The roles and responsibilities of a teacher are far more complex than many would realise. You are never simply just someone standing at the front of a classroom delivering information about a particular subject. The role is varied and ranges from therapist, to coach, to teacher to assessor. Through the course of this assignment I will endeavour to explore the different roles and responsibilities that combine to form ‘a teacher’
The ultimate role and responsibility of a teacher is, ‘..that the learners achieve the intended learning outcomes…’1
In short you are responsible for the whole learning cycle. Initial Assessment, Planning and Preparation, Teaching, Assessment and Evaluation.
The role of the teacher is to ensure that training takes place in a safe environment. All learners need to feel free to participate, express opinions and give feedback. This being said there do need to be boundaries and/or rules set for each session.
Group discussion can be great, but it sometimes will need to be contained. If groups are passionate about a subject they may be inclined to run off at a tangent and the thread or purpose of the learning will be lost. Ultimately the teacher has to be in charge of the group and rein the learners in if things get heated.
Discussions may involve examples being used about colleagues or learners may divulge personal information, in these circumstances it is vital that confidentiality ground rules are set and adhered to.
In addition to this, the use of language and humour needs to be monitored. If you are training in your own work environment you may end up training colleagues and people you know. This can encourage familiarity and the teacher/learner relationship line can become blurred.
A teacher needs to be aware of and up to date with any relevant legislation. There are three main pieces of legislation to be aware of: The Equality Act
This covers how we behave in relation to disability, age, race, religion and sexuality. Health and Safety at work 1974 and Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 These are the two main pieces of legislation. We have a duty of care to ensure our learners are educated in a safe environment. Data Protection Act 1998.
If you handle any personal information about individuals, you have a number of legal obligations to protect that information.
We must be careful when using work created by others, not to assume ownership. Authors need to be credited and permission gained before work is replicated.
Legislation from the organisation you are currently working for or legislation from any governing or examining body also needs to be taken into account.
Each workplace will have, or should have, a code of practice. These are guidelines that they expect you to adhere to. These could be things like dress code, language to be used and content required to be taught.
We currently live in a multicultural society, and this demands that we as teachers have to approach the role very carefully.
Everyone no matter what their gender, race, religion or culture should have an equal opportunity to learn. The learning environment needs to be creative, effective and stimulate opportunities for learning that will in turn enable development and progression. The teacher has to remember this in every aspect of their work, from initial planning through to delivery to assessment and evaluation.
Everyone learns in a different way, to quote Reece and Walker, There are unique differences in the way people learn and we must recognise this and not regard individuals as one group or body of students.2
The use of maps, pictures, on-screen computer demonstrations and diagrams are essential when it comes to visual learners. They understand and learn far easier when presented with a visual aid rather than a passage of text.
However audio learners need to listen and to hear the information before it ‘clicks’ Discussion with other group members, memorising text, listening to recordings of lectures will help the audio listener organise their information.
You then have the ‘doers’ or the kinaesthetic learners. This group need to be hands on – perform experiments, test theories out and get hands on to learn effectively.
It is important to remember though that most learners do not fall completely into one category. They may have a leaning towards one but most will benefit from a mixture of all three methods. The chances of you having a group all with the same learning style are very remote so it is best when creating your learning environment to use a mixture of approaches.
Teaching styles are not the only factor to consider when creating your training environment. The layout of the room can have a dramatic effect on how a learner learns. If you are unable to maintain eye contact with your learners, learning may be limited or simply not take place.
The room and facilities are not the only physical factors to take into account. You may have, for example, learners with visual or hearing difficulties. Your teaching style and room layout may need to be changed to be inclusive to all learners.
It is essential that a teacher uses the assessment process. Assessments are a tool and should be used as such, not as an instrument to bash learners with. They are there to check knowledge is understood and to chart the progress of a learner at any point. An assessment will establish that learning has (hopefully!) taken place, and knowledge, skills and attitudes have been impacted on. Assessments will also be used by the teacher themselves to assess their progress, to evaluate how well they are doing, can they improve, as the saying goes, ‘you do not have to be bad at something to do it better!’
Assessments can be carried out at various points in the learning life cycle. Initial assessments are used to assess the starting point of the learner, maybe as a benchmarking tool in order to evaluate progress. It may well be that learners need to be at a certain level before attending the training.
Assessments can be carried out at other stages. For example, Formative Assessments are where the learner is assessed continually throughout the course via exercises, tests and Q&A sessions. Summative assessments are carried out at the end of the course in the form of a test or an exam.
At the end of the course the teacher should be asking for feedback from the group and also reflecting on how well s/he felt the session went. This can be used to build on for the next session. When teaching I always try to get as much feedback as possible from my students, throughout the session and at the end. I need to know from them how the session went, what they thought of the learning materials and what they considered they had learned most from.
Different topics or subjects will benefit from different types of assessment. If you need to find out results quickly, an assessment such as multi-choice questions would be ideal. However if you are looking to see if someone knows, for example, how to drive a bus, a practical hands on testing is essential. It is also worth remembering that different learners respond differently to different types of assessment. Some learners love to take tests whereas for another learner this could be their worst nightmare.
Hand in hand with assessments is record keeping. Records need to be kept on several different reasons. These can be attendance, evaluations, results of exams, evaluations – learner and teacher.
When keeping records it is important to be mindful of the data protection Act 1998. Information recorded should be kept and used for valid reason only. Details should only be shared for valid reasons.
Every employer with have procedures for keeping records. These should always be checked prior to undertaking any training.
We keep records to show that learners have achieved a certain status and to show compliance.
In conclusion as I mentioned at the very start,
The ultimate role and responsibility of a teacher is, ‘..that the learners achieve the intended learning outcomes…’
You as a teacher are responsible for the whole learning cycle. Initial Assessment, Planning and Preparation, Teaching, Assessment and Evaluation. You also need to be aware of legislation, different learning styles, the need for assessment and record keeping and the welfare of the learners in your care.