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Assignment 1 Ptlls Level 4

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Assignment 1 Ptlls Level 4
UNIT 8 – Roles, responsibilities and relationships in lifelong learning.

Nina Watkins
Assignment 1.

1. Provide a short introduction to roles, responsibilities and relationships in lifelong learning for new entrants to the profession. Your introduction must address all of the assessment criteria for this unit. You must include principles and/or theories that form a basis for teaching.

In order to fulfil the role of a teacher in the lifelong learning sector, it is essential to have an understanding of the roles and responsibilities which are important elements for successful teaching practice.

It may be useful to explore the terminology of role and responsibility. According to online dictionary Encarta (1998-2005) ‘role’ is defined as “usual or expected function, with any characteristic or expected pattern of behaviour that it entails”. ‘Responsibility’ refers to being answerable or accountable for something within one’s power/control. Therefore, as teachers it is our role to be responsible and accountable for providing a safe learning environment in which, learners are given the best opportunity to acquire new skills and for learning to take place.

As a teacher in the lifelong learning sector it is essential that you are fully aware of current legislation and codes of practise before beginning to teach students as it is your responsibility to ensure their physical and emotional safety/welfare throughout the duration of the course. Therefore, you need to be aware of the following legislations and codes of practise:

1. Health and Safety at Work Act (1974) which, defines general duties on employers, employees, contractors, suppliers of goods and substances for use at work, persons in control of work premises and those who manage and maintain them, and persons in general. (Wikipedia 28.04.2013)

It is important that you are aware of your own responsibilities in relation to this act. It is also important that you spend time at the beginning of the course making the students aware of the facilities which are available e.g. toilets, refreshments, lighting, temperature control and furniture. Consideration also needs given to health and safety requirements such as the fire drill – exit and assembly points, first aid, smoking regulations, mobile phones use and what to do if you find a health and safety problem.

2. Children’s Act (2004) amended the Children Act 1989, largely in consequence of the Victoria Climbie` inquiry. The Act’s ultimate purpose is to make the UK better and safer for children of all ages. The idea behind the Act is to promote co-ordination between multiple official entities to improve the overall well-being of children i.e. information sharing and multidisciplinary approach/communication. (Wikipedia 28.04.2013)

It is important to acknowledge that within the lifelong learning sector there are students of 16-19years of age whom come under the Children’s Act. Whilst the students are in the learning environment their welfare is paramount and your responsibility. It is your responsibility to be aware of Child Protection procedures in relation to points of contact and information sharing. 3. Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act (2006). This act was created following the UK Government accepting recommendation 19 of the inquiry headed by Sir Michael Bichard, which was set up in the wake of the Soham Murders. (Wikipedia 28.04.2013)

This act places a statutory duty on all those working with vulnerable groups to register and undergo an advanced vetting process with criminal sanctions for non compliance. Therefore, before being able to be a teacher within the lifelong learning sector you will need to go through this process which, will be completed by the employer/awarding body in employment.

4. Equality Act (2010). The primary purpose of this Act was to bring together the numerous array of Acts and regulations which formed the basis of anti-discriminatory law in Great Britain e.g. Equal Pay Act 1970, Sex Discrimination Act 1975 etc. This act requires equal treatment in access to employment as well as private and public services, regardless of age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage, civil partnership, race, religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation. In the case of disability, employers and service providers are under a duty to make reasonable adjustments to their workplaces to overcome barriers by disabled people. (Wikipedia 28.04.2013)

It is your responsibility as a teacher to ensure that the environment in which the learning is to take place is fully accessible to everyone who wishes to undertake learning; you also have responsibility to ensure that all materials/learning aids used within sessions are not discriminatory to any of the areas listed above. During discussions/debates it is your responsibility to immediately quash and impose boundaries/sanctions in relation to any discriminatory/abusive outbursts during learning and to maintain both a physically and emotionally safe learning environment.

