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Life Learning Essay Topics

Updated, March 2, 2017 | We published an updated version of this list, “650 Prompts for Narrative and Personal Writing,” as well as a companion piece, “401 Prompts for Argumentative Writing.”


Every school day since 2009 we’ve asked students a question based on an article in The New York Times. Now, five years later, we’ve collected 500 of them that invite narrative and personal writing and pulled them all together in one place (available here as a PDF).

The categorized list below touches on everything from sports to travel, education, gender roles, video games, fashion, family, pop culture, social media and more, and, like all our Student Opinion questions, each links to a related Times article and includes a series of follow-up questions. What’s more, all these questions are still open for comment by any student 13 or older.

So dive into this admittedly overwhelming list and pick the questions that most inspire you to tell an interesting story, describe a memorable event, observe the details in your world, imagine a possibility, or reflect on who you are and what you believe.


Childhood Memories

  1. What Was Your Most Precious Childhood Possession?
  2. What Were Your Favorite Childhood Shows and Characters?
  3. What Were Your Favorite Picture Books When You Were Little?
  4. What Things Did You Create When You Were a Child?
  5. What Places Do You Remember Fondly From Childhood?
  6. Have You Ever Felt Embarrassed by Things You Used to Like?
  7. Do You Wish You Could Return to Moments From Your Past?
  8. Was There a Toy You Wanted as a Child but Never Got?
  9. What Objects Tell the Story of Your Life?
  10. What Are Your Best Sleepover Memories?
  11. What’s the Best Gift You’ve Ever Given or Received?
  12. What’s the Most Memorable Thing You Ever Got in the Mail?
  13. What Nicknames Have You Ever Gotten or Given?

  14. Coming of Age

  15. What Have You Learned in Your Teens?
  16. What Personal Achievements Make You Proud?
  17. What Are Some Recent Moments of Happiness in Your Life?
  18. What Are You Grateful For?
  19. What Rites of Passage Have You Participated In?
  20. What Advice Would You Give Younger Kids About Middle or High School?
  21. What Can Older People Learn From Your Generation?
  22. What Do Older Generations Misunderstand About Yours?

  23. Family

  24. Who Is Your Family?
  25. What Have You and Your Family Accomplished Together?
  26. What Events Have Brought You Closer to Your Family?
  27. What’s Your Role in Your Family?
  28. Have You Ever Changed a Family Member’s Mind?
  29. How Do You Define ‘Family’?
  30. What Are Your Family Stories of Sacrifice?
  31. What Possessions Does Your Family Treasure?
  32. What Hobbies Have Been Passed Down in Your Family?
  33. How Much Do You Know About Your Family’s History?
  34. Did Your Parents Have a Life Before They Had Kids?
  35. How Close Are You to Your Parents?
  36. How Are You and Your Parents Alike and Different?
  37. Do Your Parents Support Your Learning?
  38. What Have Your Parents Taught You About Money?
  39. Do You Expect Your Parents to Give You Money?
  40. How Permissive Are Your Parents?
  41. Do You Have Helicopter Parents?
  42. How Do Your Parents Teach You to Behave?
  43. How Do You Make Parenting Difficult for Your Parents?
  44. If You Drink or Use Drugs, Do Your Parents Know?
  45. Do You Talk About Report Cards With Your Parents?
  46. Would You Mind if Your Parents Blogged About You?
  47. How Well Do You Get Along With Your Siblings?
  48. How Well Do You Know Your Pet?
  49. What Role Do Pets Play in Your Family?
  50. What Is Your Racial and Ethnic Identity?
  51. Have You Ever Tried to Hide Your Racial or Ethnic Identity?
  52. How Do You Feel About Your Last Name?
  53. What’s the Story Behind Your Name?
  54. What Are Your Favorite Names?
  55. How Have You Paid Tribute to Loved Ones?

