Sunday, September 15, 2019

Wider Professional Reading

Wider Professional Practice [Part 4] I believe that education should be available for all. I feel particularly strongly that those from disadvantaged backgrounds should have the opportunity to experience learning and thus have the chance to make their own life choices. To work with a learner who realises his / her own worth is, to me, a greater experience than handing them a Maths or English certificate, although this is very rewarding, as well. So, perhaps, the first value that I would put forward would be to support the individual to ‘self’ develop – personally and educationally, giving opportunity for self-awareness and actualisation.This necessitates time, flexibility, encouragement and the ability to motivate [not always easy]; it also needs trust and mutual respect [often a failing cited by learners about teaching staff], which develop as the relationship progresses. Following on from this it is important that all have equal opportunity to succeed. Inclusion and establishing individual needs is important, as is being a good role model and exerting professional behaviour, thus, embedding standards which will support the personal growth of the learner.For some this positive role model will have been ‘by-passed’, but it is also as mentor, coach and counsellor where support should be available, if required. These values can help improve quality of life, develop potential and offer purpose to learners but will also, hopefully, make them productive citizens. Personal development in the student is paralleled in the educator – autonomy an important vision for learner and tutor alike To learn, ourselves, from experiences, reflection, evaluation and self-investigation is the basis for continuing professional development and enhances us as professionals, leading to a better teacher.It is a teacher’s responsibility to keep up to date with educational change and subject specialism, as well as technology advances and basic skills [English and Maths]. This can be attained through training, keeping up to date with news / current affairs and action research on points of interest. Although this is an individual’s responsibility, some institutions collaborate to improve systems – at my organization we have resources weeks, where we work together to improve and increase materials, and at tutor meetings issues are discussed and development undertaken [e. g. tandardization of portfolios]. So, good practice will be reliant on others, be it peer or formal observation, appraisal, sharing of resources, informal feedback or support from colleagues, and offers experiences to improve our skills and abilities. As a more seasoned practitioner it is also important to support others, be they new to teaching or purely in need of assistance, ideas or guidance, encouraging them and offering advice if needed – in a more formal setting as guide or mentor. This disseminates knowledge and if communicated effectively creates further good practice.Communication is another key. Clarity, empathy, listening skills and confidence all play their part in being a successful teacher. This skill is important when teaching learners but is also necessary when liaising with other staff and team members. To build rapport, a main feature of the communication process, enables better learning and will lead to collaboration, itself a highly sought after value within education. As mentioned in my company there is a close relationship between tutors and each will look to team members for support [be it resources, paperwork issues or problems with learners].Standard expectations, and therefore values, would be the ‘nuts and bolts’ of the job responsibility, and would include: planning and preparing for lessons, incorporating areas previously discussed [individual needs, challenges, different styles, methods and tools etc. ]; and learner feedback and assessment – important for learners to be able to chart their progress. It is important to give learners stretching targets, or there is risk of demotivation, but too difficult may likewise be off-putting – being able to judge the right level is a skill that comes with experience.The values of a teacher should mirror the IfL’s code of practice [2008], a document that lays out expected codes of conduct and professionalism. The basic principles are: integrity, respect, care, practice, disclosure and responsibility, and are in place for the benefit of ‘learners, employers, the profession and the wider community. ’ Although perhaps somewhat bombastic in approach and full of self-importance the core elements of the IfL’s mandate are what we, as ‘influencers of the future’, should be striving for – instilling morally sound values and judgements into our learners.

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