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Write a Critical Evaluation of What Means to Be a Teacher/trainer in Your Context Within the Lifelong Learning Sector

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Write a critical evaluation of what means to be a Teacher/Trainer in your context within the Lifelong Learning Sector.

In this assignment I will evaluate what it means to me to be a teacher within the Lifelong Learning Sector in Trade Union education. I will explore what it means to me to be a professional and how I apply my professional values. Why I feel equality is so important in my subject specialism. I will highlight some of the recent changes in further education and how this has had an impact on Lifelong Learning. I am going to evaluate models of reflective practice and how it applies to my teaching. And focus on my professional development needs and how will I achieve them.

Being a teacher within the Lifelong Learning Sector in the Trade Union, for me is about promoting the value of education, assisting members in developing new skills and enhancing existing ones, promoting social inclusion, fulfillment, employability and adaptability. Lifelong Learning can take place at any stage in life. The majority of the learners that I teach are male and between 30 and 62 years and have never engaged in education before or have not studied for a numbers of years. By the learners engaging in Trade Union education this promotes the value of lifelong learning. This type of education can be used as a pathway for more formal education and training; some learners have developed onto further or higher education. The courses I teach are accredited by the London Metropolitan University, and are delivered over a four to five day block, the courses consist of discussion groups, role plays, question and answer session and two written assessments. On successful completion of these courses the learners receive a certificate from the University. For some learners this is the first certificate they have ever received. When the learners are receiving their certificates, they are informed that the credits can be APEL (Accreditation of Prior Experience / or Learning) towards a professional qualification, this tends to give them an incentive to come back to complete part two to four, on completion they will achieved a Certificate in Professional Development.

My own professional values are integral to my teaching; these values are defined from an organisational level, government legislation and the standards as set out within the QTLS (Qualified Teacher Learning and Skills) professional standards. According to Wallace (2007) "The standards draw our attention to two aspect of professionalism: one is about applying a set of values; the other is about conforming to a code of practice. Central to both is the ability to recognise, and take responsibility for supporting, the rights and needs of the learners." This can determine how successfully I teach and how successfully my learners learn.

When I meet the learners, this is on the day the course commences, I will try to make them feel as welcome as possible by giving them all a name card to write what they would prefer to be called for the duration of the course, this makes it easier for me to address them, I also feel it brings a sense of respect amongst the learners. The health and safety of the learners are paramount; once the introductions are over I will make all learners aware of the emergency exits and fire drill. Before the learners arrive I will do my own check of the classroom making sure it is up to the required safety standards.

I generally encourage the learners to contribute in setting the ground rules, as there maybe something culture specific or any other issues that the other learners and I need to be aware of. By encouraging them to have an input in setting the ground rules they may take more responsibility in adhering to them. Each learner is asked to share with the group about any previous knowledge or experience; from this I am able to assess the level of the learners.

Through having my lesson plans I am able to organise my day and keep a record of what type of learning has taken place. The lesson plans will consist of what activities I will do with the learners, time scale, learning outcomes, resources and how I will be using group dynamics. This is a vital part of my professional practice. On a couple of occasions when I had to cover at short notice, I didn't have a lesson plan and I ended up duplicating information that already had been covered by the previous teacher.

I try to be as honest as possible with my learners and not give them information that I am unsure about as this would generally come back to haunt me at a later stage, and I have found that learners seem to enjoy opportune moments to highlight information given that may have been contradictory. The learners come from very diverse backgrounds in terms of; ethnicity, religion, culture, disability, age, sex and race. All course materials have to be in line with government legislation to reflect the diversity of the learners.

There are certain expectations I have of the learners in the way they behave, their attitude towards fellow learners and time keeping. If I expect learners to behave in a certain manner it is my duty to lead by example. I think sometimes teachers forget that they are role models even to adults, and if I want my learners to take me seriously I have to show them that their educational needs are just as important to me as they are to them.

Equality and diversity is important in relation to the context in which I work because; the learner are also members that work for various organisations that union represents and is bound by government legislation. But it is about recognising people as individuals and promoting the value of that individual through education, supporting them in gaining transferable skills and knowledge to be able to represent themselves and others in their respective workplace.

As a teacher in the Lifelong Learning Sector, I can appreciate the changes that have been made to further education. I feel that teachers need to be accountable to the profession not just to the establishment that they are employed within. Theses chances have had a significant impact on the way education is delivered. Clow (2001)

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