All entries for March 2021

March 29, 2021

What is my teaching philosophy? – Adeola

What is my teaching philosophy? How has this originated, and can you evaluate how your educational touchstones will impact on the teacher you aspire to be?

‘Who we are, what we believe, and what assumptions we hold about students, the material, and the world significantly affect what we do in the classroom, no matter the course content or teaching style’ (Ramsey and Fitzgibbons (2005) cited in Beatty, Leigh and Lund Dean, 2020).

The essence of my journey into the classroom has been succinctly captured by Ramsey and Fitzgibbons (2005). I am a strong believer in the concept that the brain is elastic and can grow (Berliner and Eyre, 2018) if it is tended and nurtured.

I set up a school called BlossomHall School with a motto that says, Explore, Evolve, Excel and a symbolic allusion to growth and the concept of blossoming and this captures my teaching philosophy. To blossom is to become more attractive, successful, or confident. Children, like flowers, blossom under the right conditions provided by teachers, parents and other caregivers.

According to Dweck C. (2012) “Prodigies or not, we all have interests that can blossom into abilities” pg. 97.

A personal experience of growing my brain from underachieving to high performing after discovering my areas of strength and the right combinations for thriving, further enacts my conviction that everyone has the ability to thrive and succeed at something.

I believe that by applying effort and working hard, every child will discover where his strength lies. While we all celebrate and promote hard work and effort, not every young person is motivated to work hard or go the extra mile. In teaching, I want to nurture high performers who excel because they try and who try because they enjoy putting in effort. I celebrate effort. (Evidence 2) Within and around the class, I always aim to create an ambience and environment that supports hard work because hard work will always pay off. (Willingham D.T 2009)

I had a Mathematics teacher in secondary school, whose strategy was to make us work through every problem in the textbook from cover to cover. Although initially it was tasking, it was enough healthy competition and motivation to keep practicing. Constant practice opens up the memory and increase its capacity to take in more information and attainment (Dweck 2012).

Each time I am in a classroom, my objective is to leave no child behind in learning. However, I have encountered a few underachieving children who leave me wondering if I achieved my objective. I have been challenged by my mentor to improve on my application of differentiation and to seek more clarity on understanding the individual needs of my pupils (TS5). This is an improvement area for me as I want to be known as that teacher giving hope and a chance to succeed to children where others have given up, creatively adapting the teaching to meet their needs and to ensure that my class provides an welcoming at sphere where they are motivated to learn without much persuasion (TS7). If my philosophy is to see children excel and blossom, giving hope to such children is the only way that I will able to say I have succeeded as a teacher.

I want to help children to realize their potentials if they can consistently ‘grow’ their brains. Every child can learn and excel at something. No child should be left behind.


Beatty, J., Leigh, J. and Lund Dean, K. (2020) "Republication Of: Philosophy Rediscovered: Exploring The Connections Between Teaching Philosophies, Educational Philosophies, And Philosophy". Journal Of Management Education 44 (5), 543-559

Berliner, W. and Eyre, D. (2018) Great Minds And How To Grow Them. 1st edn. OX: Routledge

Dweck, C. (2012) Mindset. London: Robinson

Willingham, D. (2009) "Why Don't Students Like School?: A Cognitive Scientist Answers Questions About How The Mind Works And What It Means For Your Classroom". Choice Reviews Online 47 (01), 47-0421-47-0421

March 22, 2021

What is your teaching philosophy? – Kate

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?

As a student of literature, I am well-schooled in theory. In asking questions critically and knowing that definitive answers are rarely possible. That it is the enquiry, the ideas, and the wondering which lead to understanding. I am an aspiring teacher librarian and a central theme within my educational touchstones is critical literacy. My teaching philosophy is one that is centred around the power of language, representation and identity. ‘I would like to talk to children about books and help them to discover their favourites as the media that become their favourites will not only shape who they become but their understanding of the world.’ (London, 2020)

‘In children’s literature theory the imaginary child is often alluded to but it is rare to carry out research with actual children and how they are engaging with books.’ (London, 2020) I am studying the PGCEi as I would like to add practice to theory and explore my teaching philosophy with students. Our class has been learning poetry and I have been discussing how we make meaning from a text. We have been looking at where poets get their ideas. We have been discussing the poem “Eletelephony” which uses made up words to express confusion. We are discussing that poets can manipulate language and that how they use language is as relevant to the emotion of the poem as the central theme or idea. Luke and Freebody (1990) created a literacy model for teachers which incorporates critical literacy. The first step is ‘breaking the code’ which is concerned with ‘recognising and using the fundamental features and architecture of written texts’ (State Government of Victoria, 2019) and this first step towards using critical thinking is what I was attempting with this lesson.