  56. Community and Home

  57. Would You Most Want to Live in a City, a Suburb or the Country?
  58. How Much Does Your Neighborhood Define Who You Are?
  59. What’s Special About Your Hometown?
  60. What Would You Name Your Neighborhood?
  61. Who Is the ‘Mayor’ of Your School or Neighborhood?
  62. Who Are the ‘Characters’ That Make Your Town Interesting?
  63. What Would a TV Show About Your Town Spoof?
  64. What ‘Urban Legends’ Are There About Places in Your Area?
  65. What Local Problems Do You Think Your Mayor Should Try to Solve?
  66. Do You Know Your Way Around Your City or Town?
  67. Have You Ever Interacted With the Police?
  68. How Often Do You Interact With People of Another Race or Ethnicity?
  69. Who Would Be the Ideal Celebrity Neighbor?
  70. What Is Your Favorite Place?
  71. How Much Time Do You Spend in Nature?
  72. What Small Things Have You Seen and Taken Note Of Today?
  73. What Would Your Dream Home Be Like?
  74. What is Your Favorite Place in Your House?
  75. How Important Is Keeping a Clean House?
  76. Is Your Bedroom a Nightmare?
  77. Do You Plan on Saving Any of Your Belongings for the Future?
  78. With Your Home in Danger, What Would You Try to Save?
  79. What Would You Put in Your Emergency ‘Go-Bag’?
  80. Have You Ever Lost (or Found) Something Valuable?

  81. Personality

  82. What Is Your Personal Credo?
  83. What Motivates You?
  84. What Makes You Happy?
  85. What Are You Good At?
  86. How Much Self-Control Do You Have?
  87. How Good Are You at Waiting for What You Really Want?
  88. What Role Does Procrastination Play in Your Life?
  89. When in Your Life Have You Been a Leader?
  90. How Well Do You Perform Under Pressure?
  91. How Well Do You Take Criticism?
  92. Are You Hard or Easy on Yourself?
  93. How Full Is Your Glass?
  94. Do You Have a Hard Time Making Decisions?
  95. How Good Are You at Time Management?
  96. How Productive and Organized Are You?
  97. How Would Your Life Be Different if You Had Better Listening Skills?
  98. How Competitive Are You?
  99. Do You Perform Better When You’re Competing or When You’re Collaborating?
  100. Do You Take More Risks When You Are Around Your Friends?
  101. Do You Unknowingly Submit to Peer Pressure?
  102. How Much of a Daredevil Are You?
  103. What Pranks, Jokes, Hoaxes or Tricks Have You Ever Fallen For or Perpetrated?
  104. How Do You React When Provoked?
  105. How Often Do You Cry?
  106. Do You Think You’re Brave?
  107. What Are You Afraid Of?
  108. What Are Your Fears and Phobias?
  109. What Are Your Personal Superstitions?
  110. Do You Like Being Alone?
  111. How Impulsive Are You?
  112. Are You a Novelty-Seeker?
  113. What Annoys You?
  114. Do You Apologize Too Much?
  115. Do You Have Good Manners?
  116. Are You a Saver or a Tosser?
  117. Are You More Introvert or Extrovert?
  118. Are You Popular, Quirky or Conformist?
  119. Are You a Nerd or a Geek?
  120. What Would Your Personal Mascot Be?
  121. What Assumptions Do People Make About You?

  122. Overcoming Adversity

  123. What Challenges Have You Overcome?
  124. What Do You Do When You Encounter Obstacles to Success?
  125. What Are Your Secret Survival Strategies?
  126. How Do You Find Peace in Your Life?
  127. How Have You Handled Being the ‘New Kid’?
  128. Do You Ever Feel Overlooked and Underappreciated?
  129. How Stressed Are You?
  130. How Do You Relieve Stress?
  131. Does Stress Affect Your Ability to Make Good Decisions?
  132. What Challenges Have You Set for Yourself?
  133. How Often Do You Leave Your ‘Comfort Zone’?
  134. What Did You Once Hate but Now Like?
  135. Does Your Life Leave You Enough Time to Relax?
  136. Do You Set Rules for Yourself About How You Use Your Time?
  137. Is ‘Doing Nothing’ a Good Use of Your Time?
  138. What’s Cluttering Up Your Life?
  139. What Work Went Into Reaching Your Most Difficult Goals?
  140. When Have You Ever Failed at Something? What Happened as a Result?
  141. When Have You Ever Succeeded When You Thought You Might Fail?
  142. What Life Lessons Has Adversity Taught You?
  143. What’s the Most Challenging Assignment You’ve Ever Had?
  144. What Kind of Feedback Helps You Improve?
  145. Is Trying Too Hard to Be Happy Making You Sad?
  146. Do Adults Who Are ‘Only Trying to Help’ Sometimes Make Things Worse?
  147. What Are Five Everyday Problems That Bother You, and What Can You Do About Them?

