Roles, Responsibilities and Boundaries Essay
ROLES, RESPONSIBILITIES AND BOUNDARIES Every profession has roles, responsibilities and boundaries; governed by copious legislation and directed through company policies/ procedures. These ensure objectives are met and identified persons can be made accountable for their functions. In the teaching/ learning sector however, roles can be blurred and legislation somewhat confusing, suggested by Holtrop (1997) “Obviously teachers wear many hats; friend, counsellor, judge, mentor, hundreds of roles and different roles for different classes, students and extracurricular duties”.
Nonetheless, the protection and safety of individuals and groups is the fundamental principle, and can be broken down into three key areas; indiscriminate/ appropriate behaviour (Equality Act 2010), personal safety and in the work place (Health & Safety Act 1974) and data protection (Data Protection Act 1988). When working with young people, additional safeguarding is required and can be met through such legislation as The Children Act 2004 and The Work and Families Act 2006.
In my role as a tutor in alternative education provision, a large number of my students are referred by Social Services, YOT’s and Police. Therefore our Confidentiality, Health & Safety and Equality & Diversity policies must be read by all staff. CRB checks and risk assessments are also paramount. Such codes of practice can provide different, relevant directions to specific learning environments. To simplify and clarify governing factors, obligations are structured by the teacher/ training cycle. Consisting of 5 stages, the cycle seeks to identify clear roles, responsibilities and boundaries.
Some teachers are involved in more than one stage as described by Holtrop, but under the cycle it is less disconcerting. In my teaching environment at PYP, I am involved in all of the stages and will therefore cover objectives for this assignment under the five headings. IDENTIFY NEEDS This is the stage of assessment, whereby the learner needs are identified and accommodated to promote equality, diversity and inclusion. By reflecting on individual differences the course can be designed to reach all learner needs and styles. This is supported by Wayt (2008) explaining “Assessing varying earning styles within a group and considering learner’s motivation and previous experiences helps identify various teaching methods that could be useful throughout the programme. Sessions incorporating visual, auditory and kinaesthetic learning styles ensures students have equal rights to learning and provide the opportunity to re-evaluate what is already known while exploring aims and objectives from a different perspective”. This particularly relates to PYP as our students have encountered negative learning experiences and can be highly disaffected.
The initial assessment is performed by their referral agency in a pre course questionnaire which also identifies learner abilities and informs of medical history. This is shared before the first meeting with project coordinators. This process is essential as the content of our social education could be determined too graphic or sensitive for younger/ more vulnerable young people. Often it proves a difficult procedure as some students have been naturally conditioned to not disclose much information. Therefore it is important to be able to assess suitability and identify further referral such as SEN, managed by strict confidentiality practices.
This stage can recur throughout the learning experience so is necessary to seek guidance from a range of theories, including Maslows Hierarchy of Needs and ECM guidelines . Stage one is repeated again when the class first meets by establishing boundaries within the group, creating ground rules. This identifies the group needs and passes some responsibility to the student. An agreement that is signed and made visible for all to see, sets the tone of the classroom, and can be referred to/ added to at any stage. PLANNING Having completed stage 1, it is time to design the course based on needs already identified.
It is my belief that all students can learn if given the right instructional approaches. Integral to this a teacher must be aware of their own learning style, to accomodate variations and not become static in practice. Some institutions, particulary mainstream schooling, can be prescriptive at this stage, limited by their syllabus and/ or awarding body. At PYP we have two types of education that is delivered. The 4-6 week respite is asssociated mainly with social education and lesson plans are at the discretion of myself and other facilitators as to the ctivities, excercises and resources used. However with older students we can attach three Asdan qualifications to their learning (PSHE, Expressive Arts and Sports), which has set tasks/ activities to choose from, with individual criteria. These Asdan qualifications can also be delivered on a 1 to 1 basis. The tasks have already been outlined and is the responsibility of the tutor to plan its delivery, considering relevant resource material. I am heavily involved in this stage. It is my responsibility to outline schemes of work/ lesson plans and correlate resources.