A good way of acknowledging your responsibilities as a teacher in relation to the acts mentioned above is to establish ground rules with the learning group at the beginning of the course. At this point, it is important to be aware of Maslow’s hierarchy of human needs (1954):
Self Actualisation needs

Self -esteem needs

Belonging and love needs

Safety needs

Physiological needs

Maslow identified 5 levels of human needs and his theory suggests that the individuals needs need to be met at each level to enable them to move up the pyramid through each level. The first level relates to physiological needs e.g. hunger, thirst, temperature etc. The second to safety needs e.g. the environment; physical and emotional safety and the third to a sense of belonging and love.
As mentioned above, these needs can be met and addressed through the establishment of ‘ground rules’. Before establishing ground rules it is essential that you have a good understanding of the learners/student abilities and learning needs to be able to choose a suitable method. By creating the ground rules in partnership they are more likely to be adhered to through a sense of ownership. Group discussion, posters, post it notes, debates, spider graphs and confidential emails etc can all be methods when establishing ground rules.
The ground rules will not only help to set boundaries in relation to physical and emotional safety but, if done as a group can help to form group cohesion and help the students to feel that they belong and are part of a caring group. The ground rules will also help clarify what is acceptable/unacceptable behaviour, and should promote respect and inclusion of all students/learners. It is important that each student/learner feels valued and respected and able to participate and share within group activities otherwise, the ability for them to attain their full potential and gain from the course is invariably compromised. There are numerous ways in which you, as a teacher, can promote respect within the learning environment other than the use of ground rules. Firstly respect can be promoted by role modelling, if you treat the learners with respect they are more likely to show their classmates and you respect in return. By challenging inappropriate behaviour and language you are giving a clear message that this is not acceptable behaviour. Make sure that the language you use is respectful and dress in a way which shows that you have respect for the organisation in which you work. Make sure that any resources you use are well presented, respect the teaching environment and ask permission to condense answers when recording group work onto flipchart paper.

As a teacher it is not only the students/learners which you have a responsibility to when considering legislation and codes of practice; you also have a responsibility to the employer/awarding body and therefore, should also be aware to be aware of the following acts:

1. Copyright Designs and Patent Act (1988). In educational use (including examination) copying for educational use is permitted so long as it is performed by the person giving or receiving instruction (sec32) or by the education establishment in the case of a broadcast (sec35). (Wikipedia 28.04.2013)

It is your responsibility to make sure that you do not infringe copyright laws and that any materials/learning aids relating to theories etc are appropriately referenced and cited.

2. Date Protection Act (2003). The Act defines 8 data protection principles and requires companies and individuals to keep personal information to themselves.

It is your responsibility as a teacher not to divulge any personal information that you may hold, or be aware of, about a student, to another person/agency etc. It is your responsibility to ensure that you appropriately store such information where it is inaccessible to the general public. You must be open and honest about how you intend to use data and give individuals privacy notices when collecting their data. Some exceptions can apply and in the role of the teacher it remains your responsibility to alert relevant authorities/agencies if you have concerns about a child’s safety/welfare or if a criminal act has been/is undertaken.
It is also your responsibility to abide by the codes of professional responsibility to make sure that you put the interests of learners/students ahead of your own.

In summary there is a significant amount of legislation that you, as a teacher needs, to be aware of. In most part, it is your responsibility to ensure that you abide by the different legislations and act accordingly within them when teaching students.

As a teacher it is essential that you promote equality and value diversity and recognise that you have a responsibility to do so. It may be helpful at this point to consider ‘what is discrimination?’

Discrimination can take many forms; direct discrimination, indirect discrimination and discrimination arising from a disability. A definition of each of these is provided below:

1. Direct discrimination (according to the Equality Act 2010) “An individual or organisation that provides services to the general public must not treat someone worse just because of one or more protected characteristics”. 2. Indirect discrimination “Must not do something in a way that has a worse impact on someone with protected characteristics than on others”. 3. Discrimination arising from a disability “Must not treat disabled people unfavourably – if they can reasonably know they are so disabled”.