  148. Gender and Sexuality

  149. How Do Male and Female Roles Differ in Your Family?
  150. Do Parents Have Different Hopes and Standards for Their Sons Than for Their Daughters?
  151. Is There Too Much Pressure on Girls to Have ‘Perfect’ Bodies?
  152. How Much Pressure Do Boys Face to Have the Perfect Body?
  153. How Did You Learn About Sex?
  154. How Should Parents Address Internet Pornography?
  155. What Experiences Have You Had With Gender Bias in School?
  156. What Have Been Your Experiences With Catcalling or Other Kinds of Street Harassment?
  157. Do You Know Boys Who Regard Girls as ‘Prey’?
  158. Do You Consider Yourself a Feminist?

  159. Morality and Religion

  160. How Do You Help?
  161. What Ethical Dilemmas Have You Faced?
  162. Would You Help an Injured Stranger?
  163. When Is the Last Time You Did Something Nice for a Stranger?
  164. Have You Ever ‘Paid It Forward’?
  165. How Much Do You Gossip?
  166. How Comfortable Are You With Lying?
  167. Have You Ever Taken Something You Weren’t Supposed To?
  168. What Could You Live Without?
  169. Do You Ever Feel Guilty About What, or How Much, You Throw Away?
  170. Do You Ever Eavesdrop?
  171. How Important Is Your Spiritual Life?
  172. Do You Believe That Everything Happens for a Reason?
  173. Can You Be Good Without God?
  174. Are You Less Religious Than Your Parents?
  175. Can You Pass a Basic Religion Test?
  176. What Can You Learn From Other Religions?

  177. Role Models

  178. Who Is Your Role Model?
  179. Who Are Your Heroes?
  180. Who Inspires You?
  181. What’s the Best Advice You’ve Gotten?
  182. Who Outside Your Family Has Made a Difference in Your Life?
  183. If You Had Your Own Talk Show, Whom Would You Want to Interview?
  184. To Whom, or What, Would You Like to Write a Thank-You Note?
  185. What Leader Would You Invite to Speak at Your School?
  186. What Six People, Living or Dead, Would You Invite to Dinner?

  187. Technology and Video Games

  188. Are You Distracted by Technology?
  189. Do You Always Have Your Phone or Tablet at Your Side?
  190. What Tech Tools Play the Biggest Role in Your Life?
  191. What New Technologies or Tech Toys Are You Most Excited About?
  192. To What Piece of Technology Would You Write a ‘Love Letter’?
  193. Does Your Digital Life Have Side Effects?
  194. Do Apps Help You or Just Waste Your Time?
  195. Do You Spend Too Much Time on Smart Phones Playing ‘Stupid Games’?
  196. When Do You Choose Making a Phone Call Over Sending a Text?
  197. Do You Know How to Code? Would You Like to Learn?
  198. Whom Would You Share Your Passwords With?
  199. What Are Your Favorite Video Games?
  200. What Have You Learned Playing Video Games?
  201. Do You Play Violent Video Games?
  202. When Should You Feel Guilty for Killing Zombies?
  203. Who Are Your Opponents in Online Gaming?
  204. Do You Like Watching Other People Play Video Games?

  205. The Internet

  206. How Careful Are You Online?
  207. Do You Ever Seek Advice on the Internet?
  208. How Do You Know if What You Read Online Is True?
  209. How Much Do You Trust Online Reviews?
  210. How Do You Use Wikipedia?
  211. What Are Your Favorite Internet Spoofs?
  212. What Are Your Favorite Viral Videos?
  213. What Would You Teach the World in an Online Video?
  214. What Are Your Experiences With Internet-Based Urban Legends?
  215. What Story Does Your Personal Data Tell?
  216. Do You Worry About the Lack of Anonymity in the Digital Age?
  217. Do You Wish You Had More Privacy Online?
  218. Have You Ever Been Scammed?

  219. Social Media

  220. How Do You Use Facebook?
  221. What Is Your Facebook Persona?
  222. What Memorable Experiences Have You Had on Facebook?
  223. Does Facebook Ever Make You Feel Bad?
  224. Would You Consider Deleting Your Facebook Account?
  225. Do You Have ‘Instagram Envy’?
  226. Do You Use Twitter?
  227. Why Do You Share Photos?
  228. How Do You Archive Your Life?
  229. Have You Ever Posted, Emailed or Texted Something You Wish You Could Take Back?
  230. Have You Ever Sent an Odd Message Because of Auto-Correct?
  231. Would You Want Your Photo or Video to Go Viral?
  232. Do You Worry Colleges or Employers Might Read Your Social Media Posts Someday?

