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Preparing to Teach in the Lifelong Learning Sector Award

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Briefly describe and evaluate ways in which teachers can support learners’ numeracy and IT skills in their context of their language learning.

It’s important that the basic skills needs of learners are identified early and appropriate support provided. Teachers can support learners’numeracy and IT skills in the context of their language learning.

Numeracy skills

Language is essential to the learning of numeracy. It provides a means for learners to express their understanding, negotiate meanings, to develop their thinking further and to share their findings with others. (1) Teachers can embed numeracy in the context of language learning in the resources to use with learners and that learners can use for themselves (2). There are many useful resources offered online for teachers working in the post-16 learning and skills sector in England such as the website excellencegateway.org.uk. Under the numeracy section there is a wide range of example activities and links to materials that cover the Adult Numeracy Core Curriculum.

These are some activities that can be used to develop and improve the learners’ numeracy skills in the context of language learning:

• Recipes - Weighing ingredients in metric using grams and kilograms, litres and millilitres; using proportion and ratio. An inspiring example is offered by the BBC website raw numbers (3)
• Shopping to a tight budget – Adding, subtracting, multiplying, dividing and converting money; use of decimal points e.g. converting pence in pounds; calculate discount using percentages (for example, exercise 4- unit 12-Natural English intermediate student’s book) (4)
• Telling time – 24 and 12 hr clock, timetables
• Health – Measuring weight using kilograms, calculating calories in a meal
• Fractions and percentages in newspapers articles, on the web and information leaflets e.g. NHS, Job Centre, etc.
• Ages – comparatives and subtractions: finding out people’s ages from date of birth, etc.
• Dates – cardinal and ordinal numbers

IT skills

Encouraging learners to develop their IT skills can help them keep in touch with their friends and family, managing workplace communication or to help with further learning. Teachers can use e-technology to:
• keep in touch with learners, set them assignments and give them feedback on their work
• Integrating e-learning and e-assessment activities into the work of learners for example, Cambridge interactive software Connect Arcade where students can test their skills with interactive activities and download self-study audio either as MP3s or formatted for their portable media player (5a).
• Encouraging learners to use e-portfolios and electronic learning plans. (6)

There are many ways to promote IT in the context of language learning. The following are some examples of activities:

• Using a word processor where students can sit around a screen and put together a text adding graphics and design too (6a)
• Students send e-mail messages (real or simulated) to other English speakers around the world (How to teach English) (6b)
• Students can use the Internet to research on a specific topic and select information to put together in a word document or a power point presentation, familiarize with cut and paste functions- this can be an excellent activity for students to do in pair or group work; the teacher could help students to present their research to the class on the EWB (popular research websites: Google, Wikipedia, BBC-learning, etc).
• Using the EWB in the class – a good example of this is on the lesson I’ve observed on a DVD where the teacher asked the students to check the answers on Promethean by dragging vocabularies next to the right pictures.
• Using electronic worksheets – improve mouse co-ordination; ‘drag and drop’ exercises, for example, text ordering exercise -improve your English writing skills on the website parapal-online (6c).
• Students using ESL websites to practice grammar online– to mention some: www.oup.com/elt/global/products/headway, www.longman-elt.com/cuttingedge/students, www.englishlearner.com/tests, www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/learningenglish, www.teflgames.com/interactive.html.
• Encourage students to type their written work and use proofreading and spell checking functions in Word – teacher sends homework sheet via email where students have to correct spelling and/or grammar mistakes.

Preparing to teach in the Lifelong Learning Sector
Teacher role and responsibilities

Role, responsibilities and boundaries are key parts of a teacher’s role as an educator. They start with the most obvious of developing the learners’ education to the less well known and harder tasks of maintaining the learner’s well being and being a role model.

Implications for teachers outside the classroom

The Code of practice governs the way in which people work although without the force of law. The Institute for Learning (IfL) is a professional body with responsibility for teachers and has published a Code of Professional Practice which includes advice about professional integrity, respect for learners and others, reasonable care and ‘continuing professional development’ (IfL, 2008). For large educational establishments these will cover general behaviour and procedures and also, for teaching staff, regulations that apply to the ways in which learners are taught and how teaching courses are delivered. Outside the classroom teachers should act in a manner which recognises diversity as an asset and does not discriminate in respect of race, gender, disability and/or learning difficulty, age, sexual orientation or religion and belief. Moreover, teachers should take reasonable care to ensure the safety and welfare of learners. In my College a teacher has the duty to report and act against:
• any violent or threatening manners by students or members of staff
• the use of illegal drugs or alcohol
• the use of abusive or discriminatory language
• the use of weapons
• misuse of fire alarms/equipment
• abuse or misuse of the College computers/software and IT policies including accessing blocked sites e.g. pornography

Implications for teachers inside the classroom

At the beginning of the class/course the teacher gives the students the learning agreement where they can read the code of conduct. The teacher should inform the students about the College policies about ID cards, security, punctuality and personal property. In case of inappropriate behaviour, the teacher should immediately remind the students of the college policies about misconduct and bring up the issue during individual tutorials where the learner gets warned about the consequences of misbehaving. Throughout the duration of the course the teacher should provide safe and healthy working conditions as well as protecting the students from harm. Also, it’s important that the teacher is aware of students’ serious medical conditions such as epilepsy or mobility issues in order to be prepared in case of an emergency.

All learning environments should be welcoming by promoting a multicultural, inclusive ethos, regardless of the ethnic profile of their staff, learners or the local community. This is imperative for organisations with a public commitment to inclusive learning and widening participation. More welcoming messages and positive visual images are needed. Examples of promoting diversity might include positive and diverse images of learners, multi-faith prayer rooms, and catering facilities with a varied menu for a range of dietary requirements. Where possible the availability of diverse social facilities for learners is vital as a means of developing and spreading good practice.

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