technology (ICT) commonly known as functional skills provide essential knowledge, skills and understanding that will enable learners to operate confidently, effectively and independently (Gravells, 2010, p. 20) in life and work. These skills were introduced by the government in 2007, as a major part of the job role within my specialist area is the accurate keeping of medical records for medico legal purposes, these skills are imperative to all workers. Outside sources are used to bring their skills up to date and as all of the dental nurses have to be awarded a recognised qualification; these skills are embedded into these programmes. The levels achieved are kept on file as part of our record keeping system and addressed annually to see if their skills need to be revised. Ground rules are conditions, rules and boundaries that are set so learners can safely learn, they are normally negotiated so to establish respect and behaviour.
All students are different and have different ideas on behaviour and respect, setting ground rules together establishes a mutually agreed set of rules between learners and teacher. Students will then know what is expected of them and where the boundaries lie, plus if any consequences will result if these rules are overstepped. Setting them together as a group or by setting up into groups to establish a set of agreed rules gives an opportunity for all individuals to put their views forward, once considered and established they should be written down and all students given a copy. The theory being that the learners will be more committed and less likely to break the rules. William Glasser an American Psychiatrist had a theory for classroom management which focused on helping students make appropriate behavioural choices that lead ultimately to personal success (Glasser, 1985)
Glasser’s Key Ideas
1. Students are rational beings. They can control their own behaviour. They choose to act the way they do. 2. Good choices produce good behaviour. Bad choices produce bad behaviour. 3. Teachers must always try to help students make good choices. 4. Teachers who truly care about their students accept no excuses for bad behaviour. 5. Reasonable consequences should always follow student behaviour, whether it is good or bad. 6. Class rules are essential and they must be enforced.
7. Classroom meetings are effective vehicles for attending to matters concerning class rules, behaviour and discipline. (Glasser, 1985) Feedback maximises the potential of learners at different stages of their learning, it raises awareness of their strengths and areas of improvement. It can be delivered formally or informally but should be delivered in a positive manner and a language that the learner is capable of understanding. Body language will also play a huge part in the deliverance a smiling face will be received more positively than a teacher who is frowning, ‘There is no sharp dividing line between assessment and teaching in the area of giving feedback on learning’ (Ramsden, 2003, p. 193).
Overall interaction between the teacher and learner is not one way, feedback should be given or the learner will not know if they are progressing and may lose trust with the teacher. Give the feedback as soon as possible after the event, focus on the positive and deliver in private especially if there is any negativity to be given, encourage reflection with questions “did it go as planned” if not ask why and what would they do differently, ensure that the learner is ready for the feedback, then record it and follow up on any agreed actions. The advantages of giving constructive feedback are: (Gravells, 2012, p. 126)
* Creates opportunities for clarification and discussion
* Emphasises progress rather than failure
* Helps improve confidence and motivation
* Identifies further learning opportunities or any action required.
As Gravells (2012) suggests you could ask your learner for feedback on yourself to assess your overall deliverance of the training and that learning is being met. In conclusion inclusive learning is about involving and engaging all your learners, treating them equally and fairly, without directly or indirectly excluding anyone. (Gravells, 2012) Learners may feel excluded if their particular needs are not met during a teaching session. Students ideally will be assessed in advance where possible before any learning takes place to identify any needs this could be an induction process or initial assessment. As previously mentioned the subject will be taught to learners who are all individual, different experiences, abilities and needs a culture of equality should be established where all the learners feel they can attend feel safe and valued. A teacher should actively seek ways to motivate and engage the whole group by using the different teaching methods available (VARK) as an example.
Set the ground rules and boundaries and underpin appropriate behaviour and respect for everyone in the group, if they are not set, problems may occur which could disrupt the session and lead to misunderstandings and or behavioural problems. (Gravells, 2012). Ground rules should always be discussed and negotiated where appropriate rather than forced upon the learners. Allow that some ground rules will be imposed such as Health and Safety requirements and No smoking. Constructive feedback is there to encourage and motivate learners to help them learn and develop Learners are given the opportunity to improve their functional skills.
Learners come from a multicultural society with different needs and abilities, all these individual requirements will need to be addressed and planned for by the teacher prior to any commencement of learning, failure to do this may result in learner not learning or enjoy the learning experience, become disruptive and fail to complete the course. Those learners who need additional learning support, such as Dyslexia may start to feel excluded and demotivated or start to disrupt sessions. The Equality Act 2010 replaced previous legislation and consolidated it into one Act. Teaching styles needs and resources need to promote and include all students in respect to the nine protected characteristics. (Gravells, 2012)
* Gender identity
* Religion and belief
* Sexual orientation
* Marriage and civil partnership
* Maternity and pregnancy
Taking everything into account the teaching and learning environment should be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely (SMART). On the whole the experience should be enjoyable, interesting and the goal of learning should take place and the goal is then achieved by both teacher and student.
Biggs.J, 2003. Teaching for Quality Learning at University in Teaching International Students. Open University Press, Volume 2, pp. 120-139. Booth, T. A. B.-H. V. M. &. S., 2000. Index for Inclusion: Developing Learning and Participation in Schools. Bristol: CSIE. Coffield, F. (. 4., 2008. excellencegateway.org.uk. [Online] Available at: http://tlp.excellencegateway.org.uk/ecpd/ecpd_modules/downloads/coffield_if_only.pdf [Accessed 1 November 2012].
