Introduction By assuming the role of teacher, you automatically take on responsibility for your students. That responsibility is not only for their physical wellbeing but also their emotional needs too. Students need to feel safe in the learning environment and to be sure that you as the tutor are aware of anything with the potential to upset the atmosphere in the classroom and to have systems in place to prevent this. “The teachers primary objective is to facilitate learning” Wallace( 2007:167 ).
As a teacher within the transport and logistics sector, in order to meet this objective, I need to ensure that I am meeting and applying all relevant and current legal requirements. For example, the Highway Code (2007 p. 4) states that “many of the rules in the code are legal requirements, and if you disobey these rules you are committing a criminal offence. ” It is therefore essential that i am aware of current legislation to enable me to teach my students correct procedures. There are also other trade specific legislations and codes of practice with which i have a legal responsibility to adhere to.
These would be specifically: Lifting Operation and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998 – This is a HSE approved code of practice which regulates the training on and use of lifting equipment, eg Fork lift trucks. Rider Operated Lift Trucks Operator Training (L117) – This is another approved code of practice which covers Lift truck operator training. These regulations and codes of practice are adhered to alongside other legislation which i must consider whenever putting a course together. PUWER 1998 (reg 9, i & ii) states that ‘any persons using self propelled mobile work equipment must have adequate training. , so my primary thoughts are that each individual student gets that adequate training. The Health and Safety at work etc. Act 1974 is another very important piece of legislation to be considered when putting a course together. This states that I have a duty of care for myself and any other person affected by my acts or omissions.
My students of course fall into this category so i need to ensure the training environment is free from physical risks and hazards. The Equality Act (2010), this act ensures that every student feels equally valued and nvolved and not discriminated against because of race, sexual orientation, gender, religious beliefs, age or disability. Due to the nature of our industry we find a lot of diversity in our students so this is especially important to think about before any course is started. A good example of this is that I recently had a student from Eastern Europe who had difficulty with reading and writing in English. To help this student and also for future use we had our handouts and booklets translated into their native language and gave them assistance throughout the theory examination which they needed to pass to gain the qualification.
On this occasion the student was successful. The Data Protection Act (2003), as a company we hold a lot of personal data on previous trainees and students so it is vitally important that we are trained and regulated in ensuring that data is kept secure. As a teacher I have regular training on this matter and all trainees must give us their permission for us to put them on the National Operators Register (NORS). This information is kept in secure cabinets locked away in the archive store with access restricted to authorised personnel only.
Of course I am also bound by my own company policies on Health and safety and Equality and I am issued with safe methods of work on an annual basis. The regulations and legislation mentioned above also form part of our teaching criteria on certain courses we offer so therefore form part of our reference material for students. Other points of referral for students we recommend would include other more experienced users of the type of equipment trained on. These can be an extremely good source of information for someone freshly qualified.
There are also publications students can obtain such as EU Regulation 561/2006 Drivers hours regulations, The Highway Code and operators handbooks. If looking for external points of referral we would recommend agencies such as the Vehicle Operator Services Agency (VOSA) and the Driving Standards Agency (DSA) or trade associations such as the Road Haulage Association (RHA) and the Freight Transport Association (FTA) Of course whilst teaching any students, as teachers we must behave in a totally professional manner at all times. That means both inside the classroom and out of it, and both in the presence of students and whilst away from them.
Inside the classroom boundaries must be set. The students must understand my role and authority, these can be laid out at the start of the course when establishing the ground rules to be adhered to. Some of my own students can be and very often are very experienced in their field so can sometimes feel undermined in the classroom. This sometimes makes it difficult to establish boundaries, for example, i recently had to retrain one of my colleagues and peers on a piece of equipment on which they had more operating experience than myself.
This was quite embarrassing for both of us to start but once the ground rules had been set and explained the situation was eased and a professional relationship was established. Outside the classroom too it is vitally important that your students don’t witness you being in any way unprofessional or doing anything to jeopardise your authority over the course. This would include showing favouritism to any student or group of students. The use of social media is also an important consideration nowadays, with lots of people having access to your personal life and activities. For example, facebook and Twitter have become extremely popular enabling eople to share information, photographs and experiences, which can of course be very useful to course members as a way of communicating and encouraging each other through the course. It can however be used as a tool to undermine authority in extreme cases, so again a line has to be drawn between teacher and student. The roles and responsibilities I have as a teacher differ, as I see my role as that of a tutor and mentor to my students passing on my knowledge and experience with a view to them gaining the skills and confidence they need to progress in their chosen field.
My responsibilities as a teacher are to ensure the students get the best possible learning experience and to get that in a safe and pleasant environment. Conclusion There are both trade specific and more general pieces of legislation which regulate the learning environment and the way the students behave and are treated whilst learning. To be a good and successful teacher then we need to be fully aware and conversant with these to ensure all students feel safe and valued whilst in your classes and all boundaries are understood and maintained by both parties. Once the boundaries are established and legislative guides met then a safe and pleasurable learning experience will provide successful outcomes and results.
Wallace S (2007) Teaching, Tutoring and training in the lifelong learning sector. Exeter:Learning Matters DSA for the Department for Transport (revised 2007) The Official Highway Code The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 approved code of practice