Education and Training Prep Course

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Teaching Cycle

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8 min 56 sec
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The teaching or learning cycle is just a simple way of looking at all the different areas within teaching and how we evaluate them.

The parts of the teaching cycle are, initial assessment, planning and design, facilitating leaning, assessing learning and finally quality assurance and evaluation. Now we will look at these stages in more detail.

The first part of the teaching cycle is initial assessment to identify learner needs.

Now, an initial assessment could be undertaken in lots of ways. For example, on the AET course, you would fill in an initial assessment form, which would give us information on things like your past education, qualifications, additional courses you have done after that and also an example to make sure that you fully understand English, so we can make sure that you're at the right level before you start the AET course.

When you are teaching the initial assessment may have been completed over the phone, by email, post or they may complete one assessment for many different courses they are taking.

The initial assessment is really important, not just to make sure that the student is of a suitable academic level to start the course, but also that they have the basic skills and understanding and it is the right course for them. It’s incredibly difficult trying to teach someone on a course then finding out they are actually on the wrong one.

The other thing with an initial assessment that can be identified are any learning difficulties. Now these may be something like basic spoken English Language where if you do a good initial assessment, you should be able to find that out fairly easily. Dyslexia, dyspraxia or dyscalculia could be identified quite simply from an initial assessment.

Dyslexia is a learning difficulty which mainly affects development of literacy and language skills, which can affect the way that you design and plan your courses. It may be that the actual spoken language could be a problem or maybe it is simple things as how you design your PowerPoint, the colours you use and the pattern and the size of the text and fonts.

Developmental dyspraxia is an impairment or immaturity of the organisation of movement. Dyspraxia affects the planning of what to do and how to do it. It is associated with problems of perception, language and thought. Dyscalculia, as its name implies, is when an individual has difficulty with making calculations.

When identifying needs, you could do this in written format or just by talking to the person and you need to find out what learning styles are best for them. We will go into more detail around learning styles a little bit later, but we need to find out what methods of teaching would apply best for each student to ensure that they get a full understanding of the course.

Other ways of identifying learner needs, could be to directly talk to people who are interested in the courses, find out what their needs are, talk to others within the industry and make sure that your courses fully meet all the requirements stipulated by the educational establishment or industry.

The next section in the teaching cycle is the planning and design of the course.

The most important thing you need to do to start with is make sure you have clear aims and objectives. Objectives are also known as learning outcomes. If you don’t have clear aims and learning outcomes, then how do you know the student has met these requirements? How do you know they have passed? The way we do that is we sit down, and we plan the course properly, you can plan an entire course and you create a scheme of work, which covers more than one day or session. The scheme of work covers for example, a weeklong induction program and is made up of lots of sessions. More detailed planning is then done with the session plan. If you've got a course that is designed properly, you will be able to see the session plans and the scheme of work and in theory, anyone can then pick up that and deliver your training.

Other things you need to work out on the session plan and scheme of work are ways that you are going to use different teaching approaches and what resources may be required, also how you are going to include learners in the lesson and make sure that they feel part of it. You must also make sure you know what assessment procedures you will have in place at every single stage, so on your scheme of work and session plans you should have all this listed out as well.

Other things outside the main scheme of work and session plan that you are going to need to think about are the actual environment where you are going to be teaching and delivering the courses. Maybe you are working in fitness instruction, so therefore you need to maybe deliver part of course in a gym area or maybe you're working in a classroom or outside.

If it is a classroom environment, what considerations need to be made?
Can you control the room temperature?
Do you need to make sure that the seats are comfortable, that there's adequate seats; do your learners need tables?
Can they all see the audiovisual equipment?
Can they all hear you?
And finally, Is the sun coming in through a window and causing them problems with their sight?

There could be a whole host of other planning considerations you are likely to need and once you have worked through this planning process you should have a good idea of exactly what you're saying, how you are saying it, how you are assessing but also the requirements of the learning environment that you intend to teach in.

The next section of the teaching cycle is facilitating learning.

This is where we are actually going to be delivering the training. We need to think through lots of things here. We need to make sure we establish imposed and negotiated ground rules, we need to look at how we are going to facilitate the teaching, how we are going to apply the scheme of work and session plans to the lesson that we are actually going to be delivering. In this section, this is where we are actually going to be putting things into practice. In the lesson plan, we talk about embedding functional skills but this is where we are actually putting them into practice.

Other things we are going to put into this section are making sure we follow any professional codes of practice that we need to ensure for people to qualify. With enabling learning, this is where you need to sit down and teach or facilitate the lesson. So it is difficult for us to tell you all the different things you need to include in this section. You need to teach or facilitate using a variety of learning approaches or methods and if there's a problem or it doesn't work then you should maybe adapt that ready for your next lesson, an example of self-evaluation and development.

The next section is assessing learning.

This is where we need to assess to make sure that the learners have met all the assessment criteria and requirements and have therefore completed the course. Assessing can also identify any problems or areas where you need to change or improve things later on. Other areas in this section are to make sure that you follow all the requirements laid down by your awarding organisation.

You must make sure that all the assessing is done within the proper timeframe, checking to make sure that the work that has been done by the individual learner and is their own work and it’s not in any way plagiarised. Records must be kept for the individuals and their achievements, making sure they are kept in a confidential manner in line with Data Protection and GDPR. Also, make sure that your assessment criteria is realistic and you have the materials and tests in order to carry these out. In the assessing process, you can look at different varieties of assessments, such as observation, testing, assignments, role plays, quizzes and if these are formative, summative, formal or informal assessments.

One of the most important points is to give constructive feedback to your learners. Having assessments is all very well, but we need to make sure that the learners all understand what and how they have met or not met any individual section or assessment criteria. There is nothing worse than someone finishing the course and just being told “you’ve failed”. They need to know what they have missed and why they've had a problem, how they can resolve it and how they can then attain the grade, either later on the same day or on a later date.

Quality assurance and evaluation is the final section in the teaching cycle.

This is where we would evaluate what has been done. We review student reports, course evaluations, tutor evaluations and we look to see how effectively the training has been delivered. If a lot of learners say they don't understand something or there's a particular problem, then this needs to be identified and changes can be made if necessary. Because this is a cycle, we need to keep going with it. So, the whole time we are continually updating our scheme of works, our session plans, our planning, our delivery and our assessment and also reviewing the evaluation as many times as possible. Whilst you are delivering your teaching, always make sure you keep notes so you know exactly where errors are and if we are looking at the evaluation process later on, these are errors that can be addressed with other tutors, evaluators and internal verifiers within your organisation.