I am course leader on the Foundation Degree for Early Years at the further education institution in which I work. The foundation degree is delivered in collaboration with a higher education institution. There are fourteen modules on the course and I teach on up to ten of these modules over a two year programme of study. The course is delivered through a blended learning approach, encompassing both face-to-face and online ‘Moodle’ sessions, the latter being the name for the college’s virtual learning environment. The scheme of work (Appendix 1, pp8-15) that I have chosen for the purposes of this assignment relates to the module, ‘Perspectives on Play’, which is the first module taught on the first year of the foundation degree. There are a total of eight face-to-face and seven Moodle sessions occurring weekly on the Module. There were thirteen learners who took the module on the first year of the course. The learners were all white Caucasian and female, with ages ranging from twenty to forty-seven years of age. The learners were working in a variety of early years settings including a childminder, playgroups, day nurseries, a reception class and a children’s centre. One learner had been diagnosed with dyslexia but emphasised during an initial assessment interview that she had developed her own strategies to enable successful academic study whilst undertaking her recent Advanced Levels. Another learner had not been able to achieve English at the relevant Level 2 standard. All of the learners had access to a computer and the internet, but only 4 of the learners had any experience of an online virtual learning environment. Initial assessment also revealed differences in learners’ personal, cultural and institutional backgrounds. Keeley-Browne (2007) states that one of the core professional values expected of teachers in the school context is that of demonstrating awareness and consideration for the social, cultural, linguistic, religious and ethnic backgrounds of the pupils that they teach. She goes on to state that issues of gender and sexuality are of equal importance. I would add to this and posit that on a foundation degree, where work-based learning and reflection-upon-practice are fundamental, it is integral that a teacher has a good knowledge of each learner’s professional background or context. The use of initial assessment to inform teaching and learning methods is particularly important in this instance because this was the first module for the first year of the course, and written in advance of the start of the academic year. In advance of development of the scheme of work, I am already planning for inclusive learning and negotiating appropriate individual goals with learners. In the case of the learner who did not achieve English at the relevant Level 2 standard, we negotiated for her enrolment onto an appropriate Adult Literacy course at the college, which she is currently undertaking alongside the foundation degree programme. Regular 1:1 tutorials which occur during each module (Appendix 1, Session 7, p14) throughout the course will also ensure that I am able to keep close track on the progress of this learner, as well as all my learners. The module handbook (Appendix 1), incorporating the scheme of work, or programme of study, as it is referred to within the document, is given to the learners at the start of the module together with a separate Moodle handbook (Appendix 2). Our higher education partner lauds this as good practice (Appendix 1, p5) as the learners are enabled to more clearly see how the intended programme will enable them to develop their knowledge and meet its aims over the specified period, whilst working towards their final or summative assessment. In this regard, deadlines are also clearly stated in the module handbook. Indicative resources are also stated with the use of core texts specified on a weekly basis. The higher education institution defines the underpinning...
References: Business Management Directorate, Recruitment Team (2010) Job Description: Senior Early Years Practitioner, Gloucestershire County Council
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Race, P. and Pickford, R. (2007) Making Teaching Work: ‘teaching smarter’ in post- compulsory education, London, Sage Publications Ltd.
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