In this paper I intend to explore the role of the teacher in the lifelong learning sector by looking at various publications by learned authors in this field. I will apply the results of to my own experiences of teaching and investigate if I have been performing to best practice and what I can do to improve.
There are some who believe that lifelong learning has a positive effect on health. Peter Scales (2008) mentions that there is evidence that the actual act of learning can help in warding off the onset of conditions such as Alzheimer’s.
Alternatively, lifelong learning is becoming much more important as the roles and responsibilities of people tend to change much quicker with the advent of technology such as the internet and its changing nature of the workplace. Jobs for life are fast becoming a part of history and as a consequence the need to learn skills and techniques which are up to date and current is vital for the person to be able to stay in employment and the economy as a whole to be able to grow.
Lifelong learning may not be related to a person’s career or work but purely out of the enjoyment to learn and train on subjects which interest them. Language classes are a prime example of this.
In order to maximise the learners enjoyment and learning then according to Maslow there are five levels the learner need to satisfy.
Firstly the physiological aspect must be satisfied. That is, the environment needs to be warm and dry and conducive to being in a comfortable learning environment. There should be access to food, drink and conveniences.
Once the environment has been satisfied then there’s the second level which is the learners safety and security. They need to be feeling secure and have access to someone with any concerns they have.
The learner then needs the Recognition level. This is the level where the learner feels a part of the process and should not be intimidated by either teacher or co-learners.
Once the learner has been satisfied with the first three levels then there is the fourth level which according to Maslow relates to Self-Esteem. The learners needs to feel and believe that they learning something of worth.
Lastly, there is the fifth and final level which is Self Actualisation. At this level the learner will feel that the learning process is in fact worth the time and effort (and of course possibly money) and at this level the overall role and responsibility of the teacher will have been satisfied as the learner will be learning to maximum potential and enjoyment.
In order that the Maslow Hierarchy is achieved for the learner then the teacher needs to apply the teacher/training cycle as described by Ann Gravells (2012) in order to cover all the points and to prepare and carry out sessions efficiently.
The teacher must initially need to look at the needs. Here it is not only the needs of the learner but may also include the need of the establishment, examination board or another external body. Learners may have special needs if they have conditions which require certain teaching techniques or equipment. Teaching styles will start coming into the thoughts of the teacher at this stage especially if the learner’s previous experience is known.
A checklist of learners needs can be covered using the acronym SPICE.
Social issues could be difficulty in interacting with other people. An example may be a mature student in a group of new school leavers which could lead to the mature student being excluded by the younger group.
Physical needs, such as a student diagnosed with Irlen Syndrome where they would require a colour transparent filter in order they can read any paperwork without the symptoms of the syndrome. There are also sensory disabilities such as sight or hearing and motability difficulties.
Intellectual needs could affect how a learner...