During a tutorial with my tutor she recounted a story from a school where she had previously worked. There was a travelling librarian who came to collate the classroom collections and this librarian would take away the books that were more than ten years old. I was upset by this story because books hold our history, our community, our former selves and allow us to deconstruct the past so that we can better understand our present and future. Peterson and Mosley Wetzel suggest ‘the need to reconceptualize teaching as a political act with the set goal of empowering learners with the ability to recognize and deconstruct oppressive ideological stances.’ (2015, p.58) This particular librarian was denying the students the opportunity to deconstruct, challenge and celebrate the voices of picturebooks past. It is practices such as this which inform my philosophy as I hope to work against them within the library.

I am not so ideological as to consider my future career as a teacher librarian closely connected to political activism. I do consider it to be one of enquiry. To encourage students to ‘have the skills and dispositions to question, challenge, and think deeply about all kinds of texts.’ (Winograd, 2014, p. 1) I hope that teaching students to recognise the power of language and voice will empower them to see that there is strength within their own voices. ‘A book holds words. Words hold things. They bear meanings. A novel is a medicine bundle, holding things in a particular, powerful relation to one another and to us.’ (Le Guin, 1989)


Freebody, P & Luke, A (1990) 'Literacies Programs: Debates and Demands in Cultural Context'. Prospect: an Australian journal of TESOL, 5(3), pp. 7-16.

Le Guin, U. (1989) Dancing at the Edge of the World: Thoughts on Words, Women, Places. London: Golancz.

London, K. (2020) ‘Kate London Teaching Touchstones’. PGCEi 20/21: The University of Warwick. Unpublished Work.

Peterson K., Mosley Wetzel M. (2015) “It’s Our Writing, We Decide It”: Voice, Tensions, and Power in a Critical Literacy Workshop. In: Yoon B., Sharif R. (eds) Critical Literacy Practice. Singapore: Springer, pp.57-75.

Richards, L. E. (2018) Eletelephony [Online] URL; (Accessed 24th October 2020).

Victoria State Government: Education and Training (2019) The Four Resources Model for Reading and Viewing. [Online] URL; 3rd November 2020).

Winograd, K., (2015) 'Critical Literacy, Common Core Standards and Young Learners: Imagining a Synthesis of Educational Approaches'. In: Winograd, K. (ed) Critical Literacies and Young Learners: Connecting Classroom Practice to the Common core. New York: Routledge, pp.1-11.

March 15, 2021

What is your teaching philosophy? – Elvira

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?

Growing up in a Malaysian state school background, I never knew of anything other than a teacher-centred, performativity culture in the classroom. However, I was fortunate to have positive experiences in university, having been taught by lecturers who were passionate about teaching and their subject. It is those life events, knowing that I do not want students to go through the same experience I had in a state school, along with my own teaching experience that shaped my teaching philosophy today.

Fundamentally, my teaching philosophy is based on the desire to nurture students into the best possible version of themselves by providing them with a positive learning experience and preparing them with the skills and knowledge necessary for their academic life.

One of the methods I focus on to achieve this is by building a rapport with each student. I believe that when there is a good student-teacher relationship centred on care and mutual respect, a lot of learning takes place. Teacher-student relationship is the foundation to cultivating learning behaviours and preventing disruptive behaviours in the classroom. As stated by the Teaching Agency (2012), “Trainees should understand that good relationships are at the heart of good behaviour management. They should be able to form positive, appropriate, professional relationships with their pupils”. I recall how professors who knew my name and showed that they cared made me feel - I was more engaged in their classes. As a result, I always make an effort to learn each student’s name at the start of a new school year. During my Year 8 lessons recently, I noticed that it was after addressing students by their names, and getting to know them, that they started to be more engaged in discussions, and classroom activities. Apart from engagement, good student-teacher relationship has been found to improve achievement outcomes (Hattie, 2009).

