What is your teaching philosophy? – Caroline Doyle
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?
There are three main experiences in my life that have influenced my developing philosophy as a teacher. These originate from my early education, degree and experience as a support worker for children and young people with special needs.
My first memory of school is being separated from the class based on lower ability. This continued throughout my education. Ultimately, I convinced myself that I was not smart, which became a ‘self-fulfilling prophecy’ (Ricci, 2017, page 3). I believed that it was not within my capabilities to achieve academically. I avoided trying and I struggled to find a love for learning because I often found it distressing or embarrassing to make mistakes. I had developed a ‘fixed mindset’ (Dweck, 2008), rather than a ‘growth mindset’ (Dweck, 2008). My philosophy is influenced by what I felt I lacked as a student – guidance to promote personal resilience and a love of learning (TS4). In my current teaching position, I facilitate weekly classes, ask daily circle time questions, and create visual aids designed to equip students with the tools to develop a growth mindset towards both their education and personal lives (TS5 and TS8). I believe that a teacher’s practice should align with their own beliefs, so I dedicate ongoing time and energy to the development of a personal growth mindset.
I studied drama at university where I learnt subjects such history, geography, and politics. I had previously felt somewhat alienated from these more academic subjects. I was excited by the blended subject matters, and I could naturally engage. I discovered a love of learning when it became achievable in my mind, because I now found relevance to something I already enjoyed. Now, I ask my students what they would like to discover each term. I then ask myself ‘what experiences, attitudes and resources can we weave into our curricula that make the generation of positive feelings more likely for each child?’ (Barnes, 2007, page 2). This term, I used food as theme across the curriculum. The students have learned measurement through cooking, explored other countries via cuisine and designed cookbook recipes using their writing skills. I will continue to harness the possibilities of cross-curricular teaching, where practical and achievable, with the intention of inspiring my students to foster an intellectual curiosity (TS4).
As a support worker, I was fortunate enough to gain insight into how I could cater to an individual’s needs. I learned that people benefit when their progress is viewed through a holistic lens. I believe emotional, personal, and social development should be celebrated alongside academic achievement. An example being how I nurture my student’s emotional growth with ‘mood monster’ boards. At the start of every class, we discuss how we feel (TS5). This encourages emotional literacy and generates empathy. Going forward, I aspire to become more proficient at nurturing all aspects of a child’s development into the planning of curriculum and classes (TS4). I also want to ensure that I take these aspects into consideration during formative and summative assessments (TS6) and when discussing a child’s progress and wellbeing with their parents (TS8).
Dweck, C. (2006). Mindset: The New Psychology of Success. New York, Ballantine Books.
Ricci, M.C. (2017). Mindsets in the Classroom: Building a Growth Mindset Learning Community. Waco, Texas, Prufrock Press Inc. p. 3.
Barnes, J. (2007). Cross-Curricular learning 3-14. London, Sage Publications. p. 2.