What is your teaching philosophy? – Grace Whiskin
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?
I believe that an educational environment needs to be a place where all individuals feel safe, and a place where there is mutual respect. This is key to my teaching philosophy. I believe that successful learning takes place when students basic and more advanced emotional needs are being met (Maslow, 2018). Therefore, every day I make sure that students know they are respected, safe, and loved. I believe that a positive attitude is key to making the students feel this way.
Reflecting on my earliest educational touchstone memory, I remember my first teacher in Reception. This teacher was warm and caring. She made us feel as though we could achieve anything. Although it is naïve to believe that one teacher that early on in my life could affect my whole teaching philosophy now, I do like to think that the memory of her is something I want to continue into my teaching.
School always felt like a safe space for me, where I could engage in learning, reading, and all of the things I loved. I have always felt very lucky that my parents, who are arguably my first educational touchstone, have always supported me to achieve my best. I was always naturally inquisitive and wanted to understand the world around me. Fostering that natural curiosity that young people have is another major aspect of my teaching philosophy. I believe that all too often, particularly in the older grades, as we prepare students for exams, this natural curiosity can be pushed to one side. I have been working at an exams-based school for the past nine months, this has been a personal goal of mine to still work within the school’s ideology, but to also encourage my students to ask WHY. However, I do see the value of encouraging students to strive for success. I saw this first-hand when I moved from a UK Grammar school (where I was for five months) to an International School in Singapore. I see the importance, especially as an educator now, of students encouraging others to achieve. This is analysed in a study done about Singapore and their PISA rankings (Deng and Gopinathan, 2016). In the UK, I felt as though the popular children were the ones who were naughty, and perhaps the class clown. This was a vast contrast to my experience in Singapore where I found that the popular students were the ones who worked hard and excelled. I believe that had I not had this experience, I would not be where I am today. I loved education, but Singapore made me grateful for it.
I believe that my teaching philosophy comes through mostly with my rapport with my students. I believe in instilling the belief in students that they can achieve anything they set their mind to. From having a wide range of abilities in my class, I see the importance daily of celebrating the wins, however small. When children feel celebrated, I believe that it encourages them to work harder.
Becker, E., Goetz, T., Morger, V. and Ranellucci, J., 2014. The importance of teachers' emotions and instructional behavior for their students' emotions – An experience sampling analysis. Teaching and Teacher Education, 43, pp.15-26.
Deng, Z. and Gopinathan, S., 2016. PISA and high-performing education systems: explaining Singapore’s education success. Comparative Education, 52(4), pp.449-472.