Pttls Unit 1: Understanding Roles, Responsibilities and Relationships in Education and Training

1.1 Understand the teaching role and responsibilities in education and training

The teacher’s role in education and training can be, and has been, interpreted in many different ways. The definition and expectations of the role have evolved over time. Traditionally, the role of the teacher was seen as that of ‘the expert in the room’ passing on information to a classroom of eager learners, arranged in neat rows. This was a rather static ‘one size fits all’ approach, and not necessarily the most effective way to accommodate the needs of all learners.

These days the role is perceived very differently. The role of the modern teacher is much more about understanding and accommodating the individual needs and learning requirements of the members of the class and creating an environment in which all learner’s needs can be effectively met. Einstein’s famous quote ‘I never teach my students anything, I merely create and environment in which they can learn’ perfectly sums up this approach.

This approach to teaching takes into account the fact that, particularly amongst adult learners, several key factors can affect the participant’s learning experience. Adult learners have wide and varying prior life experience, which may be valuable in the learning environment. Similarly, not everyone learns in the same way. In fact, learning styles vary widely meaning that a much more adaptive approach will yield far better results.

This adaptive approach to adult learning was widely studied and formulated by Malcolm Knowles, who developed what he called the andragogical approach. Andragogy comes from the Greek ‘man-leading’ and is used to differentiate from the more usual pedagogic (child-leading) teaching approaches applied to the teaching of children.

The andragogic system identifies six key factors influencing adult learning, as follows:

  * Need to know: Adults need to understand the reason for learning something, before learning it.
  * Foundation: Prior life...