I believe that students learn best when the content is relatable and applicable to real life. So, the second aspect of my teaching philosophy is bringing the outside world into the classroom and bringing learning outside of the classroom. James & Pollard (2011) highlight this as one of the principles in the Teaching and Learning Research Programme that improves outcomes of learners. This principle writes about the importance of informal learning and bringing in different external experiences for students to draw on. Every year, I get my sixth form Psychology students to organise a school-wide, mental health awareness programme. Although it is not part of the A-level curriculum, it allows them to gain first-hand experience of real psychologist work, and helps to develop teamwork, organisational skills, creativity and communication skills. Recently, in a Year 8 lesson on diet and nutrition, I had students improve the cafeteria menu based on what they have learned. Following that lesson, I got students to be public health officials and to research in groups how too much or a deficient in a type of nutrient can lead to certain illnesses. Students then had to “create awareness” about the illness by educating small groups of classmates. I believe these are invaluable experiences that textbooks are not able to provide, which ultimately nurture skills and knowledge for students to excel in the future.


Hattie J. C. (2009) Visible Learning: A Synthesis of Over 800 Meta-Analyses Relating to Achievement. London and New York: Routledge. Available from: Taylor and Francis E-book. (Accessed: 17 October 2020).

James, M. & Pollard, A. (2011) TLRP’s ten principles for effective pedagogy: rationale, development, evidence, argument and impact. [Online] ( Research Papers in Education, 26(3). (Accessed: 30 August 2020).

Teaching Agency (2012) Improving Teacher Training for Behaviour. Available online from: (Accessed: 18 October 2020)

March 08, 2021

What is your teaching philosophy? – Ingrid

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?

The essence of my teaching philosophy is to foster students’ competence beliefs through healthy and personal relationships. I trust that students do well and are more willing to learn when learning is personalised.

Growing up, I questioned everything. However, my curiosity was often met with impatience and hostility as it was seen as disturbance in classes of 40 children. Feeling distant from my teachers and my learning, I became anxious and despised going to school. Studying abroad in England at 15 was certainly challenging, but it broadened my horizons. I felt a closer connection to my teachers and enjoyed a freedom to discuss academic or personal issues. I became more confident in my abilities and performed much better.

At university, I explored the psychological underpinnings of child development and education. One of the greatest takeaways from my Masters programme was the importance of competence beliefs in children — self-perceptions about their own capabilities (Zimmerman & Schunk, 2006). Literature shows that the higher children’s self-perceived ability, the greater their motivation and the better their academic achievement (e.g. Wigfield & Eccles, 2001; Urdan & Schoenfelder, 2006; Guay, Marsh, & Bovin, 2003; Freiberger, Steinmayr, & Spinath 2012). In retrospect, I performed better when I viewed myself as more capable because I felt understood and cared for. Positive relationships between teachers and students often lead to better performance (Bernstein-Yamashir & Noam, 2013). Students show higher attendance rates and test scores, and improved engagement and motivation in a personalised, respectful and safe learning environment with strong teacher support (Klem & Connell, 2004).

Teaching back at home, I try my best to show my students that they are listened to despite the large class size. For example, I start my lessons off with Show and Tell or a “Mood Check” where students take turns vocalising their thoughts or sharing something dear to their hearts. This way, the whole class gets to know more about each other and an opportunity to be heard outside of the curriculum. Their participation has been pleasantly encouraging. Each student has also prepared, per my instruction, a notebook of their choice to use as their journal where they pen their thoughts without worrying about being assessed. Some students have told me about their weekend plans, and others have shared more personal concerns about their family and life outside of school. Their sharing, verbal and written, has opened up windows for conversation. The more I know my students, the easier classroom management has become.

As I move further into the term, I have enjoyed the benefits of assigning tasks that students can relate to. As part of a poetry module, I had my Primary 5s write limericks and cinquains about themselves, their class, or their learning. This task was well received; students showed strong understanding of the taught poetic structures afterwards. For Primary 3, in preparation of their mid-term tests, I asked students to think of one question they thought might come up in their test. I envisioned it to be a short and simple activity, but it turned out to be a practice test paper compiled solely from their input. We went through these review questions together and they were a lot more engaged than usual as they enjoyed the fruits of their labour.