In the above definitions I have used the term ‘protected characteristics’. Protected characteristics defined by the Equality Act 2010 are as follows:

1. Age 2. Disability 3. Gender reassignment 4. Marriage and civil partnership 5. Pregnancy and maternity 6. Race, including ethnic or national origins, colour or nationality 7. Religion or belief, including lack of belief 8. Sex 9. Sexual orientation

Promotion of equality and valuing diversity in the classroom is not just an expectation it is a requirement. Equality in education is not about treating everyone the same; it is about giving everyone equal opportunity to access the learning experience. Diversity is about celebrating peoples differences such as backgrounds, knowledge, skills and experiences by encouraging and using those differences to broaden the learning experience. Inclusive teaching and learning is only possible when equality and diversity policies are positively promoted. Therefore, Inclusion means that the learner’s needs are appropriately met to enable full participation in the learning process.

Petty G (1998:69) states:

“All students must feel that they are positively and equally valued and accepted, and that their efforts to learn are recognised, and judged without bias. It is not enough that they are tolerated. They must feel that they and the groups to which they belong (e.g. gender, social class or attainment groups) are fully and equally accepted and valued by you and the establishment in which you work”.

Susan Wallace states that equality in this context “.....requires us, as teachers, to ensure that we show no favouritism or antipathy towards any learner and that we are entirely non-partisan in our dealings with them. Whether they are keen and motivated or bored and disengaged; or whether they are friendly and sociable or morose and threatening, they are nethertheless equal and should be treated equally.” (2007, p46)

Susan Wallace is reminding us here that it is not only physical disabilities and cultural diversity that we need to be aware of as teachers when considering the promotion of equality; but also the different personalities of individuals. As a teacher it is important to be aware of different personalities and emotional issues which may impact upon an individual’s attitude to learning and the way in which they may present. It is important not to judge and to be mindful of their rights to the same treatment and opportunity to learn. To be able to promote equality and diversity you need to start by identifying the barriers of the students/learners. If there are students which have a physical disability (in a wheelchair/sight impairment) it is important to consider the physical learning environment and make reasonable changes/provision of learning aids to enable access and ensure their safety and inclusion in the group e.g. portable ramps, space around and in between furniture, use of increased font and different coloured paper etc. Reasonable adjustments can therefore include; changing the ways things are done, making changes to overcome barriers created by physical features and providing extra aids and services.

Each student/learner has had different experiences and therefore teaching has to be designed to meet their individual needs. A way of being able to establish what the individual needs of the student/learners are is to undertake initial assessments. Initial assessment methods can include appraisal of written information i.e. application forms, records of achievements, progress files and references, individual interviews, learner questionnaires, observed group activities and formal tests of numeracy and literacy. It is important that you continue to be aware of any identified needs throughout the teaching cycle – not just at the beginning.

To gain an understanding of the learning needs of individuals and the group, you can utilize the Vark/Fleming (2005) model/research. Questionnaires can be used as a tool for identifying preferred methods of learning i.e. Visual, Auditory, Read/write and Kinaesthetic. For visual learning you could make use of: OHP’s, instructions, plays and films. For Aural learning: spoken word, discussion and rhyme. For read/write style of learning: notes, reading and research and for Kinaesthetic: hands on activities, experiments and presentations. Another piece of research which analysed preferred methods of learning is Honey and Mumford (1992). This research was developed from the Kolb learning cycle and identified four methods of learning; Activist, Pragmatist, Theorist and Reflector. The activist likes to be presented with new problems and experiences and have the opportunity to be a leader and take control. The pragmatist likes to apply what he/she has learnt to practical situations and to have the opportunity to ask lots of questions. The theorist likes time to be able to take in the information that is being presented and sometimes to have the information in advance. The reflector likes to be able to think deeply about what they are learning, pays attention to detail and likes the opportunity to exchange different views. It is important to take this into account during the planning and facilitating of learning. It is important to recognise that individuals have preferred methods of learning and you can use a variety of methods to present information. It is also important to recognise that there can be a blend of learning styles.
By using a variety of learning strategies you are ensuring that you promote equal opportunity and inclusive learning. Additional time should be taken to teach new concepts in several ways as this will allow for greater understanding.

