Review Your Own Role and Responsibilities and Boundaries as a Teacher
The teaching/training cycle is an invaluable model that should inform the practice of any teacher, of any subject. The beauty of it is that it provides a structure so that both teachers and trainers can assess and refresh their practice and, at the same time, review their role, responsibility and boundaries. By following the training cycle, teachers should be able to instill greater understanding of the course that is being taught and to afford students greater enjoyment and satisfaction.
At the beginning of the cycle is the assessment.
The teacher’s role in this case is that of an assessor and a reviewer. Assessing entails finding out the students’ preparedness in terms of t any learning disabilities heir existing knowledge; their literacy and numeracy level; their preferred learning style any also learning disabilities. This initial assessment will be invaluable for the planning of the course and for catering for all participant students. The initial assessment can take up to three weeks however, some colleges / institutions may interview students before the beginning of the course to ascertain their suitability etc.
Irrespective of prior assessment, teachers should do a proper assessment when they meet with their students and continue throughout the teaching cycle. During the assessment process teachers may find a whole host of needs that need to be catered for, or barriers to learning. They could range from physical needs such as disability or dyslexia, to social needs deriving from the inability of interacting with the student community or intellectual stemming from the lack of previous academic experience or from the length of time required to process information, and include cultural needs too, expressed in terms of beliefs and values.
In this first stage teachers needs to be sensitive and respectful of the needs of the students who may not wish to divulge information about themselves, which they consider private. At the same time teachers must ensure that confidentiality is kept. Having assessed the class, teachers’ second role is that of a planning according to needs, researching any unknown and organizing timings, material etc. Teaching should meet both students’ needs and course requirements, particularly if leading to an exam. There may already be a syllabus in which case it needs to be adapted or the teacher may need to write a new one.
In both cases the learning outcome must be clearly defined so that time, resources and delivery / assessment methods are carefully selected. If courses are leading to a qualification then teacher need to be also aware of the requirements of the awarding body and make sure that all outcomes are reached within the time frame provided. Due consideration should also be given to health and safety. In the third element of the cycle teachers may take on board many roles; from lecturer to mentor, from coach to listener, from assessor to presenter, all the while maintaining their professionalism.
This goes from their day to day behaviour to (i. e. ) dressing appropriately and maintaining a distance that allows for trust and respect) to being a good communicator and being prepared for the session. Each lesson should be well planned with a beginning (introduction and objectives), a middle (main body of lecture) and an end (drawing conclusions). Teachers have also the responsibility of keeping records of students and of their own lesson plans and reflections.
The delivery of the material should be varied and take into account the number of learners and their learning styles. With the forth role the teacher becomes an assessor but also a marker and a provider of feedback. Teachers should set the assessment in line with the objectives of the course / lesson and make sure that the level is appropriate for the students. Teachers have a great responsibility to monitor the progress of their students throughout the course and also at the end. The assessment methods should be fair and valid for the session and the course.
Teachers should also make sure that students are aware of the assessment requirements and that they are ready to meet the criteria. The feedback should be constructive and timely, making sure that any criticism is accompanied by praise. All feedback / assessment should be formally recorded. The last phase of the cycle is the evaluation. In this phase teachers continues to be assessors and reviewers but add an element of research dictated by the need to act upon any changes. Teachers need to review continuously the effectiveness of their teaching both in terms of content, delivery and esources. All teachers should complete an evaluation at the end of each session highlighting strength and weaknesses and areas for development for future sessions. They should also ask students to assess the session(s) verbally or otherwise although students’ achievements should give a good indication of how effective the teaching is. All feedback should be incorporated into the following sessions however, changes should be made only if they benefit the majority of students and if they are in line with the awarding body or the institute’s policy.