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Learners’ contexts Teaching vulnerable learners and those on community orders or probation 1.

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Presentation on theme: "Learners’ contexts Teaching vulnerable learners and those on community orders or probation 1."— Presentation transcript:

1 Learners’ contexts Teaching vulnerable learners and those on community orders or probation 1

2 About this session This session includes materials for reflection on learners’ contexts. From this session you will be able to: Understand common contexts and problems for vulnerable learners, particularly those on probation or community sentences Reflect on the implications for teaching and training, and for CPD 2 Learners’ contexts

3 Time to learn The lives of some vulnerable and offender learners in the community are unstructured, turbulent and unpredictable This has a bearing on the time in which it is reasonable to expect them to complete a course and gain a qualification 3 Learners’ contexts

4 The right time to learn Learners who are at the ‘right time’ in their lives are able to engage successfully in learning They can build on this success, and on their increased confidence to plan radical changes in their lives 4 Learners’ contexts

5 Confidence and self belief Many learners have known failure and disappointment in formal schooling They will often require more than a short course to improve confidence and belief in themselves 5 Learners’ contexts

6 Confidence and self belief Learners often need to be encouraged to move away from an ‘everybody is rubbish’ attitude towards thinking of themselves as learners with the potential to grow and succeed This takes plenty of time and support 6 Learners’ contexts

7 Educational disengagement Vulnerable and offender learners often have a long history of educational disengagement This may be due to: ‒ Educational under-achievement ‒ A sense of failure and rejection ‒ Impact of a custodial sentence 7 Learners’ contexts

8 Health Many vulnerable and offender learners attend drug treatment centres as a condition of probation Their first priority is to manage and overcome drug addiction 8 Learners’ contexts

9 Health There is potential for education programmes to complement health related programmes For example, an education programme could support a drug treatment programme by providing support with organisational and time management skills. 9 Learners’ contexts

10 Skills and qualifications: offender learners About 85% of offender learners in the Probation Service’s caseload have ‒ low educational attainment ‒ learning difficulties ‒ problems expressing themselves or understanding what is said to them 10 Learners’ contexts

11 Skills and qualifications: offender learners Many offender learners require English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) provision Some of these learners may already be highly educated, with learning needs specifically related to improving their levels of English 11 Learners’ contexts

12 Skills and qualifications: offender learners A 2011 survey of offender learners in the community found that a significant number were educated to GCSE level Some had ‘A’ levels and vocational college qualifications, and several went on to undertake undergraduate degrees 12 Learners’ contexts

13 Implications for practice 13 Learners’ contexts

14 Tact and sensitivity Finding out about learners’ lives is not easy: it takes time there are ethical issues – for example, knowing what it is appropriate to discuss it requires sensitivity - knowing when to continue or stop a conversation 14 Learners’ contexts

15 Be positive and open Respond positively to what learners are doing; do not focus on what they cannot do Be open about why information about people is helpful and how it will be used and recorded Many offenders have information taken from them without knowing how it will be used 15 Learners’ contexts

16 Be patient in building trust It takes time to develop a trusting relationship with learners Learners may prefer to talk about themselves as trust develops, rather than at the outset of any programme 16 Learners’ contexts

17 Be flexible and responsive Agendas for learning should be flexible and responsive to the changing circumstances and needs of learners This also applies to settings which offer formal and structured learning Flexibility helps learners build confidence and trust, and helps them to complete courses 17 Learners’ contexts

18 Offer a safe environment Creating and maintaining a safe environment is essential for learners and practitioners Rules may include a prohibition on all drink and drugs, and time out for dealing with anger 18 Learners’ contexts

19 A safe environment A safe environment also offers: A structure and focus to the day New networks of support which extend into other areas of life Someone to listen to fears and anxieties Help with practical difficulties 19 Learners’ contexts

20 A safe environment: activity Working individually, identify the most important factors for creating a safe learning environment Consider what are the biggest challenges in creating and maintaining this environment (5-10 minutes) Discuss these questions as a group (15-20 minutes) 20 Learners’ contexts

21 Motivate learners Learning resources should connect with people’s interests and goals There are many different methods for achieving this; the next slides give two examples 21 Learners’ contexts