  233. Music

  234. What Are You Listening To?
  235. Who in Your Life Introduces You to New Music?
  236. How Much Is Your Taste in Music Based on What Your Friends Like?
  237. What Music Inspires You?
  238. How Closely Do You Listen to Lyrics?
  239. Which Pop Music Stars Fascinate You?
  240. Who Is Your Favorite Pop Diva?
  241. What’s Your Karaoke Song?
  242. What Song/Artist Pairings Would You Like to Hear?

  243. Movies, Theater and Television

  244. What Were the Best Movies You Saw in the Past Year?
  245. What Movies Do You Watch, or Reference, Over and Over?
  246. What Movies, Shows or Books Do You Wish Had Sequels, Spinoffs or New Episodes?
  247. Do You Like Horror Movies?
  248. Who Are Your Favorite Movie Stars?
  249. Would You Pay Extra for a 3-D Movie?
  250. What Is Your Favorite Comedy?
  251. What Are the Best Live Theatrical Performances You’ve Ever Seen?
  252. Have You Ever Stumbled Upon a Cool Public Performance?
  253. What Role Does Television Play in Your Life and the Life of Your Family?
  254. What Television Shows Have Mattered to You?
  255. Do Your Television Viewing Habits Include ‘Binge-Watching’?
  256. How Often Do You Watch a Television Show When It Originally Airs?
  257. What Old Television Shows Would You Bring Back?
  258. Why Do We Like Reality Shows So Much?
  259. What Ideas Do You Have for a Reality Show?
  260. What Are Your Favorite Commercials?
  261. How Much Are You Influenced by Advertising?

  262. Reading, Writing and Fine Arts

  263. Read Any Good Books Lately?
  264. Do You Read for Pleasure?
  265. What Are Your Favorite Books and Authors?
  266. What Are the Best Things You’ve Read, Watched, Heard or Played This Year?
  267. What Are Your Favorite Young Adult Novels?
  268. What’s on Your Summer Reading List?
  269. What Memorable Poetry Have You Ever Read or Heard?
  270. What Are Your Favorite Cartoons?
  271. What Magazines Do You Read, and How Do You Read Them?
  272. Do You Enjoy Reading Tabloid Gossip?
  273. When Have You Seen Yourself and Your Life Reflected in a Book or Other Media?
  274. Do You Prefer Your Children’s Book Characters Obedient or Contrary?
  275. Do You Read E-Books?
  276. Would You Trade Your Paper Books for Digital Versions?
  277. To What Writer Would You Award a Prize?
  278. Why Do You Write?
  279. Do You Keep a Diary or Journal?
  280. Do You Have a Blog?
  281. Do You Want to Write a Book?
  282. When Do You Write by Hand?
  283. Do You Write in Cursive?
  284. Do You Write in Your Books?
  285. What ‘Mundane Moments’ From Your Life Might Make Great Essay Material?
  286. What’s the Coolest Thing You’ve Ever Seen in a Museum?
  287. What Are the Most Memorable Works of Visual Art You Have Seen?
  288. What Are Your Favorite Works of Art?

  289. Language and Speech

  290. What Are Your Favorite and Least Favorite Words?
  291. What Words or Phrases Do You Think Are Overused?
  292. How Much Slang Do You Use? What Are Your Favorite (Printable) Words?
  293. How Much Do You Curse? Why?
  294. Why Do So Many People Say ‘Like’ and ‘Totally’ All the Time?
  295. Do You Sometimes ‘Hide’ Behind Irony?
  296. How Good Is Your Grammar?
  297. What New Emoticons Does the World Need?
  298. Are You Fluent in Vocal Fry, Creaky Voice or Uptalk?
  299. How Much Information Is ‘Too Much Information’?
  300. When Did You Last Have a Great Conversation?
  301. Do You Speak a Second, or Third, Language?
  302. When Do You Remember Learning a New Word?

