A Martyr to all who knew her

Jo Cox Memorial - 12

Jo Cox, MP for Batley and Spen West Yorkshire, paid the ultimate price last week – her life. Such was the shock of her murder that leaders from afar as well as home, from  all spectrums paid their tributes to a woman who put her community first, ready and willing to do anything to bring people together. It was a sad day, that a woman who many had not heard of – a charity worker, mother, MP and activist of rights for all – could die in such a brutal way, and as some now believe for her beliefs. The world which Jo sought was one in which all, regardless of religion, race or culture could live in harmony. In her own words talking of her own constituency, she said, “we are far more united and have far more in common with each other than things that divide us.”

As a teacher, our role is even more powerful and a necessary to eradicate the evil that killed Jo. We have to educate our young, make them citizens worthy of praise not contempt. Within classrooms let debate run, let views be heard, let one another respond within reason, respecting each other, valuing our beliefs, and British values of democracy and freedom. We in Europe have seen how division, hate and using notions such as ‘us’ and ‘them’ through propaganda has led to wars. We have moved on – the world no longer revolves around us, it is we who revolve around it. Tomorrow will be a defining moment in British History, when Britons go to the polls to vote, either to remain in the EU or leave. Whichever way  the vote goes, it will have a long lasting effect for generations to come. I hope people vote wisely, and not with emotion.

 

Who are ESOL teachers accountable to?

Teachers within their own subject specialism, in addition to their teaching, carry other vital responsibilities that assist in the functioning of the educational body. English to Speakers of others Languages (ESOL) teachers have a unique role, one that is by no means an easy one, which is to assist in the development and assimilation of new arrivals, refugees and others seeking improvement in English.

There has been cut backs in ESOL funding, thus accountability is even more of a hot topic. As ESOL teachers, we are accountable for our actions, teachings, our classroom and most of all the students themselves. Students’ success and improvement in language relies heavily on the teacher’s strong subject knowledge, learning and teaching techniques and the institution’s support and policies. Moving beyond the classroom other bodies play their vital roles, such as the governmental departments in ESOL this is usually The Home Office and BIS. Recently the government deployed a strategy of taking twenty thousand Syrian refugees over 5 years, Bradford has received nearly 200 and schemes such as Vulnerable persons and gateway protection are allocated to associations and councils who bid and show interest. Schemes can run for 2 years or more depending on contracts. Teachers are therefore most likely at the whim of government actions and decisions, not just in community education but also mainstream colleges. Funding is another issue, again reliant from governmental organisation which as stated has been cut drastically in the last two years resulting in job losses.

I as an ESOL teacher, and like most other teachers in other fields, am responsible for my actions, from equality and diversity, treating everyone equally, empathising, and maintaining professional boundaries. With ESOL learners this is a hard task as all have different behaviours and perceptions and cultures. I am accountable to my line manager, and course leader and this can be from the mundane, filling in registers to more complex tasks such as submitting test results, referrals and course/curriculum issues.

ESOL teachers’ accountability unlike other roles goes beyond the classroom in terms of teaching and learning. Although I may see my students as learners, they are in fact members of a society who are and have been through difficult times, such as war and loss. I am therefore accountable to the society in which I work, as the learners’ assimilation is after all practising language within societal realms.

Levit R et al (2008, p8) in her report states: In the literature five types of accountability are generally recognised: organisational, political, legal, professional and moral/ethical. Each type of accountability has its own methods of working. Organisational accountability works through the superior/subordinate relationships that define actors’ authority and responsibility; political accountability relies on democratic institutions and processes to hold actors to account. Legal accountability works though the courts and other judicial institutions to protect rights and redress wrongs. Professional accountability is promulgated through codes of conduct or practice and systems of regulation designed and operated by peers. Moral or ethical accountability relies on the internalised values to which actors voluntarily adhere.

Accountability is by no means an easy process, nor can it seem accepting as one crack can lead to total breakdown; its complexity can be seen from the above statement regarding the vast array of powers that hold teachers, managers and whole organisations together. Only by working with each other, having rigorous policies, and strong communications within all parameters will enable institutions to provide the service effectively without due hindrance.

 

Levitt, R., Janta, B. and Wegrich, K. (2008) Accountability of teachers, literature review. Available at: http://dera.ioe.ac.uk/14020/1/1009_Accountability_of_teachers_Literature_review.pdf (Accessed: 1 June 2016).

Thank You

 

Thank you card

 

Final Reflection of year.

Numbers in text indicate reference to The Professional Standards, Education and Training Foundation. Appendix 1

 

ESOL and Placement.

On this sunny day as the sun beams down, and I am nearing the end of the course – after a gruelling 10 months – It is a sigh of relief coming to the end, but also tinged with some sadness, having met great people, staff and peers. The course has been a huge challenge to say the least and at times very draining.  The year started off with a two-week introduction of what was to be expected, the process and an opportunity to get to know everyone and the college. During my placement I was able to secure employment one of the great highlights of my course was to work directly in my subject specialism ESOL, and teaching refugees for the first time.  Although I had some experience behind me, the ESOL aspect within my career was lacking. Although, EFL and TEFL are similar, the challenges and upheavals of teaching ESOL learners was very different. Issues such as dealing with traumatised individuals, students with lack of motivation, culture clashes, attendance, single mothers, and integration. These issues have by far been hard to deal with, and some I have not experienced in dealing with before (1. 2 and 5). With the help of my mentor (well experienced in ESOL), colleagues, tutors and an excellent manager, as well as through observations, feedback and guidance (5 and 6) I have truly come out the other end has a well-rounded, more experienced ESOL teacher and Language Practitioner. This has also shown me the power of working together, as they say, ‘better together’ and without their support I could not have made it through. I started my placement with much confidence, believing that the skills attained from my previous jobs and qualifications would suffice. However, I have learnt that whatever experience one holds, there will always be room for development. Teachers cannot predict what outcomes, both negative and positive, they will face, and it is not until one experiences different dilemmas and challenges, is one able to put into  course  a plan of action and deal with it. During my teaching I have also learnt about government organisations in relation to ESOL provision and funding, and how some organisations are strongly dependent on the government and stakeholders for such services. The ESOL provision at work, provides a crucial service to the community, in addition to literacy and dealing with vulnerable people, locked in alcohol and drug issues. (19, 20)

