Education Term Paper

Title: The role of Inclusive curriculum materials

Student’s Name:

Name of Course:

Institutional Affiliation:

Date Submitted:

Contents

Introduction. 2

Defining an inclusive curriculum.. 3

The Future. 12

Summary. 13

References. 13

Introduction

Curriculum materials are an indispensable teaching tool at all levels of formal learning. Both teachers and students respond to curriculum materials in various ways. The response that is adopted, in most cases, reflects the level of effectiveness and relevance of certain curriculum materials. Therefore, different sets of curriculum materials have different levels of efficacy in the learning environments where they are intended to be used. An inclusive curriculum allows students’ differences in areas such as gender and cultural background to be appreciated. This contributes to differences in the learning styles of the learners.

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   Curriculum materials provide many teacher learning opportunities. The prior knowledge of teachers determines the way in which they respond to different curriculum materials, in terms of both the subject matter and the approaches they use while teaching language arts. It is normal for teachers to spend many hours searching for the best curriculum materials for use in their classes. Most of these teachers draw on their past experiences with the materials, which they take the form of powerful shaping-up of perceptions on teaching language arts.

New teachers tend to be keen on bringing out the different styles of learners through the use of curriculum materials. To ensure that they do not mess up with anything, they tend to start by sticking very close to the curriculum materials that they have at hand. With time, they start learning about both the curriculum and the students. Based on these experiences, they start adjusting what they do. Their use of these materials starts opening up as they start being more willing to be at liberty in terms of curriculum manipulation.

This paper is an analysis of the role of inclusive curriculum materials in shaping up the students’ learning needs. The paper highlights details on students’ differences with regard to gender, different socio-economic and cultural backgrounds and the way these differences are catered for by curriculum materials. Focus is on specific groups since they consist of students who I have had contact with most of the time since I started teaching the TAFE curriculum. The differences have contributed greatly to the different teaching methods that I use in order to meet the individual learning needs of different students. The issue of training in this context is addressed in the context of the use of the Tourism, Hospitality, & Events Training Package. Focus is on course material as well as how my individual experiences contribute to how I understand the need for accessibility, support and relevance of education to all students. In engaging in this effort, I will discuss the way I understand my role as a trainer, the current strengths, emerging issues, challenges and my role as a teacher in overcoming learner differences in order to meet all teaching and learning needs.

Defining an inclusive curriculum

The term ‘inclusive curriculum’ refers to a curriculum whereby emphasis is on strengths although the needs of all students are accommodated in the classroom. The term ‘inclusion’ points to the integration of all students with developmental delays and disabilities into the classroom environment. However, the inclusive curriculum propounds the concept in order to include students who have varying abilities, gender as well as those who are at a high risk of dropping out of school or becoming school failures. Such students are targeted regardless of whether they come from minority cultures or have limited English skills. Th. e institution, as a result, aims at successfully educating all students who attend classes while celebrating their resultant diversity

The most essential thing in my experience is that contribution has largely been through my role as a facilitator/trainer in delivering the subject matter. My experiences also related to my ability to understand the training package in its entirety, its qualification framework, its assessment guidelines, and its competency standards. I consider myself as a highly-skilled facilitator, who is more concerned with issues of how to facilitate knowledge, attitudes, and skills rather than just train myself. My goal within an inclusive curriculum remains to guide, help, and refocus learners without making them aware that they have severe difficulties.

Recently, my industry position, as well as my role as an expert in Commercial Cookery, have been of much help in enabling students to understand the concepts that I have been teaching them. The students have been relating strongly to my industry currency and experience. For this reason, I have been able to offer them an inclusive curriculum, which requires me to make use of different teaching strategies in order to alienate any of my students. I also take the position of a bridge between learners and their learning experiences, ideally as a facilitator. In this context, I see my role in this competency-based training as that of making things less difficult for students to grasp as possible. I always strive to understand how I can break down my lesson plans in the simplest of terms. Moreover, I do this by anticipating and identifying student problems as well as providing and recommending support. This is the way in which I am able to guide all their discussions and direct them to materials, references and many other resources that I consider appropriate in their learning processes.

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 A striking example is when I am giving 1-2-1 tuition to all students from non-English Speaking Backgrounds (NESB) or reader assistance in the course of theory exams. In the latter case, I identify students with the need for learner support, either in the way of literacy and numeracy testing or by way of class interaction. The assistance also extends to those students with a need for financial support, whereby uniforms and equipment are provided free of charge in efforts to assist them to complete the entire course.

