January 02, 2019

My Teaching Philosophy – Dominic

My teaching philosophy has been formed, shaped and developed by my touchstones. My touchstones are both professional and personal. They include my passion for my subjects (History and Politics), my deeply-held belief in the importance of good teaching and learning, and my own education – especially the teachers who taught me. My teaching philosophy and my touchstones have helped me meet Teacher Standard 1 and its sub-standards because they have installed in me very high professional and personal standards which leads me to "Set high expectations which inspire, motivate and challenge pupils” (Department for Education, 2011, p10), as well as myself.

My first touchstone is etymological in the sense that is concerns what education means and therefore what it is. The English word education ultimately derives from two similar-sounding but distinct Latin transitive verbs - educare and educere. Educare means to bring up, to train, to teach (as opposed to coach), while educere means to lead forth (Bass and Good, 2004). At the heart of my teaching philosophy is my belief that education is - or should be - both of these noble things. My teaching philosophy is grounded in the belief that good teachers should bring up their pupils, in an academic, intellectual and pastoral sense, while also leading them forth on their own learning journeys. Since the Age of Enlightenment, educational pedagogy and practice in Western Europe has rightly focused on the importance of teaching pupils, as opposed to instructing them. Rousseau wrote that education “is a question of guidance rather than instruction. He (the teacher) must not give precepts, he must let the scholar find them out for himself.” (Rousseau, 1762, p112). This difference between educating, as opposed to spoon-feeding information, lies at the heart of my teaching philosophy.

My second touchstone is my long-held passion for my subject. One of the major reasons I am training to be a history teacher is because I love history and because I want to share this love with pupils of all ages, abilities and backgrounds. This enthusiasm for my subject has helped me meet Teacher Standard 3 and its sub-standards of having excellent subject and curriculum knowledge because I constantly seek to deepen and develop my own subject and curriculum knowledge. I have actively developed my subject and curriculum knowledge in my Initial Teacher Training year by attending numerous subject-specific CPD courses (including a four-day subject-enrichment course run by the Prince’s Teaching Institute for new and newly-qualified History teachers, for which my work(a cross-curricular History and Chemistry lesson) was commended), by co-leading a large group of pupils on a battlefields tour of the Western Front as part of University College London’s high-profile Centenary Battlefields Tour Programme and by volunteering as the school visit’s co-ordinator at the largest history festival in the country.

My third touchstone is my own education and the people who taught me – both inside and outside of the classroom. Although no single individual inspired or influenced my decision to become a teacher, my former drama teacher, Mrs Carly Waterman, a superb teaching practitioner, did much to make my secondary education very enjoyable. I often use Mrs Waterman’s lessons as the benchmark by which I now judge my own teaching. In this respect this touchstone has helped me meet Teacher Standard 1 and its sub-standards because I actively "demonstrate consistently the positive attitudes, values and behaviour" (Department for Education, 2011, p10) which were modelled to me by some of my teachers and which I now model for my own pupils.

Academic references

Bass, R, and Good, J (2004). ‘Educare and Educere: Is a Balance Possible in the Educational System?’ The Educational Forum, Vol. 68, pp. 161 – 168.

Department for Education (2011). Teachers’ Standards: Guidance for school leaders, school staff and governing bodies Crown Copyright.

Rousseau, J, (1991). Émile, Or Treatise on Education Penguin.

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