All entries for Tuesday 03 May 2022

May 03, 2022

What is your teaching philosophy? – Eric Leung

Teaching Philosophy Statement

I believe children have boundless potential. To nurture and unlock each child’s full potential, it is important to teach foundational concepts, skills and tools to support them in becoming lifelong learners and empower them to seek answers for themselves.

Unfortunately, today’s students face growing immense pressure and competition. The experience of school is high “academic expectations as sources of stress” (Tan & Yates, 2011, p. 389) is no longer confined to Confucian heritage societies, but it has become part of the broader “productivity agenda” (Ang, 2014, p. 187) advocated by international organizations and governments around the world. As a result, I have noticed many teachers delivering as much content as possible yet narrowly focused on preparing students for assessments and satisfying parent expectations. This is in stark contrast to my own journey as a student where I was allowed to explore my own interests and enjoyed a more balanced schooling experience. Consequently, I am convinced that a future wise education demands (Perkins, 2014) creating an environment that fosters a disposition towards a love of learning rather than mastering prescribed content.

As a teacher, I want to support children to connect abstract concepts learned in the classroom with real-world application through project-based learning (Kaldi, Fillippatou & Govaris, 2011) that allows them to achieve a depth to their learning thereby enabling them to apply their skills and understanding across all areas of the curriculum in order to be a creative innovators, entrepreneurial problem solvers, and critical thinkers. Given that children are born curious, creative and active learners, it is essential that teachers provide experiences that allow them to build on what they already know and construct new knowledge (Piaget, 1973) through experiential activities that encourage interactive and hands-on learning. Furthermore, the main role of the teacher is a facilitator; therefore, they should scaffold children’s learning at every opportunity by using open-ended questions that challenge and extend existing understandings and equip each child with the resources they need to support them in finding their own answers.

Each child is unique. Teachers need to recognize children develop at their own pace and should meet where the child is. Consequently, understanding each child holistically means: nurturing and celebrating their strengths as well as meeting diverse needs through instructional differentiation (Gardner, 2006). One of the joys of being a teacher is that I find great personal fulfilment when children develop greater confidence and reach their personal best.

After working in a Reggio inspired environment, I subscribe to the view that the environment is truly the third teacher because it is “intentionally visually appealing and stimulating with close attention paid to materials, colours, light microclimate and furnishings” (Miller & Pound, 2019, p.10-11). As such, I have an aesthetic preference for using neutral tones in creating displays to support a calm and inviting learning environment. I also am committed to creating a safe, caring and intellectually engaging setting that encourages children’s imagination, innovation, and resilience to explore their own interests and develop new perspectives.

Professional development is also extremely important to me as I continue my journey as a teacher. When I initially started teaching phonics, I immediately took the initiative to complete a TESOL qualification from Trinity College London because most of the pupils in my classes are non-native English speakers and I wanted to better understand the needs of EAL learners. I am committed to furthering developing myself as an effective teacher through learning about different pedagogical approaches as well as seeking constructive feedback from experienced teachers.

References

Ang , L. (2014). Preschool or prep school? Rethinking the role of early years education. Contemporary Issues in Early Childhood, 15(2), 185-199.

Gardner, H. (2006). Multiple intelligences: New horizons. New York, NY: Basic Books.

Kaldi, S., Filippatou, D., & Govaris, C. (2011). Project-based learning in primary schools: Effects on pupils’ learning and attitudes. Education 3-13, 39(1), p.35-47.

Miller, L., & Pound, L. (2011). Taking a critical perspective. In L. Miller & L. Pound (Eds.), Theories and approaches to learning in the early years (pp. 1-17). London, UK: SAGE Publications.

Perkins, D. (2014). Future wise education: Educating our children for a changing world. San Francisco, CA: Wiley.

Piaget, J. (1973). To understand is to invent. New York: Grossman.

Tan, J. B., & Yates, S. (2011). Academic expectations as sources of stress in Asian students. Social Psychology of Education, 14(3), 389-407.


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