Moreover, I have also participated in arranging work experience in different commercial kitchens with the aim of assisting students, particularly females, in getting work placement with various female head chefs in the industry. All these measures are aimed at ensuring that there are fairness and accessibility, support and relevance in terms of educational assistance. I am convinced that because of my past experience in a management position in a 5-star hotel gives me many insights into how to undertake placement assistance activities. Moreover, I have worked a lot with staff members from NESB and Aboriginal areas and I appreciate the contribution of females in the workplace. This experience prepares me to facilitate fruitful training to all these groups.

Through relationships with students, I have come to consider competency-based training as the best informal method compared to all other approaches that are currently in use in TAFE. This approach ensures that teaching activities are undertaken from the front and not from behind the desk (Smith & Keating, 1997, ). Ultimately, this allows me to maintain a more fluid relationship and the ability to work much closer with all students, which in turn helps me in the task of building an inclusive curriculum. This yields the ability for stronger teacher-student relationships to be nurtured.

During my industry and TAFE (Technical and Further Education) experiences, I was very much involved with the commencement of the pilot of the 2008 Tasting Success Program. This was a mentoring program for woman chefs, which was being undertaken in conjunction with the Tourism, Hospitality, and Events Training Package. The program had been introduced in order to increase the likelihood of participants being able to complete their apprenticeship as well as to embark on a hospitality career that would elevate them to senior leadership positions within the hospitality industry. The program is already gaining momentum by way of proving successful. I believe that a similar scheme for use by Aboriginal chefs and those with diverse cultural backgrounds would be equally, if not more viable. This is an excellent example of how the changing Australian labor market is recognized. The program also recognizes the fact that the market is very different from the way it was 25 years ago, mainly because of a rise in participation levels of females.

Since I commenced university studies, I have ended up increasing my awareness as well as an appreciation for Vocational Education and Training (VET) and TAFE in Australia as a crucial gateway for all disadvantaged persons. Australia, much like in most other countries, already has deeply entrenched advantages and disadvantages of labor market patterns. In general, terms, being Australian-born, residing in the city, not having spent any time in an institution, belonging to the middle class, not disabled and being non-aboriginal makes someone have a high likelihood of gaining better employment and higher status in society. These patterns are clearly discernible in education. People who have higher education levels have less likelihood of remaining unemployed. Moreover, they are more likely to gain a high status and to get a highly-paid job.

   The majority of the people who are currently undertaking different VET programs have already taken positions in the labor market, whereby they are either employed part-time or full-time or belong to the category of the unemployed people who are seeking employment. Moreover, the majority of those who have already completed post-school training and education also belong to this category. For this reason, VET is being undertaken for very many reasons and purposes (Golding and Volkoff, 1997). Some students pursue VET in order to gain competencies or skills while others aim to become employment after completing the vocational training.

There is limited access to the labor market and higher education for those people who are in disadvantaged positions (NTIS, 2009). This is mainly because of many requirements regarding entry into the course, including fees. For this reason, access to VET is of importance. Moreover, VET forms a viable alternative to affordable higher education to these disadvantaged groups. Part of the VET’s charter is to provide a wide range of educational programs that meet the community’s diverse needs and the improvement of equity in access to education.

   However, patterns depicting unequal access to VET exist all over Australia. Access to this form of training, particularly skilled trades, is currently highly skewed against women. Although the level of participation by disadvantaged groups in the country is good, there is a need for continued focus on different client groups, including women, Aboriginal people, Torrent Strait Islanders, and people from NESB (E. Smith & Keating, 1997).

Many reforms have also been achieved in Tourism, Hospitality, and Events Training Package over the past 10 years. Currently, it incorporates special practical electives that focus on different multicultural cuisines. They also expose the participants to diverse working environments as they endeavor to reach out to more and more customers. Ten years ago, such a form of training was unheard of. The subjects are a very excellent way in which to show the manner in which the industry is accommodating and meeting the diverse needs of the diverse Australian population.

It could be debated that some of the modules in the program are not being fully exploited and that sometimes, they have not been incorporated into the mainstream curriculum course. For instance, some courses are tailored specifically for Aboriginal students, while others tend to be handled by even students from other disadvantaged groups. I feel that such a measure only segregates students instead of providing a truly inclusive curriculum. In efforts to reflect a changing society, the majority of units should be made compulsory to all students. This would ensure that the principle of inclusivity in curriculum materials is safeguarded. in such a context, it would be up to the teacher to find a way of meeting the needs of the disadvantaged groups within the bounds of the inclusive curriculum.

