All entries for Monday 08 October 2018

October 08, 2018

What is your teaching philosophy? – Danielle

PDP Task 2 – What is your teaching philosophy? How has this originated and can you evaluate how your educational touchstones will impact on the teacher you aspire to be?

At the heart of my teaching philosophy is the belief that all children can achieve their goals, irrespective of their background, circumstance, or ability. When I was younger I used to have epilepsy; a condition which some of my teachers saw as a hindrance. At the end of my secondary education, these teachers remarked that I would not succeed in a science-related career. As a teacher, I never want a child to feel like they are unable to succeed in something which they are passionate about. In an attempt to ensure that this does not happen, I try to tailor my teaching to adapt to the needs of my pupils (TS5). For example, all of my PowerPoint presentations have been adapted for students with dyslexia by using a font which resembles handwriting, and a background which is coloured depending on the specific needs of the pupil. Both of these amendments were implemented as a means of making reading easier and learning more accessible. Furthermore, in order to help pupils who needed support with calculating surface area:volume ratio due to difficulties with visual-spatial reasoning, I made animals out of multi-link blocks (Taylor & Jones 2013). These animals removed the need for pupils to visualise 3D structures in their heads and provided examples which they could count by marking faces with a sharpie.

As part of my PhD, I regularly helped secondary school students to synthesise paracetamol and aspirin. These experiences taught me that I was highly passionate about teaching science to others. As part of this process, I worked closely with the outreach co-ordinator for the University of Warwick. When thinking about my educational touchstones, this teacher resonates closely with who I aspire to be. Whenever he taught, he always addressed students with such enthusiasm and provided them with a wealth of knowledge that left them feeling encouraged and motivated. Promoting a love of science and inspiring my students is definitely the type of teacher that I want to be. According to Hobbs, enthusiasm for what you are teaching is crucial for engaging and influencing your pupils (Hobbs 2012).

To achieve this goal, I have used activities which are engaging and varied (TS1) (Goodwin and Hubbell 2013). For instance, in a Year 8 lesson, instruction sheets and dice were used as a means of motivating pupils to learn about the carbon cycle. A similar strategy was used to teach a Year 9 class about the History of the Periodic Table. According to a formal lesson observation, such activities were successful in securing a high level of student engagement. Further to this, I set up and ran a Science Club within one of my placement schools, with the aim of cultivating an interest in science beyond that of the National Curriculum (TS3). As part of this club, students designed paper rockets and tested their flight stability and aerodynamic performance. By testing a range of different conformations, the students were able to identify that fins were needed to avoid the paper rockets spinning out of control. Pleasingly, as the Science Club progressed, more students were asking to join. This indicates that I managed to foster and maintain pupils’ interest in science (TS3).


Hobbs, L., 2012. Examining the aesthetic dimensions of teaching: Relationships between teacher knowledge, identity and passion. Teaching and Teacher Education, 28(5), pp.718–727. Available at:

Taylor, A.R. & Jones, M.G., 2013. Students’ and Teachers’ Application of Surface Area to Volume Relationships. Research in Science Education, 43(1), pp.395–411. Available at:

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: [Accessed on 06/05/18].

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