All entries for Monday 07 December 2020

December 07, 2020

What is your teaching philosophy? – Abbi

When stood at the front of a classroom of 25 students all wearing identical uniforms, holding identical notebooks and sat at identical desks, the keystone of my teaching philosophy is something that feels incongruous to the setting. That is, to ensure every child can be an individual inside my classroom. Volunteering as a one-to-one tutor I taught a girl who was falling behind in her GCSEs because she had fallen out with her English teacher after being embarrassed in a class. I quickly began to appreciate the inextricable correlation between student achievement and student-teacher rapport. Through building personal connections with students, a more harmonious learning environment can be fostered (Deiro, 1996). Subsequently, fostering a positive learning environment improves learning outcomes (Alvarez, 2007).

Linking to the importance of individualism in the classroom, is the understanding that all students do not learn in the same way or at the same pace. During my first full-time teaching role in China 2015, I was teaching classes of up to 60 students. Tomlinson (1999) notes that when a teacher can facilitate students to take different paths ‘to the same destination’ the learning outcome is greater. Planning lessons that were flexible enough to allow differentiated learning, regardless of class size or student ability, became an important part of my teaching philosophy during this time. Students for whom the content is not appropriate for (either, because it is too easy or because it is too difficult) are more likely to become disengaged (Willis, 2015) and therefore disruptive (Cowley, 2010).

Cultivating a classroom environment which enables every student to reach their full potential is the final aspect of my teaching philosophy. Good behaviour management ensures a classroom environment in which students feel they can fully participate without fear or embarrassment. Within my current school, the Principal of the school has praised my behaviour management. My practice is in line with the findings of Rogers (2015) who notes that a crucial part of classroom management occurs in the ‘establishment phase’ during which rules are decided upon and then consciously taught. During the first week of lessons it is important to establish clear and well-defined rules using language appropriate to the age and level of the students. Giving the students ownership of the rules and asking them to suggest appropriate sanctions that are in-line with the school policy makes the students more likely to follow them. After successfully implementing, and then following through on the agreed rules and sanctions of the classroom, I find that prevention is the best form of behaviour management. Preventing issues from arising in the classroom using eye-contact, non-verbal signals and use of student’s names can often reduce disruption before it occurs. Martin (2015) describes the ‘zones of proximity,’ and how moving between them can prevent disruption whilst also minimising loss of teaching time.


Cowley, S. (2010). Getting the Buggers to Behave, London: Bloomsbury

Deiro, J.A. (1996). Teaching With Heart :Making healthy connections with students, Thousand Oaks, Calif.: Corwin.

Jones, F. (2007). Tools for Teaching: Discipline, Instruction, Motivation. 2nd ed. Santa Cruz, Ca: Fredric H. Jones & Associates.

Rogers, B (2015) Classroom Behaviour, 4th ed. London: Sage Publications.

Tomlinson, C A (1995). How to differentiate instruction in mixed-ability classrooms

Tomlinson, C A (2015). On Differentiation, Education Week, Vol. 34 Issue 21.

Martin, J. (2015). Working the Crowd: Behavior Management through Strategic Classroom Arrangement, Journal of Instructional Research, 4, pp. 52-56.

Willis, S. (1993). Teaching Young Children, Educators Seek 'Developmental Appropriateness’ [Online] (URL 1993. (Accessed 1st October 2020)

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