Service Skill Australia is the body responsible for handling consultations on training package development in diverse groups, via presage. These groups include aboriginal, female and multicultural organizations. Their work is also to offer assistance with language and literacy, workplace English, and many other excellent resources, for instance, Roadmap to Country. I have already read and extensively utilized this resource in efforts to enhance my own teaching activities as well as increase my understanding of the Aboriginal community and culture. This has enabled me to incorporate different training needs that apply only to the Aboriginal community. Teachers would benefit in the same way in their efforts to gain professional development in their training work. However, sometimes, students are unwilling to acknowledge and accept their Aboriginal background because they fear being ostracized. In such cases, it becomes very difficult for assistance to be offered.

There is a need for an increase in teacher involvement in efforts to promote aboriginal awareness. The awareness should be geared towards enabling students to succeed by being properly prepared for an understanding of the outside world and the challenges that await them there.  Assistance from aboriginal staff would be greatly valued although general education teachers should never shy away from undertaking similar responsibilities in order to improve the current system.

TAFE may also be regarded as an increasingly proactive system with regard to the way policies are investigated in order to facilitate access and equity among all students. The system promotes equity in education access by aboriginal students as well as those with multicultural backgrounds. Such measures are a reflection of the awareness raised by the government, through, for instance, the Community Relations Commission, the Anti-Discrimination Act 1977, and Principles of Multiculturalism Act 2000. As an employee, these efforts make me proud as well as offering me a feeling of support.

The other way in which TAFE is advantageous regards the mode of delivering learning activities. Learning activities may be defined simply as all those activities that are offered to learners in teacher-learning situations, whose design is to facilitate the acquisition of designated content, thereby achieving the stated objectives, and broadly, the intent of the curriculum. As a teacher, my greatest ability lies in ensuring that I am meeting all my learners’ individual needs in classroom situations. The varied learning activities that are associated with TAFE greatly facilitate the students’ ability to benefit from an inclusive curriculum. This is because not all students can learn equally well when similar strategies are employed. Moreover, certain teacher-learning approaches are applicable only in some situations and not in others. Moreover, no single teaching method is superior to all others.

Interactive teaching is one of the varied methods that I always use during teaching activities. This method incorporates deliberate encouragement of an interaction between the teacher and the learner. In this type of learning, the emphasis is on effectiveness and efficiency in the use of resources, learner participation and use of resources. I find this approach an excellent way through which to engage all students as well as share experiences, particularly considering that in most cases, students come from diverse backgrounds (Print, 1993).

Since the commencement of the course, an understanding of individualization has also heavily contributed to my deep-seated belief in the need for accessibility, support and relevance of education to all students. The most essential features of today’s individualized learning include the need for learners to complete tasks that are appropriate to their level of ability. From this point, the learners proceed within learning, whereby their own pace is the main determinant of the scope of learning that they undertake.

The amount of focus that is put on responsibility for learning varies depending on the relationship between the teacher and the learner. Meanwhile, considerable learning is often undertaken independent of this relationship. In classroom practicals, for instance, different dishes are broken down into various phases, whereby students initially students observe a demonstration. Afterward, they return to their workspaces in order to complete the tasks in their own chosen time.

Learning activities in TAFE involve highly structured learning kits, which are used in an individualized setting. The kits offer all learners an opportunity to proceed with their work using a sequence of learning tasks that can be undertaken at one’s individual pace. These tasks can be adjusted by the learner with regard to the level of difficulty and complexity. For this reason, students with prior experience can join a particular level. If need be, students with special needs such as numeracy and literacy support can seek these forms of assistance.

An important feature of such a programmed instruction is that learning tasks are divided into small, easily-sequenced study units. For example, tasks in Methods of Cookery 1 may entail making stock, task demonstration, and replication of various tasks and sub-tasks by the students. It would be absurd to assume that learners are going to replicate the technique adopted in its entirety. This is where the task subdivisions become extremely helpful. From this perspective, students can troubleshoot problems as they arise. The teacher’s role is only to identify the students who require additional support. Students who work through all the required units receive immediate feedback relating to the effectiveness of their activities. This creates a stimulus-response control system of programmed instruction.

The benefits of the teaching-learning strategy of individualization are vested almost entirely in the learner. Student learning is only powerful in situations where individualization is perceived in light of personal resolution to interesting problems. The additional advantage of individualization is that students’ needs are met more appropriately and that students can always progress at their own desired pace (Print, 1993).

Finally, I feel that the most effective way of facilitating learning is to continually involve them in different learning situations that are as real-life-like as possible. In commercial cookery, this is done in all practical aspects of the course through simulation activities undertaken in various TAFE kitchens. Th. e simulations involve a play-out of the experiences that students will encounter in commercial kitchens in this industry. Currently, trade apprentices are also continually undertaking most of their training activities in the workplace. However, for a non-trade student, practical work does not seem essential. This applies to both non-trade teachers and students since these skills are not directly transferable in the workplaces where they aspire to work in the future.

