All entries for Monday 23 May 2022

May 23, 2022

What is your teaching philosophy? – Shabrina Mohamad Razali

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?

My touchstones pertaining to education have been heavily guided by my interest in assisting others. I value helping students understand difficult and new information. As a side income, I provide private tutoring to students in my circle of friends and families who need extra support. From experiences like these, I believe that teaching is not a one size fits all. I realize that my teaching practices and beliefs will change over the years with experience and reflection from my students and other educators.

Growing up as a student in Singapore, there was little flexibility and deviation from the prescribed national curriculum. Singaporean teachers were made to ‘teach to the test’ that was highly scripted. Educators often argue that directive learning has a negative connotation to it but evidently, the teaching strategy has proven to be successful in producing favorable outcomes in high stakes examinations (Hogan, 2014). This unusual success however has been made aware that the method was not suitable in preparing students for the real world.

My teaching philosophy therefore sits on a range between the inquiry-based approach and the direct instruction approach. Learners are not meant to absorb information passively. They are supposed to be challenged with new ideas in a climate that forces them to develop a sense of competence and valued effort rather than ability. Neuroscience studies have shown that inquiry-based teaching exhibits increased engagement between a student and teacher. The results demonstrated that prompting questions and creating discussions generate a higher brain activity (Rotgans & Schmidt, 2011). Emphasis on inferential thinking and metacognition is essential in adolescents as their frontal lobes begin to mature and develop (Semrud-Clikeman, 2010). This promotes higher cognitive function in processing data efficiently and staying actively engaged. Rosenshine states that teachers should adopt probing of student’s schema with multiple responsive questions as it is a powerful mode of questioning and a form of guided practice as well (Sherrington, 2019).

On the other end of the spectrum is directive teaching – a traditional pedagogical approach that is structured and heavily teacher-led. I do believe that this approach is not mutually exclusive either. If incorporated extensively beyond successful results from assessments, directive teaching will on some level be required either way. For example, modelling practical work so that students know what is required of them. Or emphasizing key scientific vocabularies so that it retains in their memory. All in all, there are diverse strategies that are supposed to be interchangeable and not set to be taught in one way.

I hope to incorporate these approaches in my classrooms as I embark on my teaching journey and continue to reflect as an educator. To adapt and change my ideas on how an effective teacher educates and to create an environment for my students to be creative and curious.


Hogan, D., 2014. The conversation. [Online] Available at: [Accessed 1 October 2021].

Rotgans , J. I. & Schmidt, H. G., 2011. Cognitive engagement in the problem-based learning. Advances in Health Sciences Education, 16(4), pp. 465-479.

Semrud-Clikeman, M., 2010. American Psychological Association. [Online] Available at: [Accessed 1 October 2021].

Sherrington, T., 2019. Strand 2: Questioning. In: Rosenshine's Principles In Action. Melton, UK: John Catt Educational Limited, pp. 27-34.

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