Essay: Explain the teaching role and responsibilities in education and training.

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  • Explain the teaching role and responsibilities in education and training.
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The main role, or aim, for a teacher or trainer, is to help your learners as much as possible in order for them to have the best platform to achieve their learning objective. However, within the role of teacher or trainer, the individual may also have to undertake many other roles, depending upon their actual job role, if they are to ensure that their students are learning. For example, a teacher may also have the following roles:

• Admin – having to register learners

• Logistics – having to provide resources

• Teacher – having to teach or facilitate learning

• Technician – making sure ICT equipment is working

• Assessor – having to mark work

Within the role of teacher, there are responsibilities to accept if the teacher is to achieve the overarching aim of ensuring that their students are learning. If we follow the learning cycle suggested by Gravells (2014), then the teacher has responsibilities in each of the five stages of the learning cycle.

1. Identifying needs – the teacher or trainer is responsible for identifying the needs of the user, and the relevant organisation. This is important as it enables planning that provides the learner with the most suitable path to success in their chosen subject.

2. Planning learning – having identified needs there is a responsibility to put the correct plan in place, tailored for individual learning styles.

3. Facilitating learning – this can be seen as the ‘teaching’ stage, and it is the responsibility of the teacher to facilitate learning using a variety of methods that will best engage the learners own learning style.

4. Assessing learning – it is the responsibility of the teacher to regularly assess learner knowledge so that progress can be monitored and used to make decisions on future teaching.

5. Evaluating learning – this can be carried out at any time and used to constantly review the effectiveness of the other stages.

Further responsibilities include personal conduct, following professional guidelines, setting a good example for others by being a good role model, and maintaining your subject knowledge.

1.2 Summarise key aspects of legislation, regulatory requirements and codes of practice relating to own role and responsibilities.

All Teachers are required to abide by a number of legislative requirements, passed in Parliament, such as the Children Act, the Data Protection Act, the Equality Act, the Health and Safety Act, as well as other acts.

In addition to the legislative requirements there are also regulatory requirements passed by government bodies such as Ofsted. These regulatory requirements include Food Hygiene Regulations, Control of Substances, Fire Safety, amongst others. In my particular field of ICT, the Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations 1992, are of some consequence, and should obviously be adhered to ensure the physical well-being of learners.

Teachers also have to adhere to the relevant Code of Conduct of their chosen profession. For ICT, the British Computer Society (BCS, 2015) have a set of guidelines that all professionals in the field of ICT should follow. It has guidance in the following areas:

• The Public Interest – it states “have due regard for public health, privacy, security and wellbeing of others and the environment”

• Professional Competence and Integrity – for example “NOT claim any level of competence that you do not possess.”

• Duty to Relevant Authority – regarding who employs the individual

• Duty to the Profession – it recommends acting with integrity and respect for others.

1.3 Explain ways to promote equality and diversity

Equality can be seen as everyone having equal opportunities and being treated the same, regardless of any disabilities or circumstances. However, Gravells (2014, p60) says that we can think of it as “everyone being different but having equal rights”. The Equality Act (2010) is a legislative act passed by Parliament and provides the right for all individuals not to be discriminated against due to any disability. The Act defines the different types of discrimination, harassment, and victimisation. The act also lists the following protected characteristics:

• Age

• Disability

• Gender reassignment

• Marriage and civil partnership

• Pregnancy and maternity

• Race

• Religion or belief

• Sex

• Sexual orientation.

To help promote equality and diversity in the classroom the teacher can be proactive and challenge and instances of discrimination that may arise. The teacher can also make a conscious effort not to favour any individual or group, and not to cause offence by anything that they may say. Outside of the classroom the teacher can plan lessons and activities to ensure that no one is favoured or disadvantaged by the lesson content.

1.4 Explain why it is important to identify and meet individual learner needs

The teaching, learning and assessment cycle can be used to identify and help to improve the various stages of teaching and learning. The cycle has no beginning as such but contains the following stages:

• Identifying needs

• Planning learning

• Facilitating learning

• Assessing learning

• Evaluating learning

The ‘identifying needs’ stage also includes identifying the teacher and institution needs, and although the cycle can begin at any stage, it is most useful to identify the individual learner needs early on in the cycle as this information can then be used for planning the stages of the cycle that follow.

By identifying the learners needs, the teacher can then plan the programme of work accordingly. They may have to change the way a lesson is delivered depending on the physical differences of the learners, or maybe arrange to have different resources, for example having worksheets available in Braille, another language, or printed in a special font for learners with dyslexia. They may also have to cater for physical needs by arranging parking or wheelchair access, or by having someone sit nearer the front of the classroom if they were visually impaired.

If the learners preferred style of learning is identified, then this can also be used in planning and delivering more effective lessons. Kolb (1984) devised the learning cycle shown below which in essence suggests that learners learn best by doing and learning from reflection upon the experience. The model can be used to plan lessons and activities that are most likely to engage the learner.

Figure 1: Kolb’s Experiential Learning Cycle

In addition to helping with planning, identifying needs can also help in deciding whether a learner is actually taking the right course, or whether there may be a more suitable course for them. These needs can potentially be identified at the enrolment stage or some form of initial assessment.