Cuthbert, P., 2005. The Student Learning Process: learning styles of learning
approaches?. Teaching in Higher Education, 10(2), pp. 235-249. Gagne, R., 1985. The Conditions of Learning. 4th ed. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston. Glasser, W., 1985. Control Theory in the Classroom. New York: Perrennial Library. Goldstein, G. S. &. B. V. A., 2006. s.l.: s.n.
Gravells, A., 2010. Passing PTLLS Assignments. 2nd ed. Exeter: Learning Matters Ltd. Gravells, A., 2012. Preparing to Teach in the Lifelong Learning Sector. 5th, pages 31-32 ed. London: SAGE publications. Hockings, c., 2009. Reaching the students that student centred learning cannot reach. British Educational Journal, 35(1), p. 83=98. Hockings, c. S. a. B. M., 2007. Academic engagement within a widening participation context – a 3d analysis. Teaching in higher education, 12(5), pp. 721-734. Honey, P. a. M. A., 1992. The Manual of Learning Styles. 3rd ed. Maidenhead: Peter Honey Associates. Hounsell, 2004. s.l.:s.n.
Leach, D., 2007. Students with autism spectrum disorders in inclusive settings. Intervention in school and clinic, Volume 45. Ramsden, p., 2003. Learning to Teach in Higher Education. London: Routledge Falmer. Schpilberg, B. &. H. B., 2003. Face to Face and Computer Mediated Tutoring. A Comparative Exploration on high school students’ Math Achievement, Chicago: American Educational research Association. University, T. O., n.d. The Open University. [Online]
Available at: www.open.ac.uk/inclusiveteaching/pages/inclusiveteaching/index.php [Accessed 1 Novemeber 2012].
Form 10 Reflective Learning Journal
This form should be used to record your reflections as you progress through your qualification. You should link your reflections to reading, principles, theories and professional values as relevant.
Analysis of challenges that I faced in unit/task:This unit covered inclusive learning which identified a huge area to take into account of how a teacher has to plan sessions in regards to all individual needs.Before any lesson has taken place all the things such as environment needs, being prepared and on time for lessons and not knowing how a room will be when you arrive are all critical in providing this environment to make all your students comfortable and feel valued and safe.I think looking at this task opened up how diverse the role of a teacher really is that it’s not just about turning up at a lesson, delivering a subject and that’s the end of the role of the teacher but the whole scenario surrounding the lead up to the actual deliverance of the subject you want to teach.Equality and diversity is massive now to any industry, the reality surrounding it not to segregate those with disabilities where in the past they have been sent to special aided schools and now are being treated in mainstream school is a positive way forward and welcomed.
The ideas of other class members on the different ways we stereotype others that we do not perceive as being the same as us, whether it be by their race, ethnicity, colour of hair, facial aspects, disabilities to name but a few had put barriers up before the Equality Act 2010 to their learning and how they felt they would learn because they wouldn’t be respected or accepted.Thinking from my own perspective, how dental nursing is typically stereotyped as being a woman’s job and that there is not many male dental nurses in the industry and within this how male dentists would prefer not to work with male nurses as they feel it would intimidate female patients yet there is no problem with having 2 women in the surgery this was not perceived as being discriminatory or intimidating.Safeguarding of children and vulnerable adults is huge within my industry and we all have to meet level 2 learning of this as well as being CRB checked, although I have knowledge of this through my own industry it is very important to see it applied in the role as a teacher and how every child should be safe.
How I dealt with this, and why I took this approach:Inclusion is incorporated within my role already, this is undertaken without thinking or realising, my learners come from a diverse section socially as well as other team members, this said it gave me a chance to reflect how although it was already incorporated into my role, I now can look at this with fresh eyes and adapt more especially in light as mentioned as to why there are so few male dental nurses in any of my training roles and across the board as qualified nurses.Stereotyping is a continuous and on-going process and I believe at times that this is undertaken unknowingly, through the taught session I have started to question some of my actions at work and those of others as to how we perceive some of our patients who attend because of areas they live we automatically see them as exempt patients.I have also started to structure and organise my learning sessions better, changing times of learning sessions to incorporate how I feel the learners are best achieving.
More and more practical tasks have been identified and I will be opening up more learning strategies to enhance the learners learning experience, I have sort more external resources to hope give a very diverse approach to their learning.| What went well and why:The restructuring of my learning sessions are going well and the learners are excited with more one to one meeting and progress reports, they feel they are achieving better and welcome the praise that they are receiving from all members of the team. I have actively involved more team members in the training and gave them responsibilities which they feel more respected for.
The sessions at college are going well and the class seems to have bonded more and experiment more with different groups and seem to have a more willingness to interact with others rather than just stay with the same few members they met on the first night we attended the course.| What I need to do to improve and how I plan to do this: * Incorporate more resources- already started to look for more outside sources * Looking at including a field trip to a different type of dental environment to show my learners how diverse each set up is * Keep on top of training session and keep them relevant by continuing my own CPD * Continue with feedback sessions as one to one and also as a group as finding the opinions of other team members are working well and ideas are being brought to life which engages their learning as they feel they are actively contributing to the sessions and enjoying them more.
University/College: University of Arkansas System
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Date: 20 October 2016
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