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.