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Role Responsibilities and Boundaries as a Teacher

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PTLLS Assessment Describe what your role, responsibilities and boundaries would be as a teacher or trainer in terms of the teaching and learning cycle. How might “equality”, “diversity” and “inclusion” impact on a learner’s experience? Give examples from your own experience and research to support your assertions. “This submission is entirely my own work unless I have used quotation marks to indicate my reference to the work of others”

As a teacher or trainer, there are a variety of roles and responsibilities that are important to consider.

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The main role of a teacher is to create a relaxed, comfortable learning environment for students to meet their learning needs. In many cases, the teacher’s role also involves delivery of specific content as defined by a curriculum, in order to prepare students for passing examination. As such one of the main responsibilities of the teacher is to be aware of any curriculum and examination requirements of a course.

Another role of the teacher is to ensure that the lesson is inclusive of all learners and they are therefore responsible for recognising diversity within the group. This may include disabilities; language barriers and cultural differences. These roles and responsibilities would fall under the ‘identification of learners needs’ aspect of the teaching and learning cycle. This is a continual process and would necessarily be affected by other aspects of the cycle, particularly assessment and evaluation of the learning and teaching.

This evaluation will constantly inform the teacher and will include such varied mediums as end of course evaluation sheets as well as simple observation of candidates demonstrating their knowledge and/or skills. It may be appropriate for candidates to meet certain assessment criteria or competencies throughout a course as part of this evaluation process. In my experience of teaching manual handling, I would expect leaners to be able to demonstrate specific manual handling, lifting, pushing and pulling skills during the course.

Evaluation of previous courses and of the evolving requirements of students also helps to inform the planning and designing of lessons. In addition, the teacher is responsible for researching the subject area to ensure a wide, current knowledge base that will help when establishing credibility and professionalism, and then to develop a variety of interesting ways to deliver the content whilst ensuring a safe working environment for students.

The teacher’s role is then to deliver the lesson content in a manner consistent with the learning styles and requirements of the delegates. These might include lecturing, large group discussion or case studies. In the past I have taught legislative considerations in regard to health and safety aspects of manual handling and use of display screen equipment and have used role play; small group work and case studies to try to accommodate different learning styles. Within all this, it is essential that the teacher establishes and maintains professional boundaries.

These can be varied and quite different, depending on the context, the environment and the group or individual being taught, for example, a teacher teaching young children would have a different set of boundaries than a football coach coaching an adult football team. However, the teacher should always consider relevant legislation. This includes health and safety legislation such as the Health and Safety at Work Act, 1974; the Equality Act, 2010 and most relevant to the above example, child protection guidelines.

On a more general level, establishing ground rules such as timekeeping and use of mobile phones is important in minimising disruption and allowing optimal delivery of course content. Promoting equality, embracing diversity and ensuring inclusion are essential components of an effective teaching strategy, if the goal of that strategy is to provide a positive, rewarding learning experience for all learners. “Equality is about the rights of learners to attend and participate, regardless of their gender, race, ethnic origin, religion, disability, sexual orientation and age”1.

If a teacher fails to actively promote equality, they run the risk of excluding individuals from the learning process. For example a failure to acknowledge that English may not be the first language of some or all of the delegates and to adapt the teaching session accordingly would be detrimental. Once, when teaching a manual handling training session to porters and housekeepers working in a hospital, the majority of the candidates spoke Portuguese as their first language. I acknowledged this prior to starting the course and altered the course structure to enhance the learning process.

One of the strategies I used was to include more small group work, ensuring a mix of people with difficulty understanding English, and those who were bilingual. “Diversity is about valuing the differences in people, whether that relates to gender, race, age, disability or any other individual characteristics they may have” 1. Just like promotion of equality, the importance of embracing diversity lies in recognising differences within any given group and using this to enhance, rather than detract from the learning experience.

Diversity within a group will allow a variety of different perspectives on any given topic, thereby promoting wider understanding in the group as a whole. Johnson and Romanello2 examined teaching and learning considerations when teaching generationally diverse nurses. They opined that when presenting health problems to nurses from different generations it “leads student to share insights that can be applied to patient care with multiple groups of patients across generations”. 2 “Inclusivity is about involving all learners in relevant activities rather than excluding them for any reason” 1.

In many ways, failure to acknowledge diversity and/or promote equality will inevitably lead to exclusion. In order to effectively ensure inclusion, planning of the teaching process, utilising a variety of teaching methods is essential. Moreover, the ability to adapt course content and delivery methods following recognition of diversity within a group is paramount to ensuring equality and inclusion. Even something as basic as starting and finishing a lesson on time will help with inclusion as a failure to do this might exclude learners who have commitments outside of the lesson times such as childcare.

With regards to the learning cycle, the assessing and planning stages: assessing the requirements of the group and planning the format of the lessons accordingly are essential to ensuring inclusion. References 1 GRAVELLS, A, Preparing to Teach in the Lifelong Learning Sector, Bell and Bain Ltd, Glasgow, 2008, p. 18. 2 JOHNSON, S and ROMANELLO, A. Generational Diversity. Teaching and Learning Approaches, Nurse Educator, 30(5): Sept-Oct. 2005: 212-216.

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