This report will analyse the roles and responsibilities of a teacher in relation to the teaching cycle including the relationships and boundaries between the teaching role and other professional roles. We will also look at the use of initial and diagnostic assessments in setting individual learning needs.
Role and responsibilities of the teacher (1.1)
The main role of a teacher is to motivate and inspire learners to develop their ability to learn effectively.
Blatchford (2013) identifies that regarding “professional conduct, a teacher is expected to show high standards, uphold public trust, act within the statutory frameworks, and have a proper and professional regard for ethos, policies and practices within the establishment in which they teach”. (1.1)
The teaching cycle identified by Ann Gravells (2012) is as follows: –
“Every learner deserves to have professional teachers and trainers, who have the confidence, up-to-date knowledge, understanding and personalised approach to ensure the best outcomes for their learners”. (Fazaeli, in ILF,2010, p 4). It is also important for the teacher to ensure that their continuous professional development is up to date.
1 – Identification of needs
The identification of a learner’s needs is the initial stage of the teaching cycle. A learner’s needs should be discussed in the preliminary assessment of the learner before the commencement of the course. This information may be obtained through interviews, application forms, literacy and numeracy assessments and use of individual learning plans.
2 – Plan and Design
The next stage of the learning cycle is plan and design. The plan and design of lessons will be based on the identified needs of the learners to ensure the teaching method is appropriate for all. Classes of the right size and length are important to ensure all learners benefit.
Neil Fleming Vark’s model suggests that people learn through either their visual senses, auditory senses, reading or kinaesthetic senses. By including all four types of learning within the lesson plan this will promote inclusion for all the learners. This may include visual presentations, verbal lectures and activities, which allow for a hand on approach.
3 – Delivery
Once the teacher is aware of the varying needs and learning styles within the class, the delivery can be adapted to suit the learners. The delivery of the lesson can be tailored to encourage and motivate each student. For example, it can be notes, a short video, use of the whiteboard, or an activity sheet could be used.
4 – Assessments
The next stage of the teaching cycle refers to assessing the learners throughout the course to ensure there is effectiveness in the teaching. Assessments could be formal or informal, ongoing and at the end of the course. They could take the form of questions in class, quizzes, tests.
5 – Evaluation
By evaluating the efficiency and success of the teaching, the teacher can continually make improvements to the quality of the teaching. Evaluation can take place through both the teacher’ s own opinion of the course as well as the learners’ feedback. For instance, a questionnaire can be handed out to the students with either a happy face or a sad face.
The use of initial and diagnostic assessment is needed to show an individual’s capability and learning goals. It is crucial to discover a learner’s needs due to the varying learning styles possessed by individuals. The types of learners will be diverse, all with differing needs and individual learning goals. Through this initial process the provision of the correct support and the delivery of the lessons can be adjusted accordingly. Lynn Machin el al states that initial assessment “aims to identify learner motivations, aspirations and skills to guide the learner onto an appropriate course” (Machin et al, 2016, p 65)
Ann Gravells (2012) explains how teachers are “responsible for advancing equality and diversity in the learning environment” (p.10). This initial assessment is also important in relation to the Equality Act which protects people from discrimination. The assessment allows for the identification of those with learning difficulties and disabilities. It is important to be aware of learners’ needs as necessary adjustments to assessments and support within the classroom can be made. (2.2)
Whilst identifying the needs of the learners it is also significant to understand the limitations of the role of a teacher. A learner may need financial aid and needs to be referred to the bursary department within the organisation. Similarly, after identifying a learner with educational needs such as dyslexia, dyscalculia and ESOL, the teacher can use the learning support department which will aid the learner in their education.
It is therefore important that teachers acknowledge the limits of their role and utilise other professionals who are better suited to deal with certain situations. Teachers can work with the police, specialist services and social services rather than deal with situations solely by themselves. Sharing and exchanging information about the learners with other professional bodies are thus important to maximise the learning goals of the students. (1.3,1.4)
Finally, the teacher needs to be aware of legislation, requirements and codes of practice relating to his role and responsibility. In view of the GDPR, all records must be kept within confidentiality agreements to comply with organisational policies and procedures. The Equality Act (2010) protects people from discrimination and helps make the class inclusive in terms of disability, age, gender and sex orientation. The Health and Safety Act (1974) keeps learners safe. Another key legislation is safeguarding which refers to protecting children from abuse and maltreatment and ensuring children grow up with the provision of safe and effective care. For instances, “East Surrey College is committed to ensuring the fair treatment of all its staff, established and sessional, support and care workers, volunteers, agency workers, contractors, students of all levels, all age groups and cohorts and the fair treatment of prospective and past students of the College in matters relating to their studies at the College”.
