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Solvent Abuse

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I begin by referring back to the teaching 'package' on . As I stated then the package was developed after some concern was expressed by newly appointed Nursing Assistants (Student Group). Individuals felt that their was a deficit in their personal knowledge on illicit substance misuse as a whole which included . This was an initial reason for developing the package, a learning need had been identified. This brings me on to discussing defining what teaching actually is, the principles of teaching and what approach I could adopt.
So, what is teaching ? There have been many, many definitions throughout the years including Peters(1977) teaching, 'includes a host of activities that have in common the structuring of a situation in such a way that something can be learned'. Also, 'the primary aim of teaching, then, is that in a variety of ways, when it happens, it helps other's learn' (Joyce & Weil 1986) to Curzon(1985) who suggests, 'that teaching should be considered as the deliberate and systematic creation and control of the conditions in which learning does occur'.
More difficult, perhaps, was deciding what approach or principle of teaching would be most appropriate to adopt. The principle of pedagogy, described by Knowles(1973) as, 'the Art of Science of Teaching Children' suggests the traditional 'teacher-centred' approach which implies the student is a passive recipient of teaching. The student is dependent on the teacher who controls and makes the major decisions regarding what the student reliant on the transmission made form teaching i.e. telling the student, the main subject centred (Hinchliff 1992). Compared to the theory of androgogy, 'the Art of Science of Helping Adults to Learn' (Knowles 1973), which is an 'adult' or 'student-centred' approach to learning which implies the student is an active learner. A partnership is developed between student and teacher. The emphasis is on the process rather than on the product of learning. As Kenworthy & Nicklin(1994) describe, 'teaching as applied to the androgogy theory is concerned with the creation of positive learning environments and provision of effective learning opportunities'. It includes calling on life experiences and experience of the different roles of adulthood....based on needs related on what the individual wants to know, or needs to know in order to be able to do things....(Hinchliff 1992).
A discussion on androgogy versus pedagogy can be found in Woodrow(1993).

Due to the differences highlighted in the pedagogical and the androgogical principles of teaching I decided to take an approach best described as synagogy. The principle of synagogy draws on both 'student' and 'teacher-centred' approaches to make full use of 'expert' knowledge within learning groups through shared experiences. The student group identified their learning needs however, due to factors such as resources, the time available to relay knowledge and information and the various experiences of the individuals, I felt it necessary to identify a teacher role for the package to be implemented, making the decisions about what information to give and in what sequence. Ideally I would have preferred the package to be more self-directed with the individual students taking on board the responsibility of their own learning (Hinchliff 1992). Bearing this in mind going through each of the sessions lesson plans although I have identified 'key' areas to cover I have also encouraged active involvement of the student group through a systematic approach to learning. This leads us to the component of learning and how I have designed the package to facilitate the learning process.

Like teaching, learning has been defined in numerous ways, Jarvis(1988) states, 'learning is the acquisition of knowledge, skills and attitudes by study, experience or teaching'. Curzon(1985) goes on to describe learning as the, 'apparent modification of a person's behaviour through his activities and experiences so that his knowledge skill's and attitudes, including modes of adjustment towards his environment, are changed, more or less permanently'. Kenworthy & Nicklin(1994) recall learning as, 'the measurable effect of the sum total of the planned and unplanned experiences upon the student, in both quantitative and qualitative terms'.

Again, like teaching. there are many theories of learning, most of which have been derived by psychologists. It has been important to be aware of some of these when I have devised my teaching package;

Behaviourism indicates that learning occurs as a result of an individual's response to a given stimulus. Thorndike(1933) believed that the greater the pleasure obtained from the learning experience, the more learning that will occur, the more meaningful the act to the student, the greater will be the resultant learning; practice makes perfect, provided the action is seen to be meaningful.

With this in mind I have attempted to make the individual sessions and so the package as a whole as interesting as possible, given the afore mentioned constraints, so the student group want to learn, their enthusiasm is maintained in the subject matter and so 'nurturing' the learning process. As I previously mentioned the topic was initiated by the student group so initial enthusiasm was present and, by including practical exercises this gives the student an opportunity to demonstrate skills, addressing strengths and deficit areas in a positive manner and so increasing self confidence.

The Gestalt school of psychologists theory concentrates around the process of learning through problem-solving and discovery. The process by which the problem is solved and the learning that takes place, is considered to be ...

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