Teaching INSIDE THE Lifelong Learning Sector Education Essay

Negotiating with learners should commence very in early stages in a students learning experience. It often starts with preliminary (or diagnostic evaluation) that ought to take place with the learner during a pre-course interview where details can be obtained regarding the learners current position and suitability for the course in question. It is a way of assessing a student's ability and needs in a learning environment and could identify the level of student's functional skills. 'Diagnostic analysis is an evaluation of your learner's skills, knowledge, talents and areas for development. ' (Gravells, 2008:75). Initial assessment gives students an opportunity to divulge any concerns they may have or disabilities which could inhibit them for learning. This will allow the teacher to arrange for any class room support that the university student may necessitate. Once on the course an induction should take place where a profile can be created and the learner launched to the course content, to the instructor and other learners.

When dealing with students with learning disabilities it is vital that we assess student's talents and identify their learning needs very in early stages in order for us to intend to provide further support in the class. 'The idea of differentiated instruction is dependant on the need for basic education educators to differentiate training to meet the needs of diverse learners in the overall education class; this includes students with learning disabilities and a number of other disabilities '(Bender, 2008:5). This may also permit the teacher to teach in a fashion that satisfies the students learning styles.

Students also needs to have a person Learning Plan or ILP. This course of action identifies a student's needs and also recognises the goals and aspirations of the learner and it is used by negotiation with the educator. 'The reason for an ILP is to help create a planned 'tailor made' programme of activities for each and every student that meets their specific needs and aspirations. ' (Petty 2004:510). By positively regarding students in the results of these learning it gives the student ownership and a desire to succeed.

Targets set in place must be S. M. A. R. T. (specific, measurable, possible, realistic and well-timed) and they are essential for student's to attain the qualification these are aiming for and provides the university student ongoing goals to work towards. However, as teachers it is paramount we should ensure that the goals and targets set are reasonable. We should also ensure that we continually examine the student's improvement (through formative diagnosis) and be sure they are interacting with specific focuses on. Therefore we can identify if a student needs further support. 'Students with learning disabilities require somewhat more structure in their lessons. . . monitoring student's performance. . . . will permit the pupil. . . to see his or her performance with regards to previous initiatives. ' (Bender, 2002:139).

All students possess the right to be educated and in so doing to be cured equally with value regardless of age, gender, race, belief or ability. This is called Inclusive coaching - recognising, accommodating and meeting the training needs of most students. Learning must be differentiated to work. 'Differentiated training is a versatile approach to coaching in which the teacher strategies and carries out varied approaches to content, process and product in anticipation of and in reaction to student differences in readiness, pursuits and learning needs. ' (Tomlinson, 1995:10). It is important to ensure all students are included in all course activities and discussions by means of recognising their individual needs permitting them to reach their goals and feel a feeling of success. 'Inclusive learning is approximately recognising that all of your learners is different from other learners in lots of ways, and should not be excluded from all of your activities within your sessions for any authentic reason. ' (Gravells 2008:21). Inclusive coaching avoids classifying students into stereotypes.

With this at heart it is vital that, as instructors, we've methods we may use to identify individual learner's potential talents and needs and hence deliver correctly resourced consultations that will try to give all learners the same potential for success. As stated previously it is crucial we identify any learning disabilities in early stages to ensure id of learner needs. Such identification methods could include

application forms

transition reports

initial assessments/diagnosis days

one to 1 discussions

entrance exams

Use of some or many of these methods would allow the teacher to gain understanding of a learner's position and assist in planning an efficient course to them considering any special equipment/resources needed.

The outcome of the assessments may suggest that some aspects of the learners needs cannot be dealt with by the tutor. It's important that we have the ability to recognise and agree to that may indeed be the case. The learners' needs are paramount and you will see inner support available

student services

disability liaison officers

counselling

physical/educational needs

dyslexia/dyscalculia support

In addition there are numerous external support organizations for example Drugs- Line, Shelterline, Childline and NHS Direct.

Staff at Monash University in Victoria, Australia have developed a useful strategy for implementing inclusive teaching which includes the following tips

'recognise that students have a range of different learning styles

use a variety of teaching methods and demonstration styles to support different learning styles

be ready to reassess the materials used and modify the way they may be delivered

negotiate straight with students, whenever possible, regarding their requirements

consult with others such as support staff, disability liaison officials and counsellors who is able to support and guide both students and staff '

