There are many different ways that teachers and trainers in lifelong teaching systems work to ensure that they are providing an optimal educational environment for their students, maintaining professional boundaries, and ensuring conformity to legislation. I believe that there are a very specific set of responsibilities and roles as a teaching professional, which are listed above. I would argue that the most important way to abide by these, and thus the most fundamental responsibility, is that of clear, open and direct communication. The process of creating this assists a trainer in understanding their role, and helps make sure that appropriate roles are abided by. Much has been written about the roles and responsibilities of lifeling learning instructors (Gravells 2012). One of the greatest challenges is that this is an incredibly diverse set of educational situations with widely varied groups of teachers and learners, and that a catchall definition often will fail to appreciate the subtle challenges of each role. One of the best ways to ensure that, as an instructor, these roles are understood by everyone involved, including the instructor, is to set a plan of articulation of these roles. This process will force the instructor to evaluate their goals, their learning environment, and all applicable regulations. While the purpose may be to communicate with students, it has the added benefit of clarifying things for the instructor as well. Clearly set expectations can help in a wide variety
of ways. The most important of these is setting and maintaining professional boundaries. As Gravells (2012) notes, it is important to "set and maintain professional boundaries" and to not "become too personal" with students. This boundary maintenance can be difficult at the best of times, as teachers and trainers are also expected to connect well with their students; in lifelong teaching situations it is even more difficult as teachers and trainers are usually in age and in many other ways more peers of their students than authority figures. The easiest way to ensure that these boundaries is to make sure they are assertively communicated at the outset of any teaching-learning course. It can be very difficult to attempt to establish boundaries after the fact - this will usually only occur when a instructor already realizes that their relationship is slipping into too personal a sphere. Articulating boundaries at the outset can stop such slipping from happening, help the instructor clarify their own relationship with students, and also serve as an important reference point for any future conversations; instructors would be able to simply refer to an already had discussion if they feel a relationship moving beyond the purely professional. Assertive communication at the outset of a lifelong teaching situation can also help tremendously in creating the best possible learning environment for students. Students are required to enter a lifelong learning course of instruction clearly aware of what they are receiving: how much time it will take, what constraints are in terms of funding, learning outcomes, documentation etc. (Gravells 2012). Ensuring a plan of upfront communication occurs can meet all of these standards.