Bernstein-Yamashiro, B. and Noam, G.G., 2013. Teacher-student relationships: A growing field of study. New Directions for Youth Development

Guay, F., Marsh, H. W. and Boivin, M., 2003. Academic self-concept and academic achievement: developmental perspectives on their causal ordering. Journal of educational psychology, 95(1), pp.124-136.

Freiberger, V., Steinmayr, R. and Spinath, B., 2012. Competence beliefs and perceived ability evaluations: How do they contribute to intrinsic motivation and achievement?. Learning and Individual Differences, 22(4), pp.518-522.

Klem, A.M. and Connell, J.P., 2004., Relationships matter: Linking teacher support to student engagement and achievement. Journal of school health, 74, pp.262-273.

Urdan, T. and Schoenfelder, E., 2006. Classroom effects on student motivation: Goal structures, social relationships, and competence beliefs. Journal of School Psychology, 44(5), pp.331-349.

Wigfield, A. and Eccles, J. S., 2000. Expectancy–Value Theory of Achievement Motivation. Contemporary educational psychology, 25(1), pp.68-81.

Zimmerman, B.J, and Schunk, D.H., 2006. Competence and control beliefs: Distinguishing the means and ends. Handbook of educational psychology, 2, pp.349-367.

March 01, 2021

How can assessment encourage and motivate children to succeed both academically and socially?

by Richard

Teachers plan lessons according to the curriculum and to suit the needs of the students; the planning of assessments should be no different. Bartlett states (2015, p.59) that “assessment of each activity should be part of the planning process and needs to be seamless and focused”. Assessments need to be relevant and authentic to serve our students' needs best. Callison (1998, p.1) claims that “Authentic assessment is an evaluation process that involves multiple forms of performance measurement reflecting the student's learning, achievement, motivation, and attitudes on instructional-proceedings. Examples of authentic assessment techniques include performance assessment, portfolios, and self-assessment”. According to Callison, in order to create authentic assessments that encourage student growth, it is first essential that we take the time to get to know our students. If we do not know our students, it will not be easy to measure what is relevant and meaningful.

Creating a positive classroom environment, where students are encouraged and collaborative relationships are formed, is the first step for making significant and appropriate assessments that inform the teacher and the student and allow for maximum growth. School assessments should assess the process, not the final task. If assessments are authentic, students will be motivated learners and take ownership and pride in their learning, thus taking opportunities to develop the 21st-century learning skills that are so important to learn. I believe that, building positive relationships and creating meaningful and authentic assessments is crucial for the success of our students. As educators, we must ensure that we take any opportunities to learn and reflect upon our practice, to do what is best for our students.

Black and Wiliam (2012, p.2) claim "assessment in education must, first and foremost, serve the purpose of supporting learning". In my teaching, I have used many diagnostic assessments in the past in order to support learning. For example, I have used running records, journals, writing prompts, KWL charts, pre-unit tests, among others. However, the best types of assessments that I have encountered have been meaningful projects that were student led. In these instances, students were collaborative and motivated to succeed because they were passionate about what they were learning. Therefore, in the process, they were academically driven. Whenever possible, I aim for formative and summative assessments to either overlap or integrate, providing it is meaningful and relevant to both myself and my students. If formative and summative assessments are integrated, the criticisms surrounding summative assessments disappear as they can be informative and can help instil confidence in students, while also meeting other objectives.

Self-assessment, in my perspective, is one of the best ways for students to truly take ownership of their learning, and this can also be integrated into formative and summative assessments. With continued effort and understanding, blending formative and summative assessments is something all educators should consider, as it will positively impact both their teaching practice and the students they teach.

We can motivate students to take control of their learning and engage in the reflection process, formative assessments will transform the assessment process from a process that only gives relevant information to teachers, to a process that also gives relevant information to students. Again, all this needs to be done through the development of positive working relationships alongside safe and comfortable learning environments so students can thrive and meet and exceed their potential.


Bartlett, J. (2015) Outstanding Assessment for the Classroom. 1st ed. London.

Black, P & Wiliam, D. (2012). Edited by: John Gardner. Assessment and Learning. 2nd Edition. Chapter 2: "Assessment for Learning in the Classroom" Publishing Company: SAGE Publications Ltd City: London.

Callison, D. (1998). Authentic Assessment. School Library Media Activities Monthly 14, no. 5. Retrieved from

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