The environment, or context, within which I am teaching is that of the ‘lifelong learning’ sector. This has been defined by the Department of Education and Science1 as “ ... the lifelong, voluntary and self motivated pursuit of knowledge for either personal or professional reasons”
A key element of the training environment within this sector is recognition of the fact that learning is not confined to childhood, or the classroom, but takes place throughout life and in a range of situations. Within my own particular context, the teaching of Criminology, is considered as being delivered mainly in an institutional based environment. However increasingly teaching Criminology now includes the development of distance, or on line, learning. I have also had experience of delivering training in community based learning events, which is an area showing potential for further development.
Within these environments it is essential that I, the teacher, am able to ensure that students can learn and develop in a meaningful and encouraging way. As there are a variety of teaching methods that can be used, which are dependent on individual students learning styles, the main role of the teacher is to create the right circumstances to ensure that all students can engage in the learning process.
To this end my overall responsibility it is to ensure that I organise an effective ‘learning event’, no matter whether that be in an institutional based environment, on line or indeed in a community based setting. To achieve this, and also ensure that the aims and objectives of the course are meaningful and applicable to the students, the systematic approach of a ‘teaching cycle’ helps to focus and organise the appropriate learning process, or framework.
The Teaching Cycle
The teaching cycle consists of 5 separate stages of which “ ... you can start