22 Learners’ interests and goals ‘Tailoring’ Use existing materials and link them to learner’s lives so that the content is relevant to their experience This requires understanding what it is appropriate for learners to disclose 22 Learners’ contexts

23 Learners’ interests and goals ‘Translating’ Apply experiences from learners’ lives to general materials, so that they are able to translate their previous experience to the task at hand For more information and activities on motivating learners, please refer to the Motivating Learners session 23 Learners’ contexts

24 Implications for CPD practice 24 Learners’ contexts

25 Creative use of the curriculum Linking learners’ skills to the curriculum: Experienced teachers should be able to use the literacy and numeracy curriculum in a multifaceted and multimodal way Use visual, sound, text or speech media to support speaking and listening for example Think creatively about how best to deliver lessons, including the use of ICT if possible 25 Learners’ contexts

26 Working with offenders on probation Practitioners should be trained not only in their subject but also in how to work with groups of learners who face many barriers to learning and employment Developing trusting relationships is important Informal styles of teaching are often most appropriate 26 Learners’ contexts

27 Getting to know your learners Train staff in getting to know people as individuals Develop an understanding of the circumstances of learners (within appropriate limits) Develop a dialogue about how and whether literacy, numeracy and ICT learning fit in the context of learners’ lives 27 Learners’ contexts

28 Activity: getting to know your learners Look at Learners Contexts – Interactive tasks Which of the tasks would you be able to use or not use with learners who are on probation or in prison? 28 Learners’ contexts

29 The community setting Practitioners require CPD support to help them develop an understanding of the community settings they work in This includes understanding the local job market – including the needs of local employers, and the skills that are most in demand locally Where literacy, numeracy and ICT provision is introduced, there should also be dialogue with staff and with learners about how this is provided 29 Learners’ contexts

30 Informal learning Some of the most important work in community settings may take place outside officially structured time Informal social interaction may underlie and support much of what takes place formally The formation of peer groups among learners, for example, should be supported 30 Learners’ contexts

31 Responding to the unexpected There are often features of people’s lives, such as violence and substance abuse, which remain invisible in the learning setting Through CPD training, teachers need to be equipped to respond to unexpected changes in their learners 31 Learners’ contexts

32 Reflective practitioners It is important to negotiate learning tasks around people’s everyday needs Practitioners need to reflect on and respond flexibly to the circumstances of the people they are working with Practitioners should be supported in this development as ‘reflective practitioners’ 32 Learners’ contexts

33 Learners’ goals and achievements Learners’ goals are important; learners need to know what they are aiming at Learner motivation improves when they have realistic goals to aim for Practitioners should know how to consult with learners about their goals, and should be prepared to recognise small steps that contribute towards the achievements of those goals 33 Learners’ contexts

34 Learners’ goals and achievements Practitioners should be encouraged to recognise small positive steps For example, the introduction of a new routine into someone’s day, attending on time and regularly, and the gradual development of self-confidence 34 Learners’ contexts

35 Emotional and social aspects Emotional and social aspects of learners’ lives should inform teaching and learning Responding to these issues in the classroom requires people management and personal skills as well as subject specific knowledge 35 Learners’ contexts

36 Responding to sensitive issues Many practitioners are not trained in how to respond to sensitive and complex issues The following activity is designed to encourage a group of practitioners to reflect on these issues 36 Learners’ contexts

37 Activity: responding to sensitive issues In a group discuss: what is appropriate professionally in the way of creating and maintaining boundaries between teachers and learners how to strike a balance between responding to one student with multiple needs, whilst also giving adequate attention to their peers 37 Learners’ contexts

38 Materials in this CPD were devised by the following members of the Institute of Education: Brian Creese (numeracy), Jay Derrick (assessment and embedding), Jane Hurry (motivation and exit strategies), Maria Kambouri (ICT), Irene Schwab (literacy) and John Vorhaus (continuing professional development and learner contexts) Helpful suggestions and comments were made by Joe Shamash and Olivia Varley-Winter at City & Guilds Centre for Skills Development. If you would like to contact us please Jane Hurry at 38 Learners’ contexts

39 The CPD Framework An outline of the sessions 39 Learners’ contexts


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