The role, responsibilities and boundaries of a teacher are underpinned by the teaching training cycle which presents a structured process that facilitates effective teaching (Wilson, 2008). The cycle is made up of various processes and it is useful to explore these enabling a review of the functions of a teacher.
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To examine the first part of the cycle, identifying the training/learning needs of the individual, one of these would be to ensure a skills match is carried out in the form of an initial assessment during the application process. Petty (2009 p.534) explains this as a four-part process: plan ??“ decide what knowledge would help you to ensure your learners??™ are taught effectively; assess ??“ by using BKSB tests which rate the learner against the National Qualifications framework, for example level 2 numeracy; inform ??“ passing the information that you have found to the individual; address ??“ ensure the information is evaluated.
Information will have also been gained from interview/application about any extra support/special needs of the learner, for example dyslexia, or the need to use specialised equipment and the teacher should be aware of additional support services in their area and how to access them. In addition, the environment where the training will be delivered should be familiar ??“ ???You need to understand the type of environment you will be teaching in for example college, private company, institution, adult and community, work and practice-based environments??? (SmartScreen, the City & Guilds of London Institute, 2002).
The teacher should also be aware of preferred learning styles. Fleming & Baume (2006) outline the four learning styles; ???VARK is an acronym for Visual, Aural, Read/write and Kinesthetic??? they explain. These can be measured with a questionnaire to distinguish a learner??™s ???preferred??™ style of learning ??“ a teacher being aware of this will therefore be able to direct the correct and most effective method at the individual. ???VARK above all is designed to be a starting place for a conversation among teachers and learners about learning??? (Fleming & Baume, 2006). However, Herrmann??™s ???whole-brain??™ model suggests that an individual has a preference for two of the four styles but they can use them all, therefore concluding that teachers should be able to teach all four styles (Petty, 2009 p149).
Lastly, it is important to mention Individual Learning Plans which are ???personal targets to aid the monitoring and development of learning, used to track progress and support study??? (Wilson, 2008 p.30). Being aware of these needs will aid the delivery of the training and ensure their responsibilities are met.
In the next part of the cycle, planning and designing, there are a number of requirements which need to be met. By establishing the learning styles defined in the first part of the cycle these can now be implemented in planning for the training. Secondly, teaching methods should be assessed in accordance with the needs of learners.
As summarised by Petty (2009 p.142) there are different methods which can be used; whole-class interactive teaching, feedback using questionnaires/assessments and graphic organisers ??“ learners creating mind-maps and flow-diagrams.
Lesson plans are another essential element to outline the objectives that need to be achieved and to structure the lesson. Objectives should be planned in line with the awarding body and based around the course syllabus and additional resources or support should be considered. Awareness of health and safety is also fundamental as the environment should be safe for learners, for example by considering desk space.
In delivering the training, teachers should use the correct language for their learners and thus deliver course material at the appropriate level, pre-determined in the first two phases of the cycle. From this, there should also be an awareness to maintain inclusivity of all learners, for example by considering the range of individual learning needs and delivering equal opportunities ??“ by considering the diverse range of learners. ???In making your teaching inclusive you reassess the material you use in your teaching and the way in which it is delivered??? (The Open University, 2006).
Learners should also be motivated. Maslow??™s Motivation Theory (Wilson, 2008 p.187) describes how ???basic needs must be met before a learner can enter a state of mind in which to learn???. Teachers should therefore be aware that learners??™ motivational needs should be met by realising their ???motivator??™; intrinsic or extrinsic, i.e. internally motivated to succeed or meeting external needs to do so.
The final stage of the cycle looks at assessing and evaluating the learning and teaching outcomes. The following should be sought; results and feedback which can be from self-assessment for example. Kolb??™s Learning Cycle (1984) is described by Petty (2004) as placing heavy emphasis on self assessment. The model describes how people learn from their experiences using trial and error. Thus would suggest that teachers can evaluate their training and respond to that.
The cycle gives teachers a structured model to follow and reflect upon, in order to fulfil their responsibilities effectively and systematically.