All entries for May 2022
May 30, 2022
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 fundamentally rooted in forming close, positive and respectful relationships with each and every child to optimise conditions for learning. In particular, I value each and every individual’s different interests, talents and unique personality. As demonstrated by Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, it is only when a child feels safe and their needs are met will they be ready to start learning effectively.
When my son started school, being very shy and quiet, he was easily overlooked by the class teacher and he felt unnoticed in a large class. He really struggled to learn during his first two years at school and it had a negative impact on his self-esteem. Outside of school, he was passionate about sport, skiing, swimming and Brazilian jujitsu but his teachers were unaware. It was only in his third year, when a teacher took her time to personalise her relationship with him and really make him feel included that I noticed a huge change in his attitude and confidence. He began to feel more valued and his outlook on school was replaced with a positive experience. It was not what that teacher had taught him that was of importance, it was how she made him feel. He is now a thriving 15 year old, about to take his GCSEs and I will always be indebted to those teachers who made a difference along the way. I aspire to be that teacher who makes a difference in a child’s life by focusing on human connections. I want to be able to create an environment where each child feels a sense of love, acceptance and belonging and can flourish personally and academically.
I believe each child is born with a thirst for learning and I want to nurture and encourage this love of discovery and curiosity that will hopefully, last a lifetime. To fully achieve ones potential, my goal will be to help children become motivated, effective learners. We need to instill in children the importance of grit to succeed (as psychologist Angela Duckworth describes it, a combination of passion and perseverance). What goes hand in hand with grit is a growth mindset (Carole Dweck). Having a growth mindset not only promotes academic progress, but children will enjoy better emotional and physical health and have stronger, more positive social relationships with other people. It is imperative that children are not disheartened by failure, rather, they view their mistakes as an opportunity to grow and learn. The brain is malleable and what a child is achieving now, is by no means an indication to what they are able to achieve in the future.
Underpinning all of this is always high expectations from each child and myself. As a teacher, I shall endeavour to never remain complacent and I will always seek to reflect, refine and improve my practice.
Dweck, C (2012). Mindset : How You Can Fulfil Your Potential. London: Constable & Robinson.
Duckworth, A (2016). Grit : The Power of Passion and Perseverance. New York: Scribner.
May 23, 2022
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?
My touchstones pertaining to education have been heavily guided by my interest in assisting others. I value helping students understand difficult and new information. As a side income, I provide private tutoring to students in my circle of friends and families who need extra support. From experiences like these, I believe that teaching is not a one size fits all. I realize that my teaching practices and beliefs will change over the years with experience and reflection from my students and other educators.
Growing up as a student in Singapore, there was little flexibility and deviation from the prescribed national curriculum. Singaporean teachers were made to ‘teach to the test’ that was highly scripted. Educators often argue that directive learning has a negative connotation to it but evidently, the teaching strategy has proven to be successful in producing favorable outcomes in high stakes examinations (Hogan, 2014). This unusual success however has been made aware that the method was not suitable in preparing students for the real world.
My teaching philosophy therefore sits on a range between the inquiry-based approach and the direct instruction approach. Learners are not meant to absorb information passively. They are supposed to be challenged with new ideas in a climate that forces them to develop a sense of competence and valued effort rather than ability. Neuroscience studies have shown that inquiry-based teaching exhibits increased engagement between a student and teacher. The results demonstrated that prompting questions and creating discussions generate a higher brain activity (Rotgans & Schmidt, 2011). Emphasis on inferential thinking and metacognition is essential in adolescents as their frontal lobes begin to mature and develop (Semrud-Clikeman, 2010). This promotes higher cognitive function in processing data efficiently and staying actively engaged. Rosenshine states that teachers should adopt probing of student’s schema with multiple responsive questions as it is a powerful mode of questioning and a form of guided practice as well (Sherrington, 2019).
