All entries for Monday 27 January 2020

January 27, 2020

My Teaching Philosophy – Damon

The philosophy that will guide my approach to teaching includes key values and viewpoints that relate to the purpose of education, the function of learning, and role of the teacher. Education, in my teaching philosophy, relates to the development of character, not just to the acquisition of academic skills, knowledge, or subject expertise. Education relates to the process of learning not just about ourselves and the world we live in – important may those be – but also the skills and attitudes required to thrive in today’s fast-changing, complex world. My view on this is highly influenced by the philosophy underpinning the International Baccalaureate (IB), programmes in which my children have been educated in Thailand and France. I have also been influenced by the work of psychologists Martin Seligman (2011) and Angela Duckworth (2016), who emphasise the value of teaching well-being and resilience or “grit”.

Learning, in my teaching philosophy, is a participatory and life-long pursuit. Students should be encouraged to understand education as a continuous process of learning, in which they are actively engaged, rather than a passive, mandatory rite-of-passage that they are relieved from with the completion of examinations. As active agents with a key role in driving their learning, students should be encouraged by their teachers to take risks, make mistakes, and learn from them. These views have been influenced by a “Restitution” training course I attended at my children’s school in New Delhi in 2017. This is Diane Gossen’s behaviour management approach, designed for both parents and schools, which is based on intrinsic motivation (see Gossen 2001, 2007).

Influenced by my academic background in Philosophy, I believe that my role as a teacher should include guiding the students to think critically and creatively. The role of the teacher should be as a facilitator and guide, not as a dispenser of facts. This is consistent with the IB’s inquiry-led approach. But I believe it is important not to under-value knowledge, the pursuit of truth or the role of instruction, as emphasised by Kirschner, Sweller and Clark (2006). Reaching the balance between guided instruction and self-driven inquiry, will be an ongoing challenge.

As a teacher, I should exemplify the continuous, self-driven learning I hope to encourage the students to undertake, and make the effort to continue learning about the most effective pedagogies, as well as any new relevant science on cognition and learning. I concur with Carol Dweck – whose work on the “growth mindset” opened my eyes to the importance of students’ ideas about themselves as learners – who wrote, “The great teachers believe in the growth of the intellect and talent, and they are fascinated with the process of learning” (2017, p.197). The extent to which I may put these values and viewpoints into practice will depend on the support I am provided by my teaching peers and the school, but also on in my confidence to find ways to do so. Since I am yet to begin teaching, I have to be open to the possibility that my teaching philosophy is likely to change as I learn from experience, become familiar with my students, and adjust my approach along the way.


Duckworth, A. (2016). Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance. London: Penguin.

Dweck, C. (2017). Mindset, updated edition. London: Robinson.

Gossen, D.C. (2001). Restitution: Restructuring school discipline. Chapel Hill, NC: New View Publications.

Gossen, D. C. (2007). My Child is a Pleasure, 5th edition. Saskatoon, Canada: Chelsom Consultants Ltd.

Kirschner, P. A., Sweller, J. and Clark, R. E. (2006). Why Minimal Guidance During Instruction Does Not Work: An Analysis of the Failure of Constructivist, Discovery, Problem-Based, Experiential, and Inquiry-Based Teaching. Educational Psychologist, 41(2), pp. 75-86.

Selligman, M. E. P. (2013). Flourish. New York: Atria.

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