My role and the responsibilities I have as a teacher within the lifelong learning sector are quite complex. Not only do I need to ensure the learners gain their qualification (or reach the required standard if there is no formal qualification as in my case), I need to help them achieve this in a way which addresses their own individual learning needs. I also need to consider the interests of the employer, and should I be teaching in a different setting such as that of a college working with young people, I would also need to consider the interests of the learners’ parents along with the learning institution.
There are many reasons that learners may be entering the learning environment since the lifelong learning sector is so broad, encompassing further education , higher education, training for employment, adult learning, the armed forces or prisons and in my case, work-based training. Which means not only are the learners funded from a variety of sources, such as government bodies, parents, their own finances or by their employer, but also that the learners will have a variety of reasons for choosing to learn, not only to gain qualifications, but to gain skills suitable for the working environment, skills for life, or skills that may help them cope as the world advances for example in Information Technology.
Essentially, the lifelong learning sector covers learners from aged 14 and upwards and covers everything that is not compulsory education.
As a teacher, there is more involved than just standing in front of a class, especially considering the need to respect individual learning needs. It is necessary to identify and meet the needs of learners by assessment and then devising differentiated learning outcomes, dependent on the level they have attained. This may involve implementing additional support or creating Individual Learning Plan’s to help the students achieve set goals. Obviously where a group has varying needs, it is necessary to consider this when creating a lesson plan and addressing the individual needs, considering individual learning styles and ensuring various activities are planned which stimulate the students appropriately. There may be a need for additional support, in which case it would be necessary for the teacher to liaise with the relevant professionals to ensure they are aware of the support that is needed.
It is necessary for a teacher to promote appropriate behaviour and respect within the classroom to enhance the learning environment and ensuring everyone is treated fairly and equally. This can be done by negotiating (within reason, obviously health and safety issues are non negotiable) ground rules with the learners early on. They are aware of acceptable behaviour and giving them the responsibility of this task means they take ‘ownership’ of the ground rules. After negotiating them, it is necessary to agree or reject the rules so everyone is clear on what is expected. It is imperative that teachers adhere to these ground rules also so that they are always portraying good role models to the students and also highlighting and quashing disrespectful or inappropriate behaviour will help to manage the problem.
As a teacher you have a duty of care for your learners; ensuring they have a safe learning environment. This would include ensuring any student has access to first aid, but also that they are given help to gain any resources they may need to aid them. This could include access to a room to enable them to carry out self study or being sat in a specific location within the class room to aid a visual impairment. Along with this, obviously the designing and planning programmes of study must be carried out; including planning and preparing a classroom, ensuring you have developed interesting ways to deliver the material which considers all the learners’ needs, and evaluating the effectiveness of the programme, there is also the need to keep records, records of learners...
References: Tummons, J, 2007. Becoming a Professional Tutor in the Lifelong Learning Sector.
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