Throughout this essay I will be relating teaching theory and my learning, to my potential teaching practice, which will be in a Further Education setting, where I may be teaching people Disability Awareness (DA), and preparing people with disabilities back to work.
In order to ‘Manage the Learning Process’, a teacher must know what that process involves. For example: how does a learner learn, what influences the learner’s motivation and his/her ability to learn, and a teacher needs to reflect on how his/her approach is facilitating each learner’s progression.
I believe that building a positive relationship with each learner, is the foundation on which behaviour management strategies can be adopted. Without mutual respect neither, the teacher or learner are open to effective communication or negotiation.
Any new situation and meeting new people can evoke anxiety or insecurity. Teaching people over 16 years old can involve different types of emotional issues, which can affect behaviour. For example, older people may have had prior negative learning experiences in childhood, which can affect their expectations of the teacher or the learning process. Some may display disinterest and even disruptive behaviour and it would be my job to find out why this is happening. Learners may be struggling in some areas but may not feel able to ask for help for fear of being judged or ridiculed by their peers or teacher. He/she may need help with some skills in order to access the course, and would require further support.
In my practice I would start building a relationship with each learner in an informal pre-course interview, where not only are a learner’s aims and needs assessed, but where, ‘unconditional positive regard’ can be demonstrated towards the learner by active listening. Role-modelling this sort of behaviour facilitates a learner’s exposure to positive, relational behaviour and facilitates his/her ability to trust. Demonstrating these behaviours is particularly important for people with disabilities, who may feel more vulnerable and anxious about joining the workforce and relating to others. An approachable teacher is a necessary part of the learning process and facilitates a better environment in which disruptive or unacceptable behaviour from learners can be managed.
An holistic approach to teaching encompasses all aspects of how humans interact and learn, and is a philosophy I would adhere to in my teaching practice. An internet article on the Oxford Brookes University website on Theories of Learning quotes Burns: Burns (1995, p99) 'conceives of learning as a relatively permanent change in behaviour with behaviour including both observable activity and internal processes such as thinking, attitudes and emotions.'
A teacher also needs to facilitate mutual respect between learners. One way to do this is to have some ground rules or parameters of acceptable behaviour. I would not ‘impose’ any on learners, other than those organisational rules which I have a duty as the teacher to inform learners of, e.g. no eating in the room. The list need not be too long, as having too many could be counter-productive. I believe it is more relevant and effective for the learners themselves, to discuss and suggest any rules. There could be a tendency for me to assume that FE students are more motivated and interested when they are in front of me. Older people can be disruptive or display unacceptable behaviours as with younger people but for different reasons. How would I respond to a learner who for instance was ‘told’ to attend a DA course by an employer and who had obvious signs of disinterest? The DA course would involve a fair amount of experiential, active and cognitive learning. This I believe helps motivate reluctant learners, where getting involved can be more stimulating than sitting and listening to the tutor for long periods. I...