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Teacher: Role, Responsibilities and Boundaries

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Review your role, responsibilities and boundaries as a teacher in terms of the teaching/training cycle. The teaching and learning cycle (Gravells, 2011:7) should be a primary tool of any teacher. It is not, however, the only tool needed if we are to fulfill our roles and responsibilities in the field of learning. Nor can we create or maintain effective boundaries or surmount external challenges to teaching without a full understanding of the purpose of, and how to use the teaching cycle.

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“Identifying Learning” needs using questionnaires, discussion or other methods, is essential to “Planning Learning”.

Preparing session plans to cover syllabus requirements is essential to “Enabling Learning”. This is an example of the first three stages of the cycle in practice, thereby illustrating how one step of the teaching cycle leads to the next. However, without the consideration and utilization of the theories of Maslow (1987), Kolb (1984), Fleming (2005) and Honey and Mumford (1992), the results acquired at the assessment and evaluation stages of the cycle and the impact of those results will not be indicative of the ability of the learners or the effectiveness of the teaching cycle.

Our roles as teachers are made up of many facets including mentor, facilitator, coach, assessor, motivator, leader and administrator. Our responsibilities are just as numerous including being professional, establishing boundaries, creating a safe, positive, inclusive environment for learners and fulfilling legal and moral obligations dictated by legislation and/or a Code of Practice. Some responsibilities can be deduced from, or connected to, our roles. For example: preparing resources (=role) can be linked to creating a safe and inclusive learning environment (=responsibility).

This role and responsibility is supported by Maslow’s definition of “deficiency needs” (Allan, 1989:94). If we also create professional boundaries for ourselves and our learners this further satisfies their deficiency needs in the learning environment so they may progress to their “growth needs” (Allan, 1989:94). Boundaries can be external in the form of budget, time or resource constraints or formulated by the teacher and learners in terms of Maslow’s (1987) Hierarchy of needs. For example; being biased or unfair in our teaching and assessing directly impacts on the learner’s need for recognition.

Gravells (2011:6) states that our “main role as a teacher is to teach our subject in a way that actively involves and engages our learners during every session” which encompasses all of the training cycle as it ensures a teacher actively participates at every stage. This can also be achieved by using differential teaching that actively involves every learner. In order to effectively enable and assess individual learning we should incorporate the learning style theories stated above, thereby continuing the teaching cycle and fulfilling our roles and responsibilities in these stages.

Each of us has a preferred learning style” (Dryden and Vos, 1994:95). It is possible that not correctly identifying individual learning styles could create extensive boundaries to teaching in the form of barriers to learning. For example, if differentiation were not utilized, a safe, inclusive learning environment could not be maintained, Maslow’s hierarchy would disintegrate and the teaching cycle may become academic. Kolb (1984) in particular, with his theory of experiential learning demonstrates our need to provide a safe, secure learning environment in order for the learner to learn effectively.

This can be achieved if our roles and responsibilities are defined and implemented using all stages within the teaching cycle. If this is done efficiently it clears the way for the learner to be “motivated for learning from an interaction with [a good] experience” (Rogers and Horrocks, 2010:105) The importance of establishing clear, professional boundaries at the outset of any teaching session is paramount. Maintaining a professional distance from learners allows us to be fair and ethical.

Establishing credibility will earn learners respect and encourage them to get the most from their subject and learning experience. This can be done primarily by being knowledgeable about our subject and initiating an appropriate method of establishing learning styles to encourage participation and engage and involve our learners as quickly as possible. In conclusion, it is clear to see that the teaching cycle is essential in the aim of structuring our roles, responsibilities and boundaries but it is not a stand alone tool.

Without also having good knowledge and practice of the theories stated herein we cannot fulfill our various roles as teachers. We cannot fulfill our responsibilities to our learners and we cannot set appropriate boundaries to help create a safe, secure and inclusive learning environment.


Gravells, A. (2011). Preparing to Teach in the Lifelong Learning Sector 4th Ed. Learning Matters. Rogers, A. & Horrocks, N. (2010). Teaching Adults 4th Ed. Open University Press. Allan, J. 1989) How to Solve Your People Problems. Kogan Page Limited. Dryden, G. & Vos, J. Dr. (1994) The Learning Revolution. Accelerated Learning Systems. Charvet, S. R. , (1997) Words That Change Minds, Mastering The Language of Influence. 2nd Ed. Kendall/Hunt Publishing Company. Hayden, P. (2005) Learners Pocketbook 2nd Ed. Management Pocketbooks Ltd. ten Have, S, ten Have, W. & Stevens, F. (2003) Key Management Models. Pearson Education Ltd. Whitmore, J. (2002) Coaching for Performance 3rd Ed. Nicholas Brealey Publishing.

Cite this Teacher: Role, Responsibilities and Boundaries

Teacher: Role, Responsibilities and Boundaries. (2017, Feb 20). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/teacher-role-responsibilities-and-boundaries/

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