Evaluative Introduction to Roles, Responsibilities, and Relationships in Lifelong Learning for New Teachers

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“Provide a short evaluative introduction to roles, responsibilities and relationships in lifelong learning for new entrants to the profession”

As a new entrant to the teaching profession, one of the first things you will learn will be your roles, responsibilities and relationships within that profession. Teachers are expected to perform many different roles and responsibilities and abide by general rules of etiquette and legislation with regard to tutor/learner relationships. It is important that the new entrant to the profession understands all these, and more roles, and doesn’t just see a teacher’s role, solely ‘to teach’. As Petty states, “A common error is to see the teacher’s role as mainly to present information to students. To send information is one thing, but to get students to understand this information by making their own meaning of it is quite another” (Petty, 2009: 20) To help you facilitate effective learning, you will learn about The Teaching and Learning Cycle. This is a cyclic table of events comprising the following elements; identifying needs, planning learning, enabling learning, assessing learning and quality assurance and evaluation. Each of these elements demand different roles and responsibilities of the teacher. Each part of the cycle is essential, and it is a continuous loop that can start at any point. Identifying needs is not just about identifying your learners’ needs, but also yours, and your organisation’s. It would include, for instance an initial assessment of your learners. This is essential as without assessing, you won’t know of any issues that may inhibit the learning process, and will not understand what their outcome desires are or what learning styles they prefer.

Although most people will have at least one preferred method of learning, it is important to vary teaching styles. Petty cites research that “shows that a student’s understanding and recall are improved if all styles are encountered”. (Petty, 2009:141)

The teacher can and should use various methods for the initial assessment, including written tests, interviews, or perhaps a piece of written work or physical demonstration of ability. It is important that the teacher uses initial assessment methods that are suited to the lesson subject as well as the expected abilities of the learners and is inclusive so as not to discriminate in order to ensure that all learners have been fairly and effectively assessed. When identifying needs, you have a number of other responsibilities, such as referring learners to other people or organisations. For instance, a student may have financial issues that prevent them from effectively undertaking a course; it would be your responsibility to signpost funding bodies that may be able to help. These are known as points of referral. As a teacher, you have a responsibilty to the reputation of other professionals, including other teachers. You should evaluate this by making yourself aware of the IfL code of practice and checking that you are abiding by all the requirements. Also, consider joining the Institute for Learning. This is the official body for teachers and will help you in your continued professional development (CPD). Depending on the framework for the learning, you may also have a responsibility to your employer or an awarding body, and their reputations. You also have a responsibility to be aware of what your boundaries are as a teacher. According to Gravells, “Boundaries are about knowing where your role as a teacher stops and working within the limits of that role” (Gavells, 2011 :11) This definition would include, for instance, keeping a professional relationship with your learners, however, there are also other limitations, for instance, classroom space, availability of equipment such as computers and other technical equipment. One initial activity that all teachers should undertake is the setting of ground rules. Bahr and Pendergast state that “Research suggests that...
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