Roles, responsibilities and relationships in lifelong learning
As a teacher I have roles, responsibilities and boundaries affecting my learners, which I aim to explore using the various pieces of legislation, regulations and codes of practice, then analyse my own experience and reflective ideas.
According to Gravells (2011) my main role is to teach my subject “in a way that actively involves and engages (my) learners during every session…motivating them…(managing) the learning process…assess their progress, give relevant feedback and keep appropriate records”. In addition, the author describes boundaries as “the constraints you might be under as a teacher (and) the negative aspects to your roles and responsibilities”. In simplistic terms the adage of “changing the things I cannot accept, and accepting those things I cannot change” is apt.
The Duty of Care is paramount in any place of work or study and is a legal obligation. This encompasses all other laws, regulations and codes of conduct and offers a safe environment to learners, teachers and employees. The initial use of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 provides a set of ground rules that establishes a legal responsibility for the safety of myself and my learners, coupled with the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 and local risk assessments. It is a combination of these which I would implement as good “housekeeping” at the beginning of a teaching session. Looking at Maslow, this addresses the need to provide for the safety and security needs of the learner.
In any environment where children or vulnerable adults are present there are a number of guidelines which must be implemented and adhered to. These include the Protection of Children Act 1999, and the Children Act 2004. These are designed to keep children from harm through a number of methods including the integration of child services across numerous local government agencies, and the use of systems to prevent access to those who are unsuitable to work with children e.g. Criminal Record Bureau checks. These are encompassed within “Every Child Matters”, which includes the promotion of childrens welfare to a greater extent than the above legislation covers. The aims of “making a positive contribution” and “achieving economic well-being” were designed to equip students with transferable skills, directly affecting the role of a teacher. Paramount to this principle is the need to maintain a professional relationship at all times. I would have to be consistent and fair to all learners to prevent any potential allegations of bullying. This also ties in with the concept of inclusivity, equality and diversity.
In conjunction with this, the Data Protection Act 1998 protects the rights of individuals and how their data is shared. Any information collected must be stored securely for a specific purpose, and should only be kept for as long as necessary.
The Copyrights, Designs and Patents Act 1999 lays down guidelines for the use of printed materials within a learning environment. Copyright is a current topic of discussion. The increased use of the internet means that most materials are freely available for viewing and downloading. However, I would have to adhere to the above act if I wished to print and distribute any materials to my learners.
The next step is ensuring that every learner can be included, regardless of personal circumstances, disability, or educational needs. The Disability Discrimination Act 1995 covers those who are impaired in completing day to day activities, and makes a requirement to make reasonable practicable adjustments to a place of work or study. Coupled with SENDA 2001 and the Equality Act 2010, these regulations are designed to prevent any disadvantage to disabled learners, and ensure there is no discrimination to anyone. I would promote equality regardless of gender, marital status, sexual orientation, disability, race,...
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