As a teacher with prior trade experience in predominantly large international hotels, I tend to share my personal knowledge, particularly with regard to various international multicultural members of staff as well as successful female chefs mentors. Hence, with regard to commercial cookery, the student must simply learn by doing in order for classroom learning activities to be helpful (Print, 1993).

The Future

As a teacher, I consider the greatest influences to be those that are achieved via a hidden curriculum. A hidden curriculum is a powerful tool of saturating the learner’s consciousness on a daily basis. The signs that are found in foyers, corridors, and on staffroom doors merely carry messages of acceptance, rejection or legitimation. For instance, the differences in the perception of messages received by a newly-arrived immigrant regarding their own cultural legitimacy and identity and level of acceptability in a school would be clearly discernible if the immigrant’s own language was used, compared to a situation where the English language was used.

Many of the messages contained in the hidden curriculum are concerned with issues of authority, power, participation, and access. These are strong messages that continually shape the learners’ view of the world, their reality, and their ideologies. Similarly, the messages expressed in the hidden curriculum relate directly to concepts of ethnicity, gender, race, and socio-economic status (Smith & Lovat, 2003). Our teaching practices communicate strong messages. As teachers, we have a powerful potential to convey positive, equitable and fair messages through the teaching practices that we continually undertake.

Teachers are key stakeholders in the curriculum and their training efforts are critical in the dissemination of skills and knowledge since they are the ones who are entrusted with the task of implementing curriculum guidelines that govern every school. Yet they have a more important role of interpreting these guidelines and adding a pedagogical dimension in order to synthesize day-to-day curriculum experiences that are responsive to students’ needs. In reality, therefore, teachers act as mediators of the curriculum (Brady & Kennedy, 2007). This is where, again, we need to offer support to students through maintaining a good understanding of their social, academic, and professional backgrounds.

Statistics indicate that training and development among females have generated a massive positive impact within the last ten years. What was initially a male-dominated industry is now opening up to females, who engage in trade as well as middle and senior management activities. I feel that greater focus ought to be on aboriginal training in order for similar outcomes to be achieved.

Summary

In summary, I feel that there is a need for education to be accessible, relevant and supportive to all students. The position of a teacher is a highly privileged and influential one. Teachers have the ability to effectively implement the curriculum in a way that ensures that the needs of minority groups are catered for. Leadership by example ought to be the standard measure of setting classroom foundations for diversity. This will ensure that diversity is celebrated rather than wished away by both teachers and learners. In such a context, it will be possible for the curriculum to be supportive, relevant and accessible to both majority and minority groups.

References

Brady, L., & Kennedy, K. (2007) Curriculum construction, Sydney: Pearson Education.

Golding, V.& Volkoff, F. (1997) Summary report of access and equity literature on VET in Australia: Barriers, strategies and policies, Brisbane: Australian National Training Authority.

NTIS (2009) SIT07 V2.2 Tourism, Hospitality and Events Training Package, retrieved from http://www.ntis.gov.au/Default.aspx?/trainingpackage/SIT07/download,  on October 6, 2010.

Print, M. (1993). Curriculum Development and Design: Sydney: Allen & Unwin Crows Nest Australia.

Smith, D. & Lovat, T. (2003) Curriculum: Action on reflection (4 ed.), Darwin: Social Science Press.

Smith, E. & Keating, J. (1997). Making sense of training reform and competency-based training, Melbourne: Social Science Press.

Bibliography:

Brady, L., & Kennedy, K. (2007). Curriculum construction: Sydney: Pearson Education.

Curriculum”, I. from http://www.ncrel.org/sdrs/areas/issues/students/earlycld/ea4lk46.htm

NTIS (2009). SIT07 V2.2 Tourism, Hospitality and Events Training Package. From http://www.ntis.gov.au/Default.aspx?/trainingpackage/SIT07/download

Print, M. (1993). Curriculum Development and Design: Allen & Unwin Crows Nest Australia.

Procedures”, C. P. from https://www.det.nsw.edu.au/policiesinter/category.do?level=Corporate

Smith, D., & Lovat, T. (2003). Curriculum: Action on reflection (4 ed.): Social Science Press.

Smith, E., & Keating, J. (1997). Making sense of training reform and competency-based training: Social Science Press.

Success”, T. from http://www.sit.nsw.edu.au/scholarships/?Media_Index_ID=1801&area=scholarships

Tovey, M., & DR, L. (2004). Training in Australia: design, delivery, evaluation, management: Pearson Education Australia.

Acronyms

NESB—– Non-English Speaking Background

VET——-        Vocational Education & Training

TAFE——       Technical & Further Education

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