On the other end of the spectrum is directive teaching – a traditional pedagogical approach that is structured and heavily teacher-led. I do believe that this approach is not mutually exclusive either. If incorporated extensively beyond successful results from assessments, directive teaching will on some level be required either way. For example, modelling practical work so that students know what is required of them. Or emphasizing key scientific vocabularies so that it retains in their memory. All in all, there are diverse strategies that are supposed to be interchangeable and not set to be taught in one way.
I hope to incorporate these approaches in my classrooms as I embark on my teaching journey and continue to reflect as an educator. To adapt and change my ideas on how an effective teacher educates and to create an environment for my students to be creative and curious.
Hogan, D., 2014. The conversation. [Online] Available at: https://theconversation.com/why-is-singapores-school-system-so-successful-and-is-it-a-model-for-the-west-22917 [Accessed 1 October 2021].
Rotgans , J. I. & Schmidt, H. G., 2011. Cognitive engagement in the problem-based learning. Advances in Health Sciences Education, 16(4), pp. 465-479.
Semrud-Clikeman, M., 2010. American Psychological Association. [Online] Available at: https://www.apa.org/education-career/k12/brain-function [Accessed 1 October 2021].
Sherrington, T., 2019. Strand 2: Questioning. In: Rosenshine's Principles In Action. Melton, UK: John Catt Educational Limited, pp. 27-34.
May 16, 2022
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?
“A child needs encouragement like a plant needs water.”
This quote strikes a chord with me, having been a very shy, quiet, and unconfident child, who was often overlooked in class. Had I had the encouragement given to me in my schooling years maybe my experience would have been a different, more positive one. My teaching philosophy, therefore, is to make sure I will be a teacher who celebrates the learning of every pupil, giving encouragement, praise and inspiring their unique journey.
As a teacher, I aspire to bring out the very best in each individual and create a warm, inviting and stimulating environment for my pupils so that they feel welcome and safe from the moment they enter the classroom. According to Alfie Kohn, “If children feel safe, they can take risks, ask questions, make mistakes, learn to trust, share their feelings, and grow.” It is my aim to create this type of atmosphere so that the children can flourish and have a truly fun and positive school experience.
My parents raised me to have good manners, be polite and respect others. These are attributes I believe to be very important in life and would therefore wish to incorporate in my teaching. It is imperative, however, to lay down these foundations and set expectations in the class with regards to behaviour from the outset. In addition to this, I intend to incorporate hands-on activities, classroom discussion and group/pair work, as is demonstrated in Vygotsky’s zone of proximal development, thus prompting the children to think creatively, explore their natural curiosity and share their ideas. I want them to know that no question is ever too silly to ask. My wish for them is to leave at the end of the year feeling confident, inspired, and enriched.
I remember, in my school years, having teachers who were quite strict, lectured from the front of the class and were unapproachable. My methodology therefore to create an environment opposite to this is very important to me, as I believe this static style of teaching subsequently contributed to my lack of confidence growing up. It was only at a later point in my life, as a mother that my standpoint changed, and I volunteered in a classroom at my children’s school. I found myself really enjoying it and loved helping the pupils and had great feedback from the class teachers about my capability. It was at this point that I started to consider working in a school as a possible career path and looked into training to become a Teaching Assistant. Five years later, I was working at an international school as a Library Assistant who read and acted out stories to Toddler and Nursery classes with my colleague. We received such lovely and encouraging comments from teachers, parents, and the Leadership Team that it gave me the belief and desire to become a teacher myself.
My desire is to make learning fun and to engage, capture and nurture a child’s development and be that teacher a child always remembers!
Rudolf Dreikurs, Don Sr. Dinkmeyer (2013). “Encouraging Children to Learn”, p.3, Routledge.
