Planning and Enabling Learning

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Introduction
For this essay I will research the following areas: negotiating with learners, functional skills, inclusive learning and communication. I will look at how and why each of these areas are important to teaching and how I can gain a better understanding of them in order to enable my learners to learn.

Rationale

Negotiating with learners
When considering the area negotiating with learner’s research identifies that a focus on initial assessment of learners and agreeing goals is important. It is necessary to know why we negotiate with learners, how we do it and the barriers involved. Lesley Thom (2001) explored the reasons why learners need to feel involved in order to progress their learning. I intend to analyse the role of initial assessment and planning and negotiating learning goals. Within my own area ground rules are established so learners know what is expected of them. When learners do not follow these rules negotiation must take place. ‘Rules and models destroy genius and art’ (Hazlitt, cited in Wallace, 2007, p.42). Hazlitt suggested that enthusiasm, creativity and initiative will not easily flourish in a situation where too many externally imposed rules allow only one pre-specified way of doing things’ My learners have emotional and behavioural difficulties and always need to be given other options. They need to feel they have some power of the outcome of the situation. This then enables them to become motivated. Initial assessment within my area is important as we have learners at a range of levels come to us at different ages, often with little schooling. Initial assessment allows us to pitch work at the right level. If we were to get this wrong it could have serious repercussions to that learner, they may feel unmotivated, insecure and they will not want to engage in the learning environment. Inclusive Learning

The Open University defines inclusive learning as: recognising, accommodating and meeting the learning needs of all your students (open-university online). I interpret this to mean that each learner is individual and as individuals each learner has individual needs. It is up to the teacher to accommodate these needs. Inclusive learning means that individual learners are not merely grouped together but taught with their individual needs in mind. ‘Learners need to be actively included and fully engaged’ (Tomlinson 1996). I will look at the stages of the learning cycle and how this applies to inclusive learning. I will also look at session planning – (Bloom 1956), mastery of subjects and the promotion of higher forms of thinking rather than on an approach which simply transfers facts. I will look at teaching methods (VARK) and resources for those with learning disabilities as I feel I can relate this to my own area. Many learners I teach have an entitlement statement which shows individual needs. This is something which is closely used along side how we differentiate. This is one thing that will depend on how I session plan, the teaching methods I will use and what resources I will use during the session.

Functional Skills
Functional skills are qualifications in English, Maths and ICT. Edexcel defines functional skills as ‘qualifications designed to help build practical skills for work, education and everyday life’ – (edexcel). This is very important for learners because it has been observed by the government that when it comes to employment employees have not obtained the right level of literacy, numeracy and ICT. By embedding functional skills it allows learners to have a good level of competence in each of the core subjects. Learners will then feel like they have achieved. This achievement can then continue into employment because they will be ready for the workplace. This will also benefit individual business and the economy. Within my area functional skills are used for learners who are at a lower level. By embedding functional skills we are applying everyday skills to learning....
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