Another example, in accountancy, the teacher has to adhere to the requirements of the Chartered Institute of Accountants. Ethical compliance is key to maintaining public confidence in the accountancy profession. All AAT members are bound by AAT’s Code of Professional ethics. (1.2)
The teaching cycle states that learners’ needs must be identified, a programme of study planned to meet the needs of learners, delivery methods adapted to meet the individual needs of the learners and assessments to be used. This cycle is important to ensure that inclusivity, cultural differences and different learning needs are taken into account so as to enable efficient learning. This will promote equality and value diversity. “The primary responsibility of an organisation, teachers and other staff is to ensure that learners are supported within a safe (physical and behavioural) environment” (Machin et al, 2016, p 68) Finally, it is also important to promote appropriate behaviour and respect for others in the classroom.
It is important to identify and meet the individual needs of learners. Initial assessment of learners needs is important. Enrolment forms, application forms, pre-course questionnaires and informal or formal meetings are often used. The learners educational and cultural backgrounds, existing knowledge and expectations can help plan a program of study. These pre course meetings will allow the teacher to assess whether there is a literary or language needs. In these instances, the teacher will consider using the necessary resources, varied teaching methods and materials to engage and motivate the learners.
Identification of the needs of learners will allow teachers to develop talents so that learners can discover their particular skills and grow them, boost learners’ morale and encourage them. If a student feels supported by their tutor, they develop rather than lose interest in learning.
Walkin states that “the fundamental teaching role is one of facilitating learning by providing expertise, managing, resources and encouraging learners to help themselves to attain their goals” (Walkin, 1990, p245). (2.3)
Once the needs of the individual learners are identified, the teacher will recognise that learners have a range of individual learning needs. Teachers can then plan and design lesson plans and tailor a relevant study of programme and deliver it in the relevant time- frame.
With regard to learners’ styles, VARK identifies five learning styles, visual, auditory, read/write and kinaesthetic to meet the needs of all learners. In Geoff Petty 2002, Teaching Today he quotes “We need to use more right brain, that is holistic, non-verbal strategies. Not just for learners with right-brain or visual preferences, but also because all students have a right brain and all students’ process new learning on both sides of the brain at the same time.”
Organising the classroom will also help learners maximise their learning experience. A student with visual difficulties can sit closer to the blackboard, or near a window where the light is better.
This will enable inclusive teaching and enable all to learn. Effective inclusion will result in positive attitudes, create interest, and inspire learners.
Effective planning not only refers to the use of different materials, accessibility of equipment and supplies, but also extra learning support and seating arrangements. (3.3)
Ways in which teaching and learning plans can be adapted to meet individual needs of learners.
For instances, students with English not as their first language, students who are on the autism spectrum or who have learning disabilities, dyslexia, ADHD, anxiety disorders, or emotional disabilities may need individual learning support and sometimes extra one to one lessons. Students who are dyslexic may benefit from using coloured paper or an overlay to facilitate reading. The Read and Write software is also useful as it has a reading tool with quality voices and students have access to a dictionary.
Differentiation in teaching activities, resources used and assessments are all important to satisfy the needs of different learners. In most cases, people are multi -modal, that, is they fall into two or three learning styles and therefore it is necessary to use a variety of learning styles to ensure everyone benefits. (3.4)
The correct behaviour and respect of others in the classroom is important so that learners feel valued, reduce barriers to learning and thereby increase students’ participation.” Having a positive attitude in front of others, including all learners in activities, and encouraging a professional working relationship amongst everyone will help promote an understanding and tolerant climate during your sessions. If your learners see your positive and proactive attitude, it will help them adopt the same, therefore changing the culture”. (Gravells, Simpson,2009) page 13
According to Gravells and Simpson, inclusion of everyone in education will lead to inclusion in society and will result in a more positive attitude towards the learning process. (4.1)
The teaching cycle, that is, identification of needs, planning lessons, initial and ongoing assessment and evaluation will create an inclusive learning environment whereby the learner will feel included regardless of their differences in values and cultures. Equality refers to compliance with the law. It relates to gender, race, disability, age, religion and sexual orientation. Diversity supports equality by valuing talents, rights of everyone.
“At East Surrey College we believe that Further Education should be available for all and strive to ensure that everyone in the community is able to progress either at the College or with our partnership organisations”
Kyle and Rogien (2004, p116) suggest that creating a supportive learning environment can be defined as the VIABLE acronym, meaning “Value, Included, Accepted, Belonging, Listened, Encouraged”.
It is therefore important for the teacher to be aware of differences in people and address the different learning needs and provide equal opportunity to all and everyone. (4.2)
Initial assessments such as interviews, questionnaires and reviews of learners’ previous achievements are important to evaluate the levels of the students. Regular, continuous assessments, homework and test set by the teacher are also a means to assess the success of the course and the quality of the student learning. (2.1) Assessments thus ensure that learning has taken place.
Before the course starts, initial assessment identifies whether the course is suitable, and enable the learners to identify if the course will meet their needs. Initial assessment can either be by telephone, interview, application form, pre course test and verification of existing qualifications.