Functional skills (historically known as key or basic skills) are core useful skills in British (literacy), Mathematics (numeracy) and Information and Communication Technology (ICT) that teenagers can form and apply in various contexts that will allow these to work confidently, effectively and independently in all respects of life, their areas and work. Individuals having these skills have the ability to improve not only in education but also at work via work related training, problem dealing with and team working. 'This means they can be transferred to different situations/contexts as well to be found in a learner's particular subject area' Ann Gravells (2008:70). As teachers we must use every opportunity to embed efficient skills
'Embedding. . . . means that practical skills are trained within the main subject issue in a smooth way' Linda Wilson (2008:45). To be in any way relevant the coaching of functional skills must encourage learners to apply this knowledge to real life cases e. g. a numeracy request could be home budgeting. That is summed through to the National Curriculum web site
'Learners need opportunities to

apply their skills in plausible contexts or use their skills for real purposes

engage with the world beyond the classroom

integrate learning by linking knowledge within and between your functional areas

spend time planning and expanding their work

makes options and decisions, think creatively and respond independently

experience success in real situations therefore of utilizing their skills effectively'

As teachers we need to employ a collective method of developing useful skills through subject matter, links across themes, common topics and/or themes, timetabled days and nights and/or occasions. This will involve the successful use of energy, staffing, facilities, resources and equipment.

Within my teaching of Business Administration I would seek to embed useful skills in every topics covered.

Examples as to how I'd accomplish that in literacy would be getting learners to

take part in discussions

read and understand a wide range of texts

identify points and how they are presented

write documents to connect information in a suitable format

listen to information

Examples as to how I would accomplish that in numeracy would be getting learners to

understand and calculate proportions

collect data (possibly using ICT)

identify mathematical ways to solve problems

interpreting the solutions to those problems

Examples concerning how I would accomplish that in ICT would be getting learners to

enter and format information in a variety of applications

use of support tools to check on spelling, grammar etc.

use of applications to build dining tables, graphs and displays

access ICT structured information and search and choose various criteria

The business world and hence the topic Business Administration is specially conducive to exposing learners to the need to accept these core skills as in virtually any business scenario a knowledge and ability to use them is essential.

Clear and effective communication is a intricate two-way process involving the shared exchange of information and ideas that can be written, verbal and non-verbal and includes providing and acquiring information that involves hearing, observation and sensitivity and can be between professor and college student or student and pupil. Communication is an essential cornerstone in any learning environment and can be employed directly to the teaching of Business Administration where communication is key.

Often taking many forms we can divide communication into 2 types, verbal and non-verbal. Verbal communication can be classed as of or worried about words and is basically talking either in person where we would be concerned with sound, words, speaking and language. Verbal communication may also be on

the cell phone where we would additionally be concerned about pitch and shade. For the purposes of this definition verbal communication is also in written form i. e. letter, e-mail, text etc.

Non-verbal communication can be classed as communication through sending and obtaining wordless messages, samples are

signing (United kingdom sign dialect)

body language

facial expression

eye contact

touching (Haptics) e. g. handshake

gestures

proximity (space)

dress

posture

In a study conducted in 1967 Albert Mehrabian summed the impact we have on others through verbal and non-verbal communication and his research is represented on the following chart

From the chart we can see that corresponding to Mehrabian only 7% of this content of messages that people receive will be the words actually spoken. The majority of the content is received via body language and tone of voice.

The 7-38-55% guideline is often misquoted as Mehrabian discovered that it only can be applied whenever a communicator is talking about their thoughts or attitudes and in no other circumstances.

Another theorist, David Berlo, published his style of communication in 1960. His model signifies a behavioural approach to understanding communication. Berlo considers context and purpose and notes that people communicate to influence affect with purpose and charges the loudspeaker to be aware of purpose and delivery to successfully get signifying across. He approaches communication as an activity, a dynamic group of events that is continually changing. Shifting, without beginning or end.

The model is divided into elements: a source, a note, a channel, a device and the meaning must be encoded then decoded. A diagrammatic representation is as follows

In addition to students, tutors will talk to a whole host of folks from differing quarters including colleagues, parents, awarding systems, other professional body, OFSTED inspectors etc.

This can be an opportune point to mention essentially the most underestimated communication skill which is listening. It had been Epictetus, the Greek philosopher who said 'character gave us one tongue and two ears so we could hear doubly a much once we speak'. So that it seems sensible that people, as professors, should take on board some guidelines to being a good listener

maintain eyeball contact

listen to the words

allow the loudspeaker to finish

repeat what you thought you heard

watch your system language (bear in mind Mehrabian's 55%)

In the starting paragraph it was stated that communication was a 'two-way' process. This isn't always easy to achieve as various barriers can impede this process. The list of potential barriers is never-ending but amongst others are

background and bias past activities can alter the message

jargon especially subject matter related

noise equipment or environmental

environmental factors e. g. shiny lights

vocabulary most educators will have a more substantial vocabulary

than that of their students

stress stress can alter perception

unapproachable educator students may develop a reluctance to talk

Teachers need to recognize barriers (possibly at the original analysis) and help students get over them although on a continuing basis barriers can crop up anytime and as such we'd need to adjust our material to match students individual barrier problems considering their learning styles.

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