Case Study of a Learner
The aim of this assignment was to enable myself to discover how previous learning experiences of one of my learners, and his or her present life situation, impacts on current learning. In order to complete this assignment it was necessary to choose a learner to whom I may currently be teaching, or someone that I had previously taught recently.
After careful consideration of who to choose for this study, a learner who I currently teach, studying NVQ Hairdressing Level 2 Year 1, enrolled September 2010, was my choice. Reason being that this learner has had previous educational problems, is a candidate for Learner Support and was introduced to the Academy through the learners Educational Support Worker. I approached the learner explaining the purpose and content of the enquiry and she gave her full permission and full co-operation. The learner was informed that no names would be used in the assignment. This is to keep her personal experiences and details confidential. A date was set for an interview, with a set of questions already prepared to ask, and the learner was informed that the information she gave, would be put into the assignment.
The learner previously attended primary school until Year 6. Up until this year the learner had had numerous problems with reading and writing. This issue was not recognised, and therefore no learning support was offered. Inclusive teaching means recognising and meeting the learning needs of all students. It means acknowledging that your students have a range of individual learning needs. Providers should place learners in the best possible learning environment for their needs whatever these needs maybe. (The Open University, 2006).
The learner also feared a male teacher that she can recall in Year 3, he spent most of his time shouting, or was very loud, and this made her feel intimidated. For the next 3 years she struggled with school life and her school work, keeping her fear of the teacher and the fact that she was struggling with school work a secret from everyone. After sitting her Year 6 SATS with very poor results, became a cause for concern! Maybe too little too late! These National Curriculum teaching assessment and/or tests are designed to give parents and their children???s school information about how well the child is doing.
Key Stage 2 Tests and Teacher Assessments.
Key Stage2 tests for 11 year olds cover
* English- reading writing (including handwriting) and spelling
* Maths- including mental arithmetic
By the age of 11, most children are expected to achieve Level 4.
Directgov. (Jan 2011)
This learners results were way below the grade expected for her age and therefore concerns from parents of why this was not noticed beforehand were raised with the learners teacher and head of the school, of which the learner was unaware of the outcome, but was told she would be home schooled by her mother in the future.
In Britain, there has never been a legal obligation for parents to send their children to school. The only demand is that every child receives an ???efficient full-time education suitable to his age, ability and aptitude … either by regular attendance at school or otherwise???. However, within this definition parents have generous latitude and much freedom. They don??™t have to follow the national curriculum, enter children for exams, follow school hours or term times, give formal lessons, or mark work. Local authority inspectors can ask annually for written information on how a child is being educated, but they have no right to meet the child or visit the home. Should a local authority decide a child is not receiving a ???suitable??? education it does have powers to send them back to school.
The way in which the learner explains the complaint from her parents and the school, handling the situation was not in accordance with school guidelines for complaints. Whether this is on the parents behalf or the schools it is not clear. If your child has a problem at school, you should be able to sort it through an informal discussion with your child??™s teacher. If you cannot resolve a problem informally, the school should have a formal complaints procedure that you can follow. (Directgov. Jan 2011). There are internal bodies that are available to help with your complaints, Example: Governing Body- if complaints are not resolved these are the next stage to approach. External bodies are Local Authority (LA), Secretary of State and Ofsted.
Home schooling suited this learner; she studied Maths, English, Social Studies, Word Building and Science, working through workbooks with her tutor (mother), who supported her daughter through the two page test at the end of every workbook. These tests were externally marked, with good results. The learner and tutor (mother) were informed that these tests would be equivalent to GCSE??™s. The learner improved gradually as she gained more confidence with the work set, and the test results motivated the learner to want to learn more. While having home schooling, the learner also has a third party connection with an Education Support Learner. They are there to guide the learner and tutor in the right direction for the benefit of the learner??™s future. The learner was directed to the Live and Learn Programme at Keith St Peters Academy, which is designed as a vocational alternative for Year 10/11 students. The Level 1 VRQ Salon Services sessions are well delivered, with high levels of interaction and support from the tutors and this was thought to be a good opportunity for the learner. The Level 1 Salon Services is delivered as part of the Live and Learn Programme for 14-16 year olds. This is an ESF funded programme delivered for the local council. This also enables school pupils to achieve a vocational related qualification in keeping with their interests and career aspirations. Many of these learners progress into other further training and educations, including apprenticeships at the Academy. On this course tutors have helped learners to overcome personal difficulties and to achieve goals; in some cases where the learner??™s experience of education has not been positive. For some learners the Level 1 course is their first experience of achievement and this is strongly supported by teaching staff and evidenced by achievement rates.
The number of Level 1 Salon Services learners applying into the apprenticeship programmes was 30%, with 20% offered Level 2 apprenticeship places at the Academy and overall 82% of learners continuing in education or training. Many of these learners have poor educational achievement historically and are from non traditional learning backgrounds. (KSPA SAR 2010).
This learner applied for the Level 1 Salon Services at Keith St Peters Academy. All applicants are interviewed by the course manager, and the applicants then sit a diagnostic test, to enable the tutor to put together, an Individual Learning Plan and to apply for any additional Learning Support if required. Along side the qualification, the learners are required to gain Keys Skills at Level 1. The learner will have to undertake Communication and Application of Number to complete the course. Effective skills give the ability to connect and build rapport with other people. This is a foundation life skill and should be actively developed from an early age. It is a learned skill and can be learned and used at any age. In the Hairdressing Industry it is essential that you have good communication skills to ensure that you can do your job at the highest level to gain a repetitive client base. The learner completed the two year course, whilst holding a Saturday job in the local hairdressers to gain experience and promote her confidence.
Maslow??™s value to teachers of young adults is that learners carry life??™s ???baggage??™ with them, some of which are motivated and some of which de motivated. Statements such as ???I??™m not good at learning languages??™ or ??? I could never do maths??™ are as much about the history as about learning styles or ability or environment. When teachers come up against de motivated students, often they have to deal with the fact that the learner has already had an experience which has been negative, and that to change the motivational ???set??™ of the learner to one where at the very least the young person will have a go at something, the teacher may need to reactivate and generalise ???Maslovian??™ approach to provide an experience through which the learners can feel safe and confident in their own strengths. Maslow 1970.
After completing the Level 1 Salon Services Qualification, the learner progressed in her education by applying for an Apprenticeship placement to do the NVQ Level 2 Hairdressing course which is a work based apprenticeship with a one day release to the academy. The learner is in her first year of the course and is very motivated. Newstead (1998) took the view that motivation, not ability, is ???the crucial determinant of how students approach their studies and of how well they perform.
As with the last course the learner had a process to go through with an application, interview, induction, diagnostic tests, learning styles tests all to establish what her learning needs and styles are to put together a Individual Learning Plan with target dates set in place. To date the learner is progressing well in Theory and Practical lessons. She has had one to one tutorials to set SMART targets of which she is working towards this term, within these tutorials any Health and Safety, Equality and Diversity issues can be raised, discussed and recorded.
My findings have been interesting, the learner could have been a lost cause, but the support from her family and the Educational Support Worker were encouraging, ensuring that the learner had an education in the best possible way and in a safe environment. The mother took on the role as her tutor and supported her daughter through all her work, tests and educational choices. Having the opportunity to achieve a vocational qualification has given this learner the confidence and life skills to become motivated and take ownership of her own learning.
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