During the planning stage of the learning cycle it is important to take into account the information which you have gained from initial assessment methods and make sure that none of the material/information could be used as insulting or disrespectful. It is important to use a variety of learning methods and aids to promote inclusive learning which takes into account the varying needs of the learners. At this stage it would be useful to consider the research conducted by Pike (1989). Pike studied/observed a group over a three day period and concluded that in terms of learning you retain 10% of what you read, 20% of what you hear, 30% of what you see, 50% of what you see and hear, 70% of what you say and 90% of what you say and do. Therefore, when planning and facilitating learning, research suggests that learning is optimal when 70% of the time is spent doing activities and group work, and 30% of the time from lecturing. The overarching professional standards for teachers, tutors and trainers in the lifelong learning sector states; it is the tutors role and responsibility to “work with the learner to address particular individual learning needs and overcome identified barriers to learning”.

During the facilitation stage of the teaching cycle i.e. during the introductory session to the course, you should allocate time to discuss with the students/learners equality and diversity, including policies i.e. complaints procedure. Following on from this you should then, as a group, formulate some ground rules which include equality and diversity issues. As a teacher you need to challenge prejudice, stereotyping and inappropriate language in the classroom during discussions and also ensure that you give learners/students the opportunity to discuss additional support which is available both at the beginning and throughout the course.

During the assessing stage of the learning cycle you need to make sure that the assessment is fair and does not discriminate against any learner. The identification of needs will help ensure this.

During the quality assurance and evaluation stage of the teaching cycle you can promote equality by giving learners the opportunity to fully evaluate the course in an open and anonymous way

When thinking about ways to ensure equality and promote diversity a checklist may be helpful as a point of referral. The Hertfordshire Adult and Family Learning Centre (internet 28.04.2013) have devised one which is a useful tool as it takes into how to promote equality and diversity during all stages of the learning cycle.

1. “When resources are produced, consideration is taken to represent the diverse range of learners who access provision. 2. A variety of teaching methods are used following an assessment of different learning styles. 3. Assessment is fair and does not discriminate against any learner. 4. Language used by the tutor is non-discriminatory and appropriate. 5. Discussion and comments within the learning environment are managed to ensure learner language is appropriate and non-discriminatory. 6. Materials and topics are presented in a way that is sensitive to equality and diversity. 7. Resources are adapted to ensure that the learners can access information and to meet individual needs (large print, on tape, using symbols). 8. Learners have the opportunity to fully evaluate the course in an open and anonymous way”.

In summary, it is the teacher’s responsibility to ensure that every learner is included in all aspects of the learning experience and is not excluded in any way. The teacher needs to create a safe and secure learning environment which is free from harassment or bullying and to immediately challenge any form of discrimination. The teacher should seek to promote equality by actively promoting good relations between diverse groups and from celebrating and learning from differences between students. When planning work/lessons it is important that the teacher makes sure that none of the material/information could be viewed as insulting or disrespectful. It is also important for teachers to attend relevant training for continuing professional development and they should be prepared to review and revise their own practice regularly.

As a teacher it is important to understand the relationships between you and other professionals in the lifelong learning sector and be able to review points of referral to meet the needs of the students/learners. Although inclusion is about supporting learners needs, it is not always possible for teachers to do this themselves. It is important that you are aware of the limits of your responsibility and know when and where to access support both for yourself and your students/learners.

Francis and Gould (2009) tell us that, professionalism requires us to maintain appropriate standards and fulfil our responsibilities to learners, institutions and colleagues. To achieve this you need to set both professional and personal boundaries which will enable you to be clear about what your limits are and what your professional role involves.

Gravells (2010) p8 writes that “the role of the teacher is varied. Aside from teaching he or she may find oneself coaching, counselling, training, assessing, mentoring, encouraging and supporting learners as and when necessary”.

Therefore, the role of a teacher is multi faceted. It not only requires you to be able in terms of teaching and educating but also to be competent in many other areas i.e. approachable, a good listener etc. It is your responsibility to identify areas outside of the professional boundaries either because of lack of necessary skills or expertise or because it is inappropriate for you to deal with it. It is at this point when either internal or external support from other professionals is required. It is important that you spend some time discussing the presenting issue/challenge so that you can correctly identify the appropriate colleague or external agency to make a referral. An example of this may be a student who presents with financial issues. If the financial issues are in direct relation to the course and educational costs it may be appropriate to refer them to the ‘student finance officer’. However, if the financial issues are in relation to the costs of ‘everyday living’ it may be more appropriate to refer them to Citizens Advice Bureau or their local job centre for information on benefits and tools for managing income.