  303. School and Teachers

  304. Do You Like School?
  305. What Are You Really Learning at School?
  306. What Are You Looking Forward To, or Dreading, This School Year?
  307. Would You Want to Be Home-Schooled?
  308. Would You Like to Take a Class Online?
  309. Would You Rather Attend a Public or a Private High School?
  310. How Would You Grade Your School?
  311. What Can Other Schools Learn — and Copy — From Your School?
  312. Is Your School Day Too Short?
  313. What Do You Hope to Get Out of High School?
  314. Do You Have Too Much Homework?
  315. Does Your Homework Help You Learn?
  316. What Is Your Best Subject?
  317. What Memorable Experiences Have You Had in Learning Science or Math?
  318. Are You Afraid of Math?
  319. Do We Need a New Way to Teach Math?
  320. What Are the Best Ways to Learn About History?
  321. How Would You Do on a Civics Test?
  322. How Important Is Arts Education?
  323. What Is Your Most Memorable Writing Assignment?
  324. What Would You Like to Have Memorized?
  325. Does Your School Value Students’ Digital Skills?
  326. What Was Your Favorite Field Trip?
  327. Do You Participate in Class?
  328. What Are Your Best Tips for Studying?
  329. Do You Use Study Guides?
  330. Is Everything You’ve Been Taught About Study Habits Wrong?
  331. How Well Do You Think Standardized Tests Measure Your Abilities?
  332. Do You Have a Tutor?
  333. Are Your Grades Inflated?
  334. When Has a Teacher Inspired You?
  335. What Teacher Do You Appreciate?
  336. What Teacher Would You Like to Thank?
  337. What Do You Wish Your Teachers Knew About You?
  338. Do Your Test Scores Reflect How Good Your Teachers Are?
  339. Do Your Teachers Use Technology Well?

  340. School Social Environment

  341. What Role Do School Clubs and Teams Play in Your Life?
  342. Who Has the Power in School Social Life?
  343. How Big a Problem Is Bullying or Cyberbullying in Your School or Community?
  344. Does Your School Seem Integrated?
  345. What’s the Racial Makeup of Your School?
  346. Do You Ever ‘Mix It Up’ and Socialize With Different People at School?
  347. Can Students at Your School Talk Openly About Their Mental Health Issues?
  348. Is Your School a ‘Party School’?
  349. How Common Is Drug Use in Your School?
  350. Do You Know People Who Cheat on High-Stakes Tests?
  351. How Does Your School Deal With Students Who Misbehave?
  352. How Much Does Your Life in School Intersect With Your Life Outside School?
  353. Would You Ever Go Through Hazing to Be Part of a Group?

  354. Senior Year, College and Applications

  355. Where Do You Want to Go to College?
  356. What Are Your Sources for Information About Colleges and Universities?
  357. Is College Overrated?
  358. How Much Does the SAT or ACT Matter in Your Life?
  359. What Personal Essay Topic Would You Assign to College Applicants?
  360. What Qualities Would You Look For in a College Roommate?
  361. What Would You Do With a Gap Year?
  362. What Makes a Graduation Ceremony Memorable?
  363. How Do You Feel About Proms?

  364. Work and Careers

  365. What Are Your Longtime Interests or Passions?
  366. Do You Have a Life Calling?
  367. What Do You Want to Do With Your Life?
  368. Do You Think You Will Have a Career That You Love?
  369. What Investment Are You Willing to Make to Get Your Dream Job?
  370. Would You Consider a Nontraditional Occupation?
  371. Would You Want to Be a Teacher?
  372. What Hidden Talents Might You Have?
  373. What Do You Hope to Be Doing the Year After You Graduate From College?
  374. Would You Rather Work From Home or in an Office?
  375. What Career or Technical Classes Do You Wish Your School Offered?
  376. What ‘Back-to-the-Land’ Skills Do You Have, or Wish You Had?
  377. What Have You Made Yourself?
  378. What Would You Create if You Had Funding?
  379. How Did You Start Doing Something You Love?
  380. Did You Ever Take a Break From Doing Something You Love?
  381. What Have You Done to Earn Money?
  382. Do You Have a Job?
  383. Would You Quit if Your Values Did Not Match Your Employer’s?
  384. What Are Your Attitudes Toward Money?
  385. Can Money Buy You Happiness?
  386. Where Do You See Yourself in 10 Years?
  387. What Do You Want to Be Doing When You’re 80?
  388. Do You Want to Live to 100?
  389. What Do You Want Your Obituary to Say?

  390. Dating and Friendship

  391. Have You Ever Been in Love?
  392. What Are the Most Meaningful Relationships in Your Life?
  393. What Advice Would You Give to Somebody Who Just Started Dating?
  394. What Are the Basic ‘Rules’ for Handling Breakups?
  395. What Are Your Beliefs About Marriage?
  396. Are You Allowed to Date?
  397. Is Dating a Thing of the Past?
  398. Do You Have a Best Friend?
  399. How Do You Feel About Introducing Friends from Different Parts of Your Life?
  400. How Should You Handle the End of a Friendship?
  401. How Often Do You Have ‘Deep Discussions’?