Lesson observations and feedback reignited the importance of collaborating with others, especially more experienced teachers. It also made me think more about teaching, how and why I do certain things, such as asking questions for feedback, assessing students, developing communicative skills. Sometimes taking our own perspective on our teaching is not enough, others’ eyes and ears, assist in the development of teaching and quality and developing professional practice. ( 4, 10, 12 and 6). I will without doubt keep hold of all my reflections, feedbacks, and lesson plans. I will revisit them in a few months to see how I have improved, and take account of aspects raised in my training.

 

Academia         (2,3,4,7,8,9 and 12)

Writing assignments was always going to be a substantial part of the course. Of course to be able to explain language learning, theories from Maslow to Chomsky, is an important aspect of teacher training and development. Especially in language learning, where there continues to be great interest in research surrounding second language acquisition.  The assignments’ aims, questions and outcomes have enabled me to critically analyse, dissect and put forward my own experiences/expectations academically. I am very proud of the results I have reached, (distinctions and merits) in the assignments, and my strengths in being able to write, express opinions and argue concepts was well received, hence excellent results. I have had the opportunity to read vital books and texts in relation to teaching and language learning. One book which I found very interesting was Freire’s Pedagogy of the Oppressed, Hattie on Visible Learning and Chomsky’s language theories. The assignments have enabled me to challenge my own beliefs and practices through engaging with other’s views whether it be a theory or research project. One such project I found quite surprising and at times shocking, was the research paper on views people have on refugees in The Yorkshire and Humber, and the obstacles they face in learning language and seeking to integrate. Learning theories was an exceptional module, where behaviorism and cognitive theories explained some of the qualms I had about why some language students acquire language well and others not. I was then able to through researching and reading upon such theories relate it to my teaching, and embed it in my own practice. Ideas such as Vygotsky’s, scaffolding and The Zone of Proximal development explained why some of my students were not able to complete ‘extra challenging tasks’. I have attained a very well understanding of education, language and learning through my assignments, and will continue to keep abreast of knowledge in my subject area/specialism.

 

CPD and final summary (4,5,7,14,15,18,19 and 20)

 

On completion of the course, the journey does not end here, rather it is the beginning. Having completed the required essentials (in order to be QTLS) and fulfilled the standards expected I can now implement the past year’s skills learned and develop further  in my teaching. The importance of keeping up to date with new rules, teaching methods, technology and professionalism in a teaching career – CPD can and does help. I recently attended a CPD session with Cambridge English in London, which I thoroughly enjoyed. Aspects of SLA and learning were fomented, as well as new techniques and technology, which could be used to enhance learning. Sessions also included assessment methods online both summative and formative, and Cambridge is also developing paperless exams, which can be done online.

 

I am very grateful to all who have been very supportive during my course. Friends, family, colleagues, mentor, tutors, lecturers and of course caffeine . I will continue to use my blog to update on the progress of my career and teaching.

 

THANK YOU

 

SAAD AJMAL

Appendix 1

Professional Standards

As a professional teacher or trainer you should demonstrate

commitment to the following in your professional practice.

Professional values and attributes

Develop your own judgement of what works and does not work in your teaching and training

1 Reflect on what works best in your teaching and learning to meet the diverse needs

of learners

2 Evaluate and challenge your practice, values and beliefs

3 Inspire, motivate and raise aspirations of learners through your enthusiasm and knowledge

4 Be creative and innovative in selecting and adapting strategies to help learners to learn

5 Value and promote social and cultural diversity, equality of opportunity and inclusion

6 Build positive and collaborative relationships with colleagues and learners

Professional knowledge and understanding

Develop deep and critically informed knowledge and understanding in theory and practice

7 Maintain and update knowledge of your subject and/or vocational area

8 Maintain and update your knowledge of educational research to develop evidence-based practice

9 Apply theoretical understanding of effective practice in teaching, learning and assessment

drawing on research and other evidence

10 Evaluate your practice with others and assess its impact on learning

11 Manage and promote positive learner behaviour

12 Understand the teaching and professional role and your responsibilities

Professional skills

Develop your expertise and skills to ensure the best outcomes for learners

13 Motivate and inspire learners to promote achievement and develop their skills to enable

progression

14 Plan and deliver effective learning programmes for diverse groups or individuals in a safe

and inclusive environment

15 Promote the benefits of technology and support learners in its use

16 Address the mathematics and English needs of learners and work creatively to overcome

individual barriers to learning

17 Enable learners to share responsibility for their own learning and assessment, setting goals

that stretch and challenge

18 Apply appropriate and fair methods of assessment and provide constructive and timely

feedback to support progression and achievement

19 Maintain and update your teaching and training expertise and vocational skills through

collaboration with employers

20 Contribute to organisational development and quality improvement through collaboration