The Individual Learner
The Individual Learner
???Helping??? is an active process by which you enable and encourage learners to take more control over their own lives.
The Individual Learner (2009, p. 10).
The author is conducting a course on the needs and welfare of people with disabilities. It has been noticed that a couple of the learners have become disengaged in the group and have handed in their assignments late. The author has arranged a meeting with all of the students on a one to one basis to find out how they are progressing and to assist them in any difficulties that they may have. They have been assured that anything said in the meeting is confidential and some have agreed to be filmed as they have the full trust in the author and footage will only be used for use by the learner or the author. The learner that is present in this meeting is a lady by the name of Trish who works for the HSE West. The author believes that there may be a problem and hopes that he may be able to help in some way.
The author hopes that in this meeting he has the core values of a skilled helper, and displays the following skills; attending active listening, facilitative helping and authorative helping as mentioned in the module The Individual Learner (2009). These core values have helped the author to recognise that there may be a problem, and secondly sincerely hopes that he can help Trish with her problem if one arises.
The author and learner hope that from watching the footage that they can resolve any problems that may arise in the meeting if not all ready solved. Also by reviewing the meeting, can further analyse what was discussed and how it was perceived and portrayed on both sides. The author would like to be able to assist the learner to solve any issues herself or if the issues are to do with the author to be able to seek a compromise with the learner.
Having rewatched the DVD the author has identified that there is much room for improvement in the following areas;
??? Active listening.
The author has noted that his appearance was somewhat untidy and that he failed to ask if the learner would like some water. On meeting the learner the author failed to reiterate that any conversation or recording between the author and the learner was strictly confidential.
On examining the DVD the author believes that he may have come across too assertive, although the author praised the learner by telling her that she had done well in the course so far, he then fifty five seconds into the conversation had come to the main point of the meeting, i.e. ???any problems with the course???, the learner replied ???no???, the author then replied ???you were late with your Module???. This on observation, made the learner very uneasy which the author notices and unsettles him.
By not stating which module in particular made the learner tell him the one which gave her the most difficulty, and in this case it was the module about law. The author should have put more planning into his meeting as he kept looking at his notes on the learner and the course she was doing. The author was also fiddling with a pen; this itself could give the impression to the learner that he was not giving his full attention to the situation in hand. Due to the direct nature the way the author asked the question and by not having portrayed himself in a more professional way could have brought the meeting to end. The author could have worked up to the question more gradually. Non-possessive warmth in his tone of voice, the way greeted the learner and his facial expression, and maybe this is the reason why the learner felt she could be so forth coming with her reply.
The learner was very open towards the author and perhaps the same could be said in reverse. He showed accurate empathy as he listened very carefully to what the learner had to say and repeated some key words to draw on elaboration on certain aspects he thought might be an issue i.e. at one minute and twenty five seconds the author repeats ???relevant how do you mean not relevant??? this draws on the learner to express her thoughts and the reasons why she feels the way she does and to see if there was anything that she could use in her work life that was in the particular module that would be of benefit to her.
The author finds common ground two minutes and thirty three seconds into the conversation, the learner states that ???she would hope not to find herself in a court case??? and the author replies ???I also would hope not to find you in that situation??? and they both laugh, at this point, the author repeats the question.
At three minutes and forty seconds the author uses catalytic interventions to get the learner to examine her own thoughts about having difficulties, by saying that the assignment was late and had the learners circumstances changed because her work was always on time. It is here the learner comes forward with her home situation and explains about difficulties i.e. children, work, home, husband and her in laws. The author asks if there is anything he or the institution can assist with, that will help the learner. At five minutes and twenty seconds the learner states that ???it??™s not the be all or end all if she has not her assignment in on time???. The author explains that this attitude could lead to serious consequences later on in the course.
The author made a grave error seven minutes twenty seconds by not having diverted his phone. This was not only rude but should he was not giving his full, undivided attention to the learner.
The author did attempted to use the FLOWER technique as cited in The Individual Learner (2009, p.52).with some success.
??? F faced the learner face to face.
??? L Leaned towards the learner on occasions when try to get the learner to engage.
??? O Open posture was achieved.
??? W Watch the author watched for changes in body language.
??? E Eye contact was made on most occasions.
??? R Relax – both the learner and the author seemed relaxed.
The author has found out why the learner is having difficulty after seven minutes and thirty seconds and has given his view on how he himself has dealt with the same problems over the years and sympathises with them and offers some ways of overcoming the learner??™s problems.
??? Housework – deferring it to another time.
??? Children – come first.
??? Understanding that her husband does not agree with her studying at two in the morning, but also understanding that she says that it??™s the only time she can do her coursework.
??? By suggesting that she places a picture over her work station to remind her of her goals and achievements.
??? By suggesting that the learner throws in the towel makes the learner rethink the situation.
??? By suggesting that the learner has a new life with new friends.
??? Stating that the book/study groups may help.
??? By offering help.
??? Stating that the learner can always call if she has any difficulty.
The author tries to find out why the learner thinks that some of the course work is ???boring???, at eleven minutes and forty eight seconds. This shows that though eye contact is not always made that the author is listening to everything the learner is saying. At approximately fourteen minutes the author states again that the learner has the help from the course providers and makes a small humorous comment about not ringing them at home. The author try??™s to give the learner the foresight to continue and carry on with her studies
The author acknowledges that he may not have used all the Ten Steps for Action or all the 5WH Framework of Analysis cited in The Individual Learner (2009, p.229) in his approach but used a combination of both and hopes that he??™s intervention may have helped the learner.
The author concludes that he made some vital errors in the manner in which he conducted the meeting with the learner
??? Not letting the learner finish what she was saying.
??? Not having his phone diverted.
??? Lack of preparation for the meeting.
??? Untidy appearance.
??? Not using the ten step action plan in sequence.
??? Not enforcing the flower technique.
??? Imposing one??™s own beliefs on the learner.
??? Not giving his full undivided attention.
The author also has many strengths that the module has highlighted
Sincere concern for his learners.
Listens and picks up on key words.
Encourages the learner to take control.
Finds common ground with the learner.
The author has, by observation learnt that he has many strengths and weaknesses that should and must be worked on to enable him and his learners to benefit. By implementing the aims and objective set out in the module The Individual Learner, (2009) hopes he maybe able to achieve them.
NUI Galway Open Learning Centre 2009, The Individual Learner, course module,
BA Degree Programme in Training and Education, NUI Galway Open Learning Centre