All entries for Monday 15 March 2021

March 15, 2021

What is your teaching philosophy? – Elvira

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?

Growing up in a Malaysian state school background, I never knew of anything other than a teacher-centred, performativity culture in the classroom. However, I was fortunate to have positive experiences in university, having been taught by lecturers who were passionate about teaching and their subject. It is those life events, knowing that I do not want students to go through the same experience I had in a state school, along with my own teaching experience that shaped my teaching philosophy today.

Fundamentally, my teaching philosophy is based on the desire to nurture students into the best possible version of themselves by providing them with a positive learning experience and preparing them with the skills and knowledge necessary for their academic life.

One of the methods I focus on to achieve this is by building a rapport with each student. I believe that when there is a good student-teacher relationship centred on care and mutual respect, a lot of learning takes place. Teacher-student relationship is the foundation to cultivating learning behaviours and preventing disruptive behaviours in the classroom. As stated by the Teaching Agency (2012), “Trainees should understand that good relationships are at the heart of good behaviour management. They should be able to form positive, appropriate, professional relationships with their pupils”. I recall how professors who knew my name and showed that they cared made me feel - I was more engaged in their classes. As a result, I always make an effort to learn each student’s name at the start of a new school year. During my Year 8 lessons recently, I noticed that it was after addressing students by their names, and getting to know them, that they started to be more engaged in discussions, and classroom activities. Apart from engagement, good student-teacher relationship has been found to improve achievement outcomes (Hattie, 2009).

I believe that students learn best when the content is relatable and applicable to real life. So, the second aspect of my teaching philosophy is bringing the outside world into the classroom and bringing learning outside of the classroom. James & Pollard (2011) highlight this as one of the principles in the Teaching and Learning Research Programme that improves outcomes of learners. This principle writes about the importance of informal learning and bringing in different external experiences for students to draw on. Every year, I get my sixth form Psychology students to organise a school-wide, mental health awareness programme. Although it is not part of the A-level curriculum, it allows them to gain first-hand experience of real psychologist work, and helps to develop teamwork, organisational skills, creativity and communication skills. Recently, in a Year 8 lesson on diet and nutrition, I had students improve the cafeteria menu based on what they have learned. Following that lesson, I got students to be public health officials and to research in groups how too much or a deficient in a type of nutrient can lead to certain illnesses. Students then had to “create awareness” about the illness by educating small groups of classmates. I believe these are invaluable experiences that textbooks are not able to provide, which ultimately nurture skills and knowledge for students to excel in the future.

References

Hattie J. C. (2009) Visible Learning: A Synthesis of Over 800 Meta-Analyses Relating to Achievement. London and New York: Routledge. Available from: Taylor and Francis E-book. (Accessed: 17 October 2020).

James, M. & Pollard, A. (2011) TLRP’s ten principles for effective pedagogy: rationale, development, evidence, argument and impact. [Online] (https://doi.org/10.1080/02671522.2011.590007) Research Papers in Education, 26(3). (Accessed: 30 August 2020).

Teaching Agency (2012) Improving Teacher Training for Behaviour. Available online from: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/200406/TA-00079-2012.pdf (Accessed: 18 October 2020)


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