Due to the complex nature of our students, balancing and improving concentration levels is central to this process, encorporating VAK learning styles and well timed breaks. All are at high risk of offending, being placed in social care and underachieving in many areas of their lives. We address this by including life talks by individuals with experience in specific areas eg an ex gang member in groups/ gangs sessions, or an ex addict in drugs/ alcohol class. This is a boundary which mainstream teachers do not cross due to heavy risk assesments. PYP combat this by using recovered individuals who are accompanied by a staff member at all times.
Although this stage is about devising the course, it is good practice to not consider it as being ‘set in stone’. Changes may be relevant when delivering and discussions can lead to other issues needing to be addressed. Having a vast range of resources is paramount when coming across such situations. DELIVERING Delivering effective education depends largely on stage 1 and 2 of the teacher/ training cycle. However a teacher must be prepared for every eventuality. Before a lesson is delivered the safety of the learning environment and of all equipment must be carried out complying with The Health & safety Act 1974.
This can be done via risk assessments. According to Maslow, every student needs to feel protected against injury and life threatening causes. Once this has been implemented behaviours and attitudes should be addressed by establishing ground rules. This can be done by following the 5 procedures described in the PTTLS handbook (2012) as create, justify, discuss, negotiate and devise new rules. This helps gel the group and makes them feel at ease with each other/ in their environment. I am the lead facilitator for PYP and find using ice breakers or team building activities also supports this process.
Considering needs identified in stage 1, I can instruct volunteers/ assistants to offer additional support to specific students. This can range from SEN, or those with poor social skills/ low self esteem that may need extra encouragment. It is important that the student has clarity in the structure of the course and I always discuss the timetable on the first day. Whilst delivering it is essential for individual/ group needs, to include all learning styles (VARK), serving to prevent disruptive behaviour and barriers to learning caused by boredom or lack of clarity.
Revell and Norman state “There are no difficult students, just students who don’t want to do it your way”. In my teaching experience mobile phones have proved a constant disruption. Young people do not trust teachers not look through them and so will not hand over. I have managed this successfully by placing a box in the middle of the table where they can be placed at the beginning of a session, in view of the student, without them being accessed until break time. During this stage it may become apparent that a student may need sign posting or referred to outside agencies.
Proceeding a PYP sexual health class, a student disclosed that she may be pregnant. Working closely with Herts Aid, she was referred to one of their workers for a confidential process to establish her health/ emotional needs. Throughout all delivery it is important to maintain a professional veil and not divulge too much information about yourself/ your life. However at PYP we may need to use our personal experiences to communicate social education. We are careful though to exclude naming individuals and establishments. ASSESSING
This stage is similar to stage 1 and can be achieved via a range of tasks by various persons. At PYP we have a mentoring system , undertaken in groups and 1 to 1 sessions. Through this we identify needs, assess achievement and signpost for referral. However we also set small tests/ questionnaires to determine learning achieved. Open discussions or student feedback also indicates where the student is at. In my role I rely on my volunteers/ assistants to provide verbal feedback or written observations relating to myself and the students.
This is essential as whilst delivering some behaviours/ attitudes can be missed. General participation is also assessed to determine the delivering styles being used. When assesing behaviour/ attitude of the students we refer back to the learning contract and where necessary enforce a behaviour contract. This can exist of catching up during offsite visits or not being allowed offsite during breaks. Individual learning plans record progress and achievement throughout the programme by all members of staff and this assists with the final evaluation document. EVALUATION
This stage indicates the effectiveness of the lessons and achievements of students. My responsibility is to provide final assessments for each student, stating achievements and areas for improvement/ referral, supported by accreditations recieved. Additional to this a course evaluation combines observations from all staff members. Through this we are able to reflect on the success of the programme and implement changes for development. To conclude, Professor Rita Dunn states “If the child is not learning the way you are teaching, you must teach the way the child learns”.
REFERENCES Dunn, R. [Online} Available from http://www3. telus. net/linguisticsissues/quotes [Accessed 3rd October 2012] Holtrop (1997) [Online] Available from http:/www. huntington. edu/education/lessonplanningroles. html [Accessed 1st October 2012] North Hertfordshire College (2012), PTTLS Handbook: Teaching and Learning, North Hertfordshire, City and Guilds 6302, pg35-36 Wayt, S. (2008), Holistic Health and Wellbeing, [Online] Available from http://www. balancetherapy. co. uk [Accessed 30th September 2012] (1650)