My role as a teacher involves numerous responsibilities which include: planning and preparing sessions; making the sessions fun and inspirational; maintaining a positive learning environment; being supportive; acting as a role model; enabling learners to feel safe; being inclusive; being friendly and approachable; facilitating communication; providing constructive criticism; giving learners the tools to find answers for themselves; applying a variety of learning styles to teaching; empowering learners to feel they can achieve their potential; assessing learning and good understanding; applying relevant information and knowledge; liaising with moderators and organisations; providing detailed feedback and opportunity for learners to discuss their learning; and administration. A major part of my role is setting and maintaining boundaries. This is discussed below through a focus on the teacher/training cycle based on the learning cycle as developed by Kolb (1984). It is important for me to be clear about my role as a teacher as part of my duty of care to my learners.
As part of the course I am teaching I would follow the five inter-connected stages of the teacher cycle: identify needs; plan and design; deliver; assess; and evaluate. Next, I will address how I will work through each stage in helping to define my role and responsibilities as a teacher. Whilst working through these stages of the teaching cycle, it would be important for me to develop and maintain my boundaries as a teacher throughout the cycle.
My actions in the first stage of identifying needs would be to begin “...with the needs of the learner and the learning outcomes they need to achieve...” (Laurillard, 2010, p.5). I would seek to gain an understanding of my learners’ capabilities by obtaining their application forms or records and looking at their qualifications, educational and professional experience and special needs requirements. In addition, I would administer a learning styles questionnaire as an integral part of the course and discuss with the learners their preferences and needs in relation to the course. Another method I would use in the first session would be to assign a piece of work in order that I be able to ascertain their approach, strengths and understanding early in the course, which will help me better meet learners’ needs. If appropriate, I may also administer a literacy and numeracy assessment and use the results to gain an insight to the learners’ competencies and needs. In the first stage of the cycle in which learners’ needs would be identified, I would need to ensure that I do not influence the learners in any way so as to bias the outcomes. By setting an activity, I would then step back and allow them to be honest in identifying their needs.
The second stage of planning and designing would involve me considering the length of the course and of each lesson; the syllabus and assessments; the resources available during class (for example a teaching room with computers for each student and a screen at the front of the class) and that students can access away from the class (for example the internet); the outcomes from the first stage (identifying needs); the requirements of the awarding body for the course; a lesson plan for each session; and I would practise the delivery. It would be worthwhile for me to spend some time especially on considering the results of the preferred learning styles questionnaires, and as much as possible integrating a range of teaching methods to suit the four distinct learning preferences as defined by Honey and Mumford (2000), as Activist, Theorist, Pragmatist and Reflector. In this planning and designing stage of the cycle, I would maintain my boundaries by allocating tasks and responsibilities to my learners and myself appropriately, taking into account their needs identified within the first stage.