“In the context within which you teach explain your role, responsibilities and relationships in lifelong learning”
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 at any point, but you must follow through all the other points for teaching and learning to be effective” 2
These stages are:
Identify Learning Needs
Planning and Preparing learning
Quality Assurance & Evaluation.
Identify Learning Needs
Identifying factors that relate to the students is key to deciding on how best to design a course to reflect not just the organisation’s expectations, but also to reflect individual student differences and learning styles.
This includes identifying factors such as whether students have special needs, preferred learning styles, establishing what are the learners motivations and taking into consideration previous educational experiences
The most common methods of finding out this information can be through initial interviews or an induction process. Most importantly this stage can quickly help the teacher identify any difficulties or additional support that individual students might need and identify any barriers or challenges that the student may have.
It is important as well, particularly when teaching in a number of different environments that the teacher also includes the organisation’s needs and expectations.
Ideally the process should be carried out prior to the commencement of the course but may have to be deferred until meeting the students for the first time. It is a continuing requirement throughout the course as peoples needs and styles can change dependent on the specific material to be taught.
It must always be considered that learners have a right to expect that personal information is kept confidential and not normally discussed with others.
Planning and Preparing Learning
On occasion there may be certain courses that must be delivered in a prescriptive way however most trainers/teachers will be responsible for designing their own courses.
In these situations the role of the teacher will be to plan and design a course which best meets the...
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