Teaching within further education is an incredibly demanding, yet rewarding profession. When you actually consider that the future generations coming through colleges today in further education are at stake. This responsibility can weigh heavily on the shoulders of a teacher, as it is not just about future generations, but also the community as a whole. Therefore, it requires skill and training to be deemed professionally competent to enter into this career.
Firstly looking at roles, in times past the conventional way of teaching would be for the learners to sit in rows, respectfully awaiting the arrival of the teacher to begin lengthy lectures on a chosen subject. This stereo-typical way of teaching has changed. Reece and walker, (2003) Teaching, Training and Learning (5th Edition) P.6 links our teaching to the environment it is given in. “Your role as a teacher is to provide a positive learning environment, without a positive learning environment, your students will not reach their full potential. They will find their learning boring, will not devote the required time to it and, even during periods of learning, will find their minds wandering”
Therefore being creative and looking for every opportunity to teach in a positive environment is crucial. To do this the teacher must be well prepared. Not just in the class room but making sure there subject knowledge is up to date and current.
Your role as a teacher must take into account certain legislation, codes of practice and regulatory requirements. For example being knowledgeable of the Equality Act (2006) is important in the teaching role due to the variety of differing student’s needs. It is the responsibility of the tutor to take a holistic approach to incorporate culture, sex, gender, disabilities and sexual orientation. For example you may need to consider access for disabled students with mobility issues. You also may need to think of certain challenges you may face with a female student in a largely male environment within construction courses
The Health and Safety At Work Act (1974) places a general duty on all employers this would include the college as a training provider. As an example teaching electrical students to cut galvanized conduit involves using cutting compounds. This requires knowledge off COSHH (2002) regulations, not only will this enable the student to have a healthy working life but also prevent the college from being liable.
The second area is that of your responsibility. You must deliver a course, which is appropriate for the learners. This would take into account the learners individual needs. It’s imperative to promote equality and respect the diversity of those we meet, so as to prevent prejudices, discrimination or stereotyping. The activities, learning styles and techniques you use must appeal to a varied cohort. For example with in the electrical industry you may teach students about environmental issues regarding the sourcing of materials and how this can effect different communities.
This is a large responsibility as each learner is different and has differing needs. Teachers must differentiate their activities and lessons to ensure all are learning appropriately. According to Gravels (2008) some of the tutors’ responsibilities may include:
• Completing attendance records
• Maintaining records of learner progress
• Having a duty of care for your learners
• Inducting learners to the organisation and course
• Carrying out one to one tutorials and reviews with learners
• Following professional values and ethics
• Acting and speaking appropriately
• Attending meetings
• Preparing delivery material and marking work
• Attending promotional events and exhibitions
There is a responsibility towards maintaining a safe and supportive working environment and identifying the needs of the students. The needs can be identified using the learning cycle by Kolb (1984)…