  402. Sports, Exercise and Games

  403. Do You Like to Exercise?
  404. How Has Exercise Changed Your Health, Your Body or Your Life?
  405. Why Do You Play Sports?
  406. What Is the Most Memorable Sporting Event You’ve Ever Watched or Played In?
  407. What’s the Most Impressive Sports Moment You’ve Seen?
  408. When Has a Sports Team Most Disappointed You?
  409. What Sports Teams Do You Root For?
  410. Does Being a Fan Help Define Who You Are?
  411. How Far Would You Go to Express Loyalty to Your Favorite Teams?
  412. What Fan Memorabilia Would You Pay Big Bucks For?
  413. What Rules Would You Like to See Changed in Your Favorite Sports?
  414. What Game Would You Like to Redesign?
  415. What Are Your Favorite Games?

  416. Travel

  417. Where in the World Would You Travel if You Could?
  418. What Is Your Fantasy Vacation?
  419. What Would Your Fantasy Road Trip Be Like?
  420. What Crazy Adventure Would You Want to Take?
  421. How Has Travel Affected You?
  422. What Famous Landmarks Have You Visited?
  423. What’s the Coolest Thing You’ve Ever Seen in Nature?
  424. What Are the Best Souvenirs You’ve Ever Collected While Traveling?
  425. Would You Like to Live in Another Country?
  426. Would You Want to Be a Space Tourist?

  427. Looks, Fashion and Health

Introduction.

Learning is an area of our lives that we all engage in from the time we are born to the time we die. Lifelong learning is of key importance for individuals of all ages with an abundance of benefits. Learning enables the individual to be better informed in daily life and therefore the individual becomes more active in and contributes to society and this makes such individual a better citizen. Lifelong learning contributes to an individual’s personal well being and fulfillment. Lifelong learning supports an individual’s creativity and innovation and as such increases the potential for paid or unpaid work experiences for satisfaction. Quote “Education is the most powerful weapon you can use to change the world” Unquote, and so for me to successfully be able to use inclusive learning and teaching approaches in accordance with internal processes and external requirements I would say requires some form of recognised qualifications.

To complete this unit I will be focusing on my present teaching placement. I am actively involved in the teaching and learning of ESOL students at two separate women’s academy campuses. My input is over two days with two morning sessions and one afternoon session delivering entry level 1&2 basic Mathematics and English as well as level 1&2 functional skills. 1.1 Create a purposeful, inclusive learning and teaching environment. Maslows’ hiearchy of needs tells us that students will not be able to learn effectively if their safety and belonging needs are not met. As such I needed to pay close attention to the physical space and design layout of the classroom. My initial feel for the first classroom/ learning environment that I encountered was congestion by that I mean it was a fair sized room but the layout gave an impression that there wasn’t enough space for students to move about. There were five large desks seating four or five students and so moving from one area to the next meant that some students had to physically stand and maneuver their chairs to access passing. This was where I felt that I needed to connect with the students in such a manner that the subject being taught was of importance; that they enjoyed the learning experience and they understood clearly what was being taught.

Once I placed that into my mind I felt better as these students were here in this learning environment for a few weeks and I am the new person here. I greeted the group with pleasantness and smiles as I entered the room and the response was ever so wonderful seeing all these smiling faces made me feel very welcomed. Their personal tutor gave a short explanation of my presence and asked me to do the honors of my own introduction. I knew there and then that this was my opportune moment and as first impressions count this had to be very good after all I am the new comer. Prior to this I had already met and discussed the different groups that I would be involved with for my teaching practice placement with the Assistant Director for these campus sites and I also knew which teachers I would be co-teaching with as well as the desired days and times. I was made aware of the external requirements and the internal processes for each learner to participate in these learning programs. I knew that each individual had an initial diagnostic assessment to determine the level of learning.

I was made aware of the special needs requirements. Whilst I was happy to be given such information I wanted to check for myself and with respect I could not just accept all of this at face value I would be sure to check the validity of the information shared with me. There is the saying seeing is believing and I needed evidence. Well, as I was saying my initial greeting and purpose was a pleasant and warm one for me as well as the group. I informed them of my past work experiences; that I had a family and my country of origin and where I was educated. I also mentioned places that I had travelled to and worked in the educational arena and eyes lit up with smiles, I knew then that I had captured the attention and to a certain degree the hearts of these wonderful women who wanted to make a difference in society and to themselves by engaging in this learning program. I felt good as I detected that they were even more warm and accommodating and that I had welcomed them into my arena and they accepted me. In continuing to create a purposeful, inclusive learning and teaching environment I needed to acknowledge the diverse make up of the learning group that amounted for celebration as part of the richness in daily life and living.