2.1 Explain ways to maintain a safe and supportive learning environment

Providing a safe and supportive learning environment for the learner is important as it provides them with the best environment to allow them to achieve their goals and learn in. It is useful to look at Maslow’s hierarchy of needs (Maslow 1943) as it gives us a list of basic human needs that need to be met in order for the learner, in this instance, to achieve the highest point on the scale, which is self-actualisation. If the learner reaches this point on the scale, they should be in the best position for learning to take place, however this is dependent on the lower levels having been satisfied. The figure below shows the levels in the hierarchy.

To provide the physiological needs the teacher could provide refreshments if required and ensure regular breaks are taken to allow learners to fulfil those needs, as tired and hungry learners will find it difficult to concentrate. T
he area that the learning is taking place in, it need not be a classroom, needs to be made physically safe by testing equipment, removing hazards etc. to provide a safe environment.

The teacher can help provide the belonging and esteem needs by creating a sociable atmosphere that encourages the learners to interact with each other in a respectful way. This may be achieved by giving the learners activities such as icebreakers, and paired or group work to encourage interaction. The teacher should also help by encouraging learners to speak without fear of ridicule, and to ensure inclusion.

2.2. Explain why it is important to promote appropriate behaviour and respect for others

Promoting appropriate behaviour and respect is important in helping to create a suitable environment for learners to work and learn in. Establishing ground rules early on with learners can help to prevent problems arising in the future. Some ground rules can be non-negotiable such as giving respect to each other, and no anti-social behaviour, while other rules can be negotiated such as length and timings of breaks, or the use of mobile phones.

It may also be useful to maintain a record of incidents of poor behaviour to see if there is a pattern involved, as some learners may become bored after a certain period of time, or perhaps some groups of learners are disruptive, in which case a seating plan can be used to separate them. Lessons should be varied and interesting as this will also help reduce incidents of low level disruption in the class.

The teacher can also help in promoting appropriate behaviour and respect by being a good role model and setting a good example in order to help create the best environment for teaching and learning to take place.

3.1 Explain how the teaching role involves working with other professionals

Teachers will be required to work with many other professionals throughout their careers in addition to their learners. They are likely to work with fellow teachers or trainers, administration staff, cleaning staff, caretakers, technicians and many other roles depending upon their organisation. For example, the teacher may have to work with ICT technicians to set up equipment such as a projector to deliver a lesson, or maybe arrange for a premises officer to have equipment PAT tested.

It is not only the responsibility of the teacher to care for the welfare of the learners, and there may be other professionals within the organisation whose responsibility it is. For example, in secondary schools it is likely that there is a dedicated safeguarding officer, and a teacher should always escalate any issues that students may have to the officer rather than attempting to help the student without help. Although the teacher may mean well there are other professionals who are better qualified to help in certain situations, and the teacher should be aware of not overstepping their boundaries.

3.2 Explain the boundaries between the teaching role and other professional roles

It is important for a teacher to know their professional boundaries and understand the limits that these boundaries impose on their teaching. There are different types of boundaries that teachers must abide by such as legislative requirements and professional codes of conduct that impose restrictions on the teacher, and the boundaries that a teacher should follow with regard to their conduct with others.

The teacher should be aware of how their actions can influence the perception that others have of both the teacher and their organisation. They should always dress accordingly and act in a professional manner with everyone, not just their learners. For example, when dealing with parents or visitors, you are representing your organisation and it is important to give a good impression of both yourself and your organisation. When interacting with fellow employees, in addition to acting responsibly, you should also show respect for their role within the organisation, for example, within my own area of ICT there may be occasions where the boundaries between my role and that of an ICT Technician may overlap or become blurred.

The boundary between the teacher and learner should always be professional, and the teacher should avoid becoming overfriendly with their learners. For example, they should never give out their phone number or personal email address to students in order to avoid any inappropriate contact. Teachers should also avoid external social contact outside of their institution, and should avoid interacting with learners on any form of social media. This will help to avoid inappropriate situations and also show the learners that everyone is treated equally and that you do not favour any individuals.

3.3 Describe points of referral to meet the individual needs of learners

There may be occasions when a teacher is made aware of the needs of an individual learner that are impacting upon their learning. These may be problems such as financial issues, family problems, or lack of transport. The teacher may be able to help with some problems, for example setting up online resources for learners who are unable to regularly attend classes.

However, some problems may require the learner to seek assistance elsewhere, such as if there was a medical reason for non-attendance. The teacher should always know where to refer the learner in such cases. For example, the teacher should refer medical or psychological issues to the relevant healthcare specialist such as a doctor or psychiatrist. If the learner had language problems, then perhaps the organisation may have an EAL specialist that can help the learner, or they could be referred to another institution. Learners with financial issues could be referred to the Citizens Advice Bureau or a financial advisor.

Knowing when to refer a learner and where to refer them is very important as this is also meeting the learners needs, as described in Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, to allow them to achieve their learning potential.


Gravells, A. (2014) The Award in Education and Training (1st Edition). London: Learning Matters

Kolb, D. A. (1984). Experiential learning: Experience as the source of learning and development (Vol. 1). Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.

Maslow, A. H. (1943). A Theory of Human Motivation. Psychological Review, 50(4), 370-96.


Society for Education and Training, Professional Standards [last accessed 18/10/15]

Equality Act [last accessed 18/10/15]

British Computer Society, Code of Practice [last accessed 18/10/15]

HSE Display Screen Equipment Regulations [last accessed 18/10/15]

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