Diagnostic assessment takes place at the beginning of the course and looks at the learning needs, styles of the learners. The teacher can then plan and adapt the lessons to the individual needs of the students and ensure that inclusive learning is happening.
During the course, formative assessment is commonly used by teachers as it gives the teacher a good picture of the learning progress of the student. The teacher will then be able to understand whether learning is taking place, give constructive feedback, review and modify the lesson plans, and address any gaps in learning. Formative assessment can be formal, informal, assignments, peer assessments, and presentations.
At the end of the course, summative assessment tests the learning at the end of the course. The learner can review his progress and progress to the next stage of his education.
Another factor to consider to meet learners’ needs is to understand what motivates them. In Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, basic needs such as food, warmth have to be met before safety needs, belonging and social needs, self-esteem needs and finally self-actualisation needs. The teacher can apply this motivation theory to achieve
an effective teaching environment.
The roles and responsibilities for teachers are important because they will promote accountability among teachers. Both the teacher and the learner will benefit as delivery of the lessons will be inclusive and tailored to the individual needs of the learners. It is also important for teachers to take notice of the boundaries and adhere to the code of conduct and key legislations. Teachers must adapt to any situation while trying to motivate and interest the students. And to conclude, Wilson describes the teaching cycle process as one that “follows the strategy of moving from the known to the unknown” (Wilsons 2008, p.15)
Fazaeli, in ILF,2010, p 4
Blachford, R. (2013) The 2012 Teachers’ standards in the classroom. London
Machin et al, 2016, p 65, A complete Guide to the Level 5 Diploma in Education & Training
Ann Gravells, Susan Simpson, p 10 Equality and Diversity in the Lifelong Learning Sector
Machin et al, 2016, p68, A complete Guide to the Level 5 Diploma in Education & Training
L Walkin, 1990, p 245 Teaching and Learning in Further Education
Geoff Petty 2002, Teaching Today
Ann Gravells, Susan Simpson, 2009,p 13,Equality and Diversity in the Lifelong Learning Sector
Kyle, P and Rogien, L (2004) Classroom Management:Supportive Strategies . Bethesda: National Association of School Psychologists
Linda Wilson, 2008, The Teaching Cycle, in Practical Teaching. A guide to PTTLL
In my area of specialism, I teach to a range of different young and older adults, but my teaching and learning approaches remain the same in order to meet individual learner needs. Not all students are the same and a teacher will be teaching to a group of individuals with different experiences, abilities and needs which should be recognised and respected.
The VARK model, identifies four primary types of learners: visual, auditory, reading/writing, and kinaesthetic.
This means that all learners work differently and have different approaches to how they process information, referred to as “preferred learning modes.”
However, people are often multimodal, which means that a learner has multiple learning styles and will use a combination of either visual, read/write, auditory or kinaesthetic.
For example, in accountancy, when learning how to prepare a trial balance or a profit and loss statement, some students understand the process by following verbal instructions, while others have to read the notes or actually working out some activity sheets. It is important for teachers to understand the differences in their students’ learning styles, so that they can implement best practice strategies and methods into their daily work, planning and assessments. (5.1)
According to the Concise Oxford Dictionary communication means ‘the act of imparting” or ‘the science and practice of transmitting information’. In order to share knowledge and information with the learners, I have to communicate effectively. However, it is possible that the learner can’t see the whiteboard properly, and the room can be noisy. In these cases, I have to consider the different needs of the student, and plan the lessons so that the room is quiet and that individual needs are met, in the above example, having the student seating closer to the front and having the right lighting. The learner may also not understand what I’m is saying, so it is important for me to speak slowly and clearly and using words which the student should be able to understand.
Another way to a more effective communication method is getting feedback from the learners, which relates to two-way communication.
Communication is not only verbal, but can be non – verbal, that is, body language such as ways of talking, facial expression, posture, hand movements. Students can feel that the teacher is not confident or enthusiastic just by looking at my body language. It is therefore important for me to move around in the classroom, make eye contact with the students and check regularly if the learners have understood the concepts taught.
Media such as short film and television clips, written articles and blogs can be used for most subjects to enhance learning. Songs and music videos, especially when the lyrics are made available, can also be used to brainstorm ideas.
The benefits of using media are as follows: maintain student interest in the theories and subjects they are learning, enable students to understand new concepts and experience worlds beyond their own local environment.
On the other hand, using too much media can become a distraction and can fail copyright law.
In my class, I will start with definitions and explanations of concepts on the whiteboard, work out an example together, check that the students understand the lessons, and give some more worksheets for them to consolidate the notions learnt. (5.2)
It is important to select an appropriate learning approach to allow the learners to be actively engaged in the session and make the most out of their learning experiences. Resources and assessment methods have to be adapted to aid inclusivity and diversity.