I asked if the group could individually introduce themselves by saying their names and with permission their country of origin. To continue on the same spirit of connectedness as I am the newcomer who will be involved in their learning I wanted to know from themselves a little about their prior learning experiences from pre- entry level to this entry level 2/3. Amazingly they volunteered family information which I welcomed and thanked them for. Psychologically the students felt safe to share and clearly this also demonstrated a sense of belonging. I had created a safe environment whereby the students took risks and sometimes the information was not directly from the person concerned but from a close colleague in their presence. I felt that this feelings of safety will enable them to ‘have a go’ at answering questions and talking / participating in the classroom activities without fear of being ridiculed. With the above in mind I had to be quite sure that the whole classroom was conducive to this settled environment whereby they all understand firm rules and routines. By this I mean that I emphasizes on the importance of orderliness and tidiness.

This I made quite clear was to enable them to develop and be confident in their roles as students but not to forget that they are responsible adults also and that we all wish to be valued and in the best way possible. Making sure that the classroom is left in a manner that is welcoming for the next group of learners and that we never forget our life skills that we brought into the learning arena. I had observed that the displays in the classroom were inviting and pleasant as well as stimulating. This was reflecting a range of teaching and learning activities. I observed the attractively arranged, effectively labelled, relevant and purposeful displays and I was quite impressed wondering when and what will I be adding to this informative and interactive display. It didn’t take very long for that to happen with display from a field trip involving writing and speaking that reflected the learning process as part of the curriculum highlighting key learning points.

As such the inclusive learning and teaching environment for me was not just in the classroom but out in the wider community and this was most interesting as I observed how the students interacted in a social setting. There was a wide range of reading and learning materials available for the students both in the classroom area as well as in the main library. They were well organised and clearly labelled and accessible. The resources were diverse and this was of absolute necessitity as there are different learning styles. The availability was through visual, aural and kinaesthetic for different experiences. Creating a purposeful inclusive learning and teaching environment was not just about changing attitudes to learning. It was not just about giving all the support needed both internally and externally. It was not just about the all the activities in class and in the community, it was also about the physical layout of the design of the classroom that supported the inclusive and interactive teaching and learning process. Seating and tables in some areas did not give much work space, and did not allow for the flexibility to support work in different contexts.

By this I mean for individual work with the adequate space to place materials on the table without infringing on each others’ work space. Paired work, small group work as well as whole class work had been a concern at times. Limitation for me to move around and be able to see exactly how students were progressing in their given task was inadequate at times. As such with cooperation between the whole group and teachers a bigger and more appropriate room was made available. This new setting enabled the students the opportunity for independence, cooperative learning, collaboration and discussions throughout the teaching activities with eye contact for the learners. This also gave better access to move about the room that enabled me to ensure more purposeful, inclusive learning and teaching. However I had to be mindful of the social and emotional dynamics of the learning group as well as subjects and activities being taught/ delivered. I wanted my students to definitely see the course as being important. I wanted them to understand and enjoy each session because everything has an impact on learning and development. The classroom environment was maintained within the Health and Safety Laws ensuring that all learners were treated fairly and respectfully in that learning environment.

1.2 Demonstrate an inclusive approach to teaching and learning in accordance with internal processes and external requirements. An inclusive approach to teaching and learning is a cooperative relationship between learners and teachers. The starting point to such a relationship was with the college requirements / internal processes based on what the learners were hoping to achieve. This first contact was conducted by senior management at the initial stage of the individual’s learning journey, the initial assessment. From the institution perspective assessment provides statistical information for monitoring the overall performance of the college as well as individual teachers. This also provides information on numbers of students who started the course. The numbers of those who continued and whether successfully passed has been useful in continued recruitments that demonstrates quality and excellence.

However one of the main purpose and is of great importance is that this initial assessment helps to place the learner on the right course. After this initial assessment matching into identified learning groups is of great value for personal tutors as there is an element of control over what is taught. However, and I must stress this, individual learner’s goals must be paramount in the whole process bearing in mind the learning styles identified. A process of matching group interest and individual profile determines the learners interest which is an ongoing internal process with regular updates. This was managed by identifying individual learning targets such as, speaking and listening, reading or writing. Having identified these targets being specific as to how to meet these targets was discussed with the individual learner and this information was documented. Clearly there has to be deadline for achievements with expected documentation. Actual dates of achievements were quite important and by this I mean that some learners achieved positive outcomes before the set expected date and this informed the status of that learner as completing work was documented and dated. For others the documentation on expected outcome was that they had not yet started or that they’re in progress.

