Professionals can be viewed as a group of individuals with specialised knowledge and skills that are recognised and valued by others. A professional person is one who possesses quantifiable knowledge mapped to recognised qualifications or experience that gains market sector recognition. The recipient benefits from advantages not available to other less qualified members of that market sector or society as a whole. Possessing a social standing which in agreement with society, earns respect and is regulated and governed by the ethical standards relating to that specific profession and supported by the Institute for Learning. These standards should include ethical elements such as integrity, accountability, duty and honour. In addition to specific sector knowledge, professionals should also demonstrate psychological and humanistic qualities such as caring, empathy, humility and compassion, social responsibility and sensitivity to other people’s cultures and beliefs. The professional standards for teachers, tutors and trainers with the Lifelong Learning Sector supported by the LLUK (2009) help identify the skills, knowledge and attributes required of those who work within teaching and training environments. These standards provide benchmarks for the variety of roles performed by teachers, trainers, tutors and lecturers and when looked at together will identify the main requirements leading to Qualified Teacher Learning and Skills (QTLS) status. These development opportunities run in parallel with a Continuing Professional Development (CPD) programmes for teachers and trainers where a minimum number of hours are recorded per year. These activities were supported through Centres of Excellence in Teacher Training from April 2007.
CPD and keeping skills levels up-to-date in accordance with the LLUK is seen as a lifelong commitment within FE, the IfL enables the progression of CPD to be mapped and shared across the FE sector, empowering a growth in development that meets the changing needs of Teaching and Learning as supported by Avis, (1999), Shain and Gleeson, (1999) and Sachs, (2001).
Looking at the WBL Sector which is driven by vocational programmes of learning, we can see through the studies of Bathmaker and Avis (2005), that it is often the case for many FE academics that due to their vocational expertise, many did not necessarily consider teaching as a profession; and that their entry into teaching was almost by accident. This can have a considerable impact on their professional identities which will have evolved as their teaching responsibilities increased. The ideals of FE professional remain bound to their area of professional expertise, as supported by Robson, (1998) and Spencerley, (2006). Therefore, regardless of the level taught, FE lecturers are often balancing two set of professional values.
‘Diversity is the mosaic of people who bring a variety of backgrounds, styles, perspectives, values and beliefs as assets to the individuals, groups and organisations with which they interact.’ New College Nottingham (2008).
This strategic objective addresses all aspects of inclusive teaching and learning. The priorities are divided into short, medium and long term goals which are supported by strategic planning and development programmes across all areas of the college. A Diversity Champions Programme has been established, with all curriculum areas encouraged to build diversity into their teaching and learning. In support of professional values, Initial Assessments and Induction processes have been adapted to reflect an awareness of diversity and facilitating evaluation processes that establish an equal learning opportunity. These are driven by statutory regulation, implemented through strategic policies and procedures and managed by systems and practices within the service that promote inclusion accessibility and equality of learning opportunity. (see PDJ
The work of Lord Leitch (2006) complements the Foster...
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