All entries for Wednesday 05 May 2021

May 05, 2021

What is my teaching philosophy? – Buddy

What is your teaching philosophy? How has this originated and can you evaluate how your educational touchstones will impact upon the teacher you aspire to be?

I was fortunate that my first dreadful experience in education came later in life when I enrolled in a state university in Egypt. I grew up in an international setting and settled into private education where I was accustomed to direct communication with my teachers. However, it was evident that time with lecturers was going to be limited. The number of pupils exceeded one hundred per class and in the laboratories, there were just over half that number. According to Harris (2014), either the teacher creates an appropriate environment for learning, or it will be appropriated for them by other factors, in my case, class size. This change was detrimental to my learning and I was quickly aware of what I needed, a suitable learning environment.

Bates (2019) argues, it is not the teacher’s responsibility to only create a suitable learning environment for their pupils, but it is essential to view that environment from their perspective. My experiences teaching scuba diving have had a pivotal role in why I am choosing to focus on the learning environment. How does it affect pupil learning? And how, with minor tweaks to the way we teach, can we provide every pupil with a more fulfilling place in the classroom. My teaching philosophy is creating an optimal environment for pupils to be engaged and motivated to learn.

The first time I entered the classroom, I tried to include as many best practices as I could into my lessons. These practices were ones picked up from lesson observations, discussions with peers, and through my own experiences of instructing. However, when trying to ‘cram’ too much into one lesson it was evident that the focus was on the teaching rather than on the learning and as Goodwin and Hubbell (2013) explain, without a clear method of bringing all the best practices together they all resemble a “pile of junk”. Reflecting on my touchstones I needed to create a tailored classroom environment, one that adjusted to my own style of teaching. Once that was in place, something ‘clicked’ and pupils were learning effectively.

However, only focussing on the environment cannot be the only contributing factor to pupil learning. It is important that pupils go through the rigours of trying and failing to achieve their goals. In scuba-diving, courses are not built as a pass or fail, rather, as a base set of skills that once achieved the learner is granted a completion certificate. This doesn’t mean that pupils aren’t failing to complete skills but they are encouraged to try until they have mastered the task. Our role as a teacher is to create a safe space and promote learning from mistakes. Harris (2014) argues, if pupils were not experiencing failure, they would not have a resilient mindset which helps them get through difficult situations. That is why it is important that we do not remove all challenges from the path to success but promote a positive attitude to perseverance in the face of adversity.

I believe that my educational touchstones impact positively on my teaching philosophy. Reflecting on my experiences and using them to promote good teaching practices gives me confidence that what I am doing in the classroom is what makes me a better learner and in turn a better teacher.

Bibliography

Harris, B. 2014. Creating a Classroom Culture That Supports the Common Core, Taylor and Francis, London and New York, Available at: https://0-www-taylorfrancis-com.pugwash.lib.warwick.ac.uk/books/9781315849232 [Accessed 31/10/20]

Bates, A.W. (2019), Teaching in a Digital Age, BCcampus Open Textbooks. [Accessed on 29 October 2020]

Goodwin, B. & Hubbell, E.R., 2013. The 12 Touchstones of Good Teaching: A Checklist for Staying Focused Every Day, Association for Supervision & Curriculum Development. Available at: https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=lgpRBAAAQBAJ [Accessed on 29/10/20].


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