Unit One: Equality and Diversity
In today’s ever changing, diverse and multicultural society, it can create many challenges for teachers in the lifelong learning sector, as well as individuals, groups and employers.
As an optional unit for the Certificate in Lifelong Learning Sector, I was required to research aspects of Equality and Diversity through a practical and theory assessment. This was done through individual work. Examination of this topic would allow me to think about the way in which I teach my students, be able to incorporate the ideas and illustrate the process of teaching and learning using these inclusive methods.
Equality allows all students the right to have access to and participate in education regardless of their disability or other circumstances. Gravells (2008) believes that ‘Inequality and discrimination should be tacked to ensure fairness, decency and respect among learners.’
Diversity, as Gravells (2008) suggests is ‘...about valuing and respecting the differences in learners, regardless of ability and/or circumstances, or any other individual characteristics the may have.’ Diversity can add substance to a tutors teaching by them incorporating learners diverse experiences into their sessions. Using students experiences as a teaching resource can encourage students to overcome their stereotypes and enable them to recognise other diverse backgrounds. This can also help promote a positive environment for all students.
Due to working with adults with learning disabilities, it is essential that as a tutor I promote a positive and inclusive learning environment where I ensure students diversity is celebrated. If as a tutor, I am able to recognise the diversity of my students and embrace it, I can lead by example and promote an inclusive environment. This positive example can encourage other students or colleagues to respect individuals differences and that their input and ideas are valued. This can create a positive learning experience for all students and allow for better working relationships and help improve students performance as they feel motivated and included. Implementing equality and diversity within teaching can protect people from harm as as a tutor you can lead by example and ensure students value each others differences rather than discriminate because of those differences. Petty (2004) believes ‘You will have considerable influence on students who respect and admire you.’ All organisations or learning institutions have policies in place to promote equality and diversity as well as reducing or eliminating discrimination.
I work for South Tyneside Council and they are committed to being an equal opportunities authority. Their web site southtyneside.info (2009) states that ‘We are absolutely committed to delivering excellence and our approach to equality and diversity is built on the principle of ‘fair for all, personal to each’ The council strives for an environment where one does not experience discrimination or disadvantage because of their age, gender, race, disability, faith or belief or sexual orientation. To ensure this happens, they have a comprehensive approach to carrying out equality checks, also known as Equality Impact Assessments.
Gravells (2008) believes that ‘Being different can mean being disadvantaged or discriminated against.’ Discrimination can often occur in a learning environment. Dictionary.com (2009) defines discrimination as ‘Treatment or consideration based on class or category rather than individual merit; partiality or prejudice’. Discrimination can take many forms, it can be direct or indirect. Direct discrimination tends to be obvious discrimination where a person is less favourably treated because of their race, sex, marital status, religion, sexual orientation or gender reassignment. Indirect discrimination occurs where the effect of certain...