This happens in all learning settings as everyone has different learning styles or even a combination of styles that has an impact on how well learning has been achieved under certain conditions. The diagnostic assessments will continue throughout the learning and this is necessary for the continuous support needed for ILPs. ILP is of such great importance in that it must be appropriate for the learning being undertaken, be owned and used by the learner with support and be understood by the learner, basically it’s what the learner desires. I would say that throughout my teaching and learning experience and, this is ongoing I have experienced a range of learning styles with my learning groups. Inevitable I have had to mould the delivery of subject in such a manner that met the needs of the learners. Once this is managed properly the resulting factor will determine the success of achievements in accordance with (QCF) Qualification and Credit Framework.

1.3 Provide opportunities for learners to practice their literacy language, numeracy and ICT skills. The Sector Skills Council for lifelong learning on Inclusive Learning approaches for Literacy, Language, Numeracy and ICT skills in the introduction of the companion document mentions that, “All teachers need to develop an awareness of the literacy, language, numeracy and ICT needs of their learners in order for them to teach their area of specialism.” The document further states that “ All teachers can play an important part in providing opportunities to develop literacy, language, numeracy and ICT within their learning programs.” Teachers get to know their students very well after a little while and as such are able to recognise what interest them most. The initial assessment gives some indication of what they want to learn but the diagnostic assessment informs the ILP. How this process of achievement will happen is based on agreeing goals and actions to achieve those goals. Petty, G (2009, p530) states: “Each learner is unique and has individual needs. If the needs of our learners are discovered and met, the chances of success are greatly increased.”

2.0Be able to communicate with learners and other learning professionals to encourage learning.

2.1Demonstrate communication methods and media to meet the needs of all learners.

2.2Communicate with other learning professionals to meet learner needs and encourage progress.

3.0Understand how technology can enhance learning and teaching.

3.1Analyse ways to use technology to enhance learning and teaching.

3.2Evaluate the benefits and limitations of using technology in learning and teaching.

4.0Understanding expectations of the minimum core in relation to delivering lifelong learning.

There are social stigma attached to literacy numeracy and this often prevents adults from seeking the help they need. It is believed that 1 in 6 adults in the UK are functionally illeterate and this skills gap is preventing the country from fully realising its full economic potential. There are social stigmas attached to this which often prevents adults from seeking the help they need. For such individuals tackling this is the first step to raising aspiration. The psychological feel good factor will allow for increased self esteem and the confidence to reach their full potential. However being illeterate and innumerate and lacking ICT skills does not mean stupidity. You have to on the ball to get through a day in the UK without these skills and so as a teacher delivering lifelong learning I must be able to help learners to overcome these barriers created by socially acceptable norms in this country.

Expectations of the minimum core I believe is that all involved in lifelong learning has a responsibility to ensure that learners are provided with every opportunity to develop literacy, language, numeracy and ICT skills. As such it is important that at the initial assessment and induction of students that literacy, language, numeracy and ICT skills are identified. We must understand that Prior learning should be established and evidenced if at all possible to determine the level attained which will inform achievable goals. Observation at induction and during the course activity to get some idea of the learner performance and what learner’s likes are, also how they like to do things will determine learning styles. Really this boils down to attitudes, skills and knowledge and what will be the motivating factor for the learner’s presence in the classroom.

4.1Review ways in which elements of the minimum core can be demonstrated by delivering lifelong learning. Recognising that literacy, numeracy and ICT programmes must be made easily accessible to the most hard to reach individuals is a key responsibility for the Government. For those who lack the ability to read and write very door appears to be closed. In this present day it is likely that they will e able to apply for jobs as filling in application forms poses some challenges which in effect will make them loose their self worth and confidence. Adults lacking the skills that so many of us take for granted on a daily basis mean that they can’t even support their children’s education which is the future generation. If this is not effectively managed the revolving door syndrome continues as that is what is being seen at present. National statistics reveal that adults with poor numeracy and literacy skills are twice as likely to be unemployed as those who are competent.

4.2Apply minimum core elements in delivering lifelong learning. I will demonstrate this delivery of core elements with evidenced based teaching that I have undertaken and continuing as part of my teaching placement practice.

5.0Be able to evaluate own practice in delivering inclusive learning and teaching.

5.1Review the effectiveness of own use of inclusive learning and teaching approaches in meeting the needs of all learners.

5.2Analyse ways to improve own practice in using learning and teaching approaches to meet the needs of all learners.

5.3 Review ways in which own communication skills could be improved.