Some examples of internal points of referral are: 1. Accommodation officers 2. Careers advisors 3. Counsellors 4. Financial services staff 5. First Aiders 6. Health and Welfare officers 7. Learning support staff.

Some examples of external points of referral are: 1. Child care agencies 2. Citizens Advice Bureau 3. Job Centre Plus 4. Police 5. Websites which are relevant 6. Telephone help lines and agencies such as abuse, alcohol, drugs, bereavement, gambling, Samaritans, victim support etc.

Some of the professional boundaries that you may face as a teacher could include: lack of resources e.g. broken or faulty equipment, student expectations, lack of support from colleagues, unmotivated or reluctant students, demands from managers, deadlines and time constraints and knowing what sort of advice can or cannot be given. Such boundaries could have a negative impact on not only you as a teacher, but also on other professionals within your organisation. To deal with boundaries you could refer to the Institute for Learning (IFL) Code of Practice (2008). This outlines the behaviours expected of teachers in the Lifelong Learning Sector in relation to; professional integrity, respect, reasonable care, professional practice, criminal offense disclosures, responsibility during institute investigations and responsibility to the institute.

As previously mentioned, it is not only professional boundaries that you need to be aware of but also personal boundaries. You should not find yourself being drawn into over familiarity for instance, offering lifts to your students/learners or lending them money. You should avoid becoming involved with social media relationships e.g. facebook or being over tactile with your students/learners as this will ultimately lead to a breakdown in the professional relationship you have.

In summary, as a teacher, you have many responsibilities to a variety of people and organisations. It is vital that you keep up to date with current legislation and codes of practice. It is expected that you promote equality and value diversity and by doing so endeavour to provide an inclusive learning environment. It is essential to recognise boundaries, both professional and personal within your role and what responsibilities you have in relation to your students and other professionals. Ultimately it is good practise that you continue to self evaluate and attend relevant training for continuing professional development, and be prepared to review and revise your own practice regularly.


Encarta – online (2005-8)

Francis ML and Gould JT (2009) ‘Achieving your PTLLS Award: A Practical Guide to Successful Teaching in the Lifelong Learning Sector’. Sage Publications

Gravells A (2010) ‘Preparing to Teach in the Lifelong Learning Sector’: The New Award. Learning Matters

Honey P and Mumford A (1992) ‘The Manual of Learning Styles’. Peter Honey Publications

Institute of Learning – Code of professional Practice (2008)

Maslow A (1954) ‘Motivation and Personality’. Harper

Petty G (1998) ‘Teaching Today’. Nelson Thornes

Pike R W (1989) ‘Creative Training Techniques Handbook’. Lakewood Books.

Wallace, Susan (2007) Teaching, Tutoring &Training in the Lifelong Learning Sector. Learning Matters

Overarching Standards for Teacher, Tutors and Trainers in the Lifelong Learning Sector.

LSC Hertfordshire Adult and Family Learning Centre. (28.04.2013)

References: Encarta – online (2005-8) Francis ML and Gould JT (2009) ‘Achieving your PTLLS Award: A Practical Guide to Successful Teaching in the Lifelong Learning Sector’ Gravells A (2010) ‘Preparing to Teach in the Lifelong Learning Sector’: The New Award. Learning Matters Honey P and Mumford A (1992) ‘The Manual of Learning Styles’ Institute of Learning – Code of professional Practice (2008) Maslow A (1954) ‘Motivation and Personality’ Petty G (1998) ‘Teaching Today’. Nelson Thornes Pike R W (1989) ‘Creative Training Techniques Handbook’ Wallace, Susan (2007) Teaching, Tutoring &Training in the Lifelong Learning Sector. Learning Matters Overarching Standards for Teacher, Tutors and Trainers in the Lifelong Learning Sector LSC Hertfordshire Adult and Family Learning Centre. (28.04.2013)

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