Alfie Kohn (1999). “Punished by Rewards: The Trouble with Gold Stars, Incentive Plans, A's, Praise, and Other Bribes”, p.255, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
May 09, 2022
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
May 03, 2022
Teaching Philosophy Statement
I believe children have boundless potential. To nurture and unlock each child’s full potential, it is important to teach foundational concepts, skills and tools to support them in becoming lifelong learners and empower them to seek answers for themselves.
Unfortunately, today’s students face growing immense pressure and competition. The experience of school is high “academic expectations as sources of stress” (Tan & Yates, 2011, p. 389) is no longer confined to Confucian heritage societies, but it has become part of the broader “productivity agenda” (Ang, 2014, p. 187) advocated by international organizations and governments around the world. As a result, I have noticed many teachers delivering as much content as possible yet narrowly focused on preparing students for assessments and satisfying parent expectations. This is in stark contrast to my own journey as a student where I was allowed to explore my own interests and enjoyed a more balanced schooling experience. Consequently, I am convinced that a future wise education demands (Perkins, 2014) creating an environment that fosters a disposition towards a love of learning rather than mastering prescribed content.
As a teacher, I want to support children to connect abstract concepts learned in the classroom with real-world application through project-based learning (Kaldi, Fillippatou & Govaris, 2011) that allows them to achieve a depth to their learning thereby enabling them to apply their skills and understanding across all areas of the curriculum in order to be a creative innovators, entrepreneurial problem solvers, and critical thinkers. Given that children are born curious, creative and active learners, it is essential that teachers provide experiences that allow them to build on what they already know and construct new knowledge (Piaget, 1973) through experiential activities that encourage interactive and hands-on learning. Furthermore, the main role of the teacher is a facilitator; therefore, they should scaffold children’s learning at every opportunity by using open-ended questions that challenge and extend existing understandings and equip each child with the resources they need to support them in finding their own answers.
Each child is unique. Teachers need to recognize children develop at their own pace and should meet where the child is. Consequently, understanding each child holistically means: nurturing and celebrating their strengths as well as meeting diverse needs through instructional differentiation (Gardner, 2006). One of the joys of being a teacher is that I find great personal fulfilment when children develop greater confidence and reach their personal best.
After working in a Reggio inspired environment, I subscribe to the view that the environment is truly the third teacher because it is “intentionally visually appealing and stimulating with close attention paid to materials, colours, light microclimate and furnishings” (Miller & Pound, 2019, p.10-11). As such, I have an aesthetic preference for using neutral tones in creating displays to support a calm and inviting learning environment. I also am committed to creating a safe, caring and intellectually engaging setting that encourages children’s imagination, innovation, and resilience to explore their own interests and develop new perspectives.
Professional development is also extremely important to me as I continue my journey as a teacher. When I initially started teaching phonics, I immediately took the initiative to complete a TESOL qualification from Trinity College London because most of the pupils in my classes are non-native English speakers and I wanted to better understand the needs of EAL learners. I am committed to furthering developing myself as an effective teacher through learning about different pedagogical approaches as well as seeking constructive feedback from experienced teachers.
Ang , L. (2014). Preschool or prep school? Rethinking the role of early years education. Contemporary Issues in Early Childhood, 15(2), 185-199.
Gardner, H. (2006). Multiple intelligences: New horizons. New York, NY: Basic Books.
Kaldi, S., Filippatou, D., & Govaris, C. (2011). Project-based learning in primary schools: Effects on pupils’ learning and attitudes. Education 3-13, 39(1), p.35-47.
Miller, L., & Pound, L. (2011). Taking a critical perspective. In L. Miller & L. Pound (Eds.), Theories and approaches to learning in the early years (pp. 1-17). London, UK: SAGE Publications.
Perkins, D. (2014). Future wise education: Educating our children for a changing world. San Francisco, CA: Wiley.
Piaget, J. (1973). To understand is to invent. New York: Grossman.
Tan, J. B., & Yates, S. (2011). Academic expectations as sources of stress in Asian students. Social Psychology of Education, 14(3), 389-407.