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Roles, Responsibilities and Relationships in Lifelong Learning Critical Essay
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The Equality Act 2010 protects against discrimination and “bans unfair treatment of people because of protected characteristics they have. ” (Home Office, 2012) The nine protected characteristics include: age, sex, disability, sexual orientation, gender re-assignment, marriage & civil partnership, pregnancy & maternity, race and religion or belief. Part 6 Chapter 2 of the act specifically defines legislation in further or higher education. The Equality Act sets out the different ways in which it is unlawful to treat someone, such as direct and indirect discrimination, harassment, victimisation and failing to make a reasonable adjustment for a disabled person. ” Disability can be both physically and mentally. “Approximately 2% of the global population… have intellectual disabilities, making it one of the largest disability populations in the world. ” (wear the laces REF) They are amongst the most vulnerable people in the world as they are “less likely to become employed, more likely to be victims of abuse and more likely to have poorer health & have trouble finding care. (ibib) In a learning environment, a teacher can ensure students with difficulties are provided with the correct support. A deaf student may require a carer who can use sign language to communicate between teacher and student. They could be positioned at the front of class so they can see visual presentations clearly or to focus and lip-read on the teacher. It is important to maintain a safe working environment in the classroom. Health and safety is the responsibility of both the teacher and the organisation.
The Health and Safety at work act 1974 “is the primary piece of legislation covering occupational health and safety in the United Kingdom. ” (hse. gov. uk) In most schools and colleges in the UK, all electrical equipment is subject to an annual Portable Appliance Test (PAT) which ensures the appliance is safe to use. Teachers may advice students of correct posture when sitting at a computer for long periods and to take a 15 minute break every 2 hours. In art or scientific subjects, the teacher and students might need protective clothing and some students may be allergic to specific substances.
Risk assessments must be completed by the teacher. There are limits to what a teacher can do in their position, known as professional boundaries, and it’s important not to cross these limits. A teacher, who may also be a qualified first aider, may feel it’s appropriate to administer first aid to an injured student. However if the teacher is not the designated first aider at the institution they would not be responsible. An exception to this would be if the student requires urgent medical attention, the teacher should use reasonable care until the designated first aider is present.
Similarly a teacher may wish to offer counselling advice to a student. A teacher may not be qualified to provide this and counselling is not part of a teacher’s remit. The teacher should then refer the student to the designated councillor - the internal point of referral - or provide a contact number for an advice help line, known as an external point of referral. Boundaries are about knowing where a teacher’s role stops to ensure an equal learning experience to all learners. It is important to establish a safe and supportive learning environment.
A teacher can achieve this by being a positive role model to their students and to be enthusiastic about their teaching. This should reflect in the student’s attitude and work. A casual approach to lessons will cause students to not pay attention, become disruptive and not turn up to lessons. Gravells suggests that “learners like routine and will expect you to be organised and professional. ” (Gravells, 2008 p. 7) Setting ground rules will help learners know their limits and promote appropriate behaviour. Ground rules may include arriving on time, switching off mobile phones and not eating or drinking in class.
Drinks in an IT room may spill over electrical equipment posing a health and safety risk. Ground rules give the learner added responsibility. “Often, if a rule is broken, it is the other learners that reprimand the offender. ” (ibib p. 8) Ice-breakers are light-hearted exercises at the beginning of a course to introduce learners to each other, reduce anxiety and helps learners to relax into the course. Team exercises can be used throughout the course to energise learners, maintain focus, motivation and encourage teamwork
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