Rationale & Methodology
My research for unit 2 got under way when I started my preparation for my micro teaching session on functional skills. Choosing functional skills was the obvious choice for the micro teach session as I currently teach key skills and will be delivering functional skills in September 2010. As I have good knowledge of functional skills my main priority would be putting together a well planned and well presented session, I did carry out some research but it was mainly content from the internet. I often get nervous when delivering for the first time to a new group and as the learners were adults this posed another obstacle because of my inexperienced to this type of audience. To make it easier my approach was to start of with an ice breaker and with the aid of good PowerPoint visuals for diverting attention away from me so that I could settle my nerves during the initial stages.
For the other three sections of research I was able to loan out from the library the recommended books by Geoff Petty, Ann Gravells & Reece & Walker. I found the starting point for all research topics was to use Ann Gravells ‘Planning and Enabling Learning in the Lifelong Learning Sector’ because it seems that the book is written primarily for the DTLLS unit 2. Once I made notes from Gravells I was able to look up the other two to see if they backed up the same ideas and if anything additional was to be found. I also tried to reflect what I had read from my own life experiences as a learner and now as a teacher.
After functional skills I chose to research the area of inclusion as I found this more interesting and motivating. Petty (2009) makes some interesting points such as minority groups from ethnic and working class background get unfair treatment in education however you can argue that although Asians are mentioned this is a very broad group and I know from research that British Indians and Chinese outperform all other groups in GCSEs. Another point made was the lack of females in science, maths and technology related subjects which I agree although at university I did identify many female international students. Inclusion can be a controversial subject for example the issue with religious symbols, on one hand we must respect peoples beliefs but then we must also ban certain groups wearing their religious symbols or dress the latter are normally on the grounds of security, safety or effective learning. I have included in my research below a small section on inclusion of travellers. I found this interesting and could relate their beliefs to my own culture.
Negotiating with learners was the next part I researched and I could now see how some of the other topics overlapped with each other. For example a lot of the inclusion theory overlapped with negotiating with learners. Valuing your learner and treating them as individuals were a shared theme in these two topics.
My final research topic was the use of communication and the possible barriers. I was amazed how there are so many other factors that are important apart from the obvious communication from a teacher. Creating an environment that helps learning is crucial and also creating a good first impression can make learners take their studies more seriously.
1) Negotiating with learners
Negotiating with learners is the process of getting to know and meeting the needs of your learners. Gravells (2008) highlights the importance of getting the induction and initial assessment correct so that learners can feel confident that they are on the correct course and also aware of what is expected in regards to basic rules regarding for example health & safety issues, policies and procedures.
The initial assessment process can be made up of many different sources and assessments, the most common being a test but interviews, previous qualifications, preferred learning style questionnaires, role plays and...