What is your teaching philosophy? – Miriam Lim
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?
My teaching philosophy is based on my belief that students need to excel not only academically but also in life, and that ultimately, they are equipped with the skills and knowledge to deal with any challenges they may face inside and outside the classroom. In order for students to reach their full potential, teachers need to help them believe in themselves and give them the growth mindset needed for success. I believe this can be achieved through an abundance of encouragement and praise so that students feel safe in their learning and become eager to make bigger strides in their educational journey.
As an avid believer in the power of encouragement, I can relate to the argument by Schoenaker (2011) that “[e]ncouragement changes a person’s inner state by increasing one’s sense of self-worth and the belief in his or her potential […] The only thing that can unleash the awesome innate potential for growth in any individual or society is encouragement.” (p.xiii). Children and adults alike need praise and encouragement, but the younger years in particular constitute a critical period when individuals’ self-esteem and confidence are first established.
As a particularly shy student, it was with the teachers who encouraged me and truly understood me that I felt comfortable to learn and make mistakes, ultimately helping me to grow to become the best version of myself. On top of academic success, being a ‘well-rounded’ student was something I was continuously encouraged to be. Consequently, I engaged in many of the different extra-curricular activities on offer, and I now realize that those experiences built much of my character and how I interact with others. For example, the Duke of Edinburgh’s awards taught me not only to push myself physically, but also gave me the experience to discover what true teamwork is about and the importance of great leadership. Through the opportunity to take part in the Global Young Leaders conference, I met students from around the world and broadened my outlook on life and gained a deeper appreciation of other cultures, languages and beliefs.
As a teacher at an international school in Korea where students often consider academic success the be all and end all, I aspire to open my students’ eyes to the pathways that lead to becoming well-rounded students—and to the fact that success in life is not just about doing well in exams. I hope to ensure that they develop “the intellectual, personal and social resources that will enable them to participate as active citizens and workers and to flourish as individuals in a diverse and changing society” as stated in the TLRP’s ten principles of “Effective Teaching and Learning” (2007). I believe it is also essential that I have a growth mindset and believe that I can develop my own skills by seeing every student I teach as an opportunity for me to continue learning (Dweck, 2015). Being able to see the potential in all my students and maximizing their potential is something I strive to work towards. As a teacher, I hope to see them grow into confident young adults ready to face the uncertainty and challenges of their future.
Dweck, C. S. (2015) ‘Growth’, British Journal of Educational Psychology, 85(2), pp. 242–245. doi: 10.1111/BJEP.12072.
Schoenaker, T. J. L. (2011) Encouragement makes good things happen / Theo Schoenaker ; translated by R. John Huber ; with Jutta Street and Sandra Losa. New York : Routledge.
Teaching & Learning Research Programme (2007) ‘Research into action’, Principles into practice: A teacher’s guide to research evidence on teaching and learning, http://reflectiveteaching.co.uk/media/Principles_in_Practice_Low_Res.pdf