All entries for July 2022

July 18, 2022

What is your teaching philosophy? – Nasim Syed

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?

“Of the various callings to which the division of labour has caused man specially to devote himself, there is none to be compared for nobility or usefulness with that of the true teacher” (Sands, 2019). Reflecting on why I choose to specialise as a teacher, I believe this profession is among the most honourable and valuable in society. As a teacher, I aim to empower others to grow – cognitively, emotionally, socially – to contribute to the world in their way positively.

Sands (2019) says that true teachers will adapt their teaching methods to the nature of the object to be taught and to the order in which the faculties of the human mind naturally unfold themselves. Part of my teaching philosophy is that one should adapt their approach to best connect with students at an individual level, recognising the unique nature of each person. I first experienced this type of attention from my mother, who seemed to treat each of her six sons according to their different personalities, making my five brothers and I feel most valued and loved. As a father of a four-year-old boy, I now interest in children’s development and how we talk to children can influence them.

My first foray into teaching was ‘on the mat’, training in jiu-jitsu at my university Jitsu Club. The nature of attending martial arts sessions twice a week over an academic year means that you become increasingly better at the activity over time. As such, when the new student ‘freshers’ arrives the following year, you are automatically someone who can guide them in the techniques you’ve learned. Jitsu has developed my appreciation for peer learning, which has become an essential element in my classroom. Additionally, I believe that extra-curricular activities are just as important as academic pursuits, helping to develop a well-rounded character. As Holt & Ramsay (2021) suggest, martial arts are associated with moral philosophy and are typically seen as a vehicle to transform character.

A critical experience that led me further into teaching was a volunteering trip to South Africa. I joined a group to co-teach a life skills course to disadvantaged teenagers, educating them about sexually transmitted diseases and strategies to develop a positive mindset. A part of my philosophy became to best prepare students for the real world, teaching them practical skills and knowledge to serve them in life. As technology continues to change industries and create new jobs that haven’t existed in the past, education systems must respond to this new world of work to ensure that students are educated, skilled, prepared, and employable for the future (Wilen, 2018:182).

Chen (2003) identifies this as a ‘business-based metaphor’ where teaching is considered as an efficient process of producing students who will satisfy the needs of the market. According to Erdem (2019), 21st-century teachers should contribute to the individual’s development, take the initiative, make sound decisions, communicate effectively, have empathy, manage information, serve as a guide for students, and continue life-long learning themselves.


Chen, D. (2003) A Classification System for Metaphors about Teaching. Journal of Physical Education Recreation and Dance, 74:24-31 Available at: (Accessed: 10 October 2021).

Erdem, C. (2019) Introduction to 21st Century Skills and Education. Cambridge Scholars Publishing, Cambridge. Available at: (Accessed: 7 October 2021).

Holt, J. & Ramsay, M. (2021) The Philosophy of Mixed Martial Arts. Routledge, London. Available at: (Accessed: 12 October 2021).

Sands, N. (2019) The Philosophy of Teaching: The Teacher, The Pupil, The School. Good Press, New York. Available at: (Accessed: 9 September 2021).

Wilen, T. (2018) Digital Disruption: The Future of Work, Skills, Leadership, Education, and Careers in a Digital World. Peter Lang, New York. Available at: (Accessed: 8 October 2021).

July 11, 2022

What is your teaching philosophy? – Donella Stretch

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?

Connection is at the heart of my teaching philosophy. Building positive relationships in the classroom is vital to developing student and teacher wellbeing. Students with higher levels of wellbeing are more engaged in school and have higher levels of academic success (Gutman and Vorhaus, 2012).

Fostering an inclusive and supportive classroom community full of mutual respect is key to children developing trust, empathy and self-worth. Through many years working as a learning support teaching assistant, I have seen the importance of building an inclusive environment where everyone feels that they are a valued member of the class. Making sure I allocate time to wellbeing in the form of a Morning Meeting, where everyone greets each other and shares something about themselves, is a great opportunity for everyone to feel recognised, get to know each other and prepare for a successful day ahead.

Getting to know students is essential to make every child feel valued as an individual. Robinson and Aronica (2015:52) believe that, “All students are unique individuals with their own hopes, talents, anxieties, fears, passions, and aspirations”. Accordingly, engaging with the individual is key to understanding what motivates them and helps to deliver lessons that are more meaningful. Reflecting on my own school days, it was in classes in which I felt a personal connection to the teachers in which I was most confident to ask for help and felt eager to learn. I always make an effort to note down things I learn about my students in the morning meeting, so that I can connect with students later through conversation. Establishing rapport has not only had an impact on student engagement but also on my own motivation.

Students are only with us for less than a year but it is important that we invest time in building relationships and showing we care. I always make sure to greet each child and ask how they are. Research has shown that conveying warmth and showing you care and respect students enhances relatedness which is a key factor in developing intrinsic motivation (Neimiec and Ryan, 2009). Recently I have seen the results of investing my time building positive relationships. Last year, one boy did not greet us or share anything about himself and had little engagement in lessons. Every day I asked him how he was and tried to initiate conversation. I persevered, even though it seemed I was making little progress. At the end of the year, he finally started to respond and join in lesson discussions. Now in the year above, he greets me and asks how I am when he sees me in the corridor and I make an effort to check in with him when we meet.

I believe it is important to keep and build relationships beyond the classroom. In the past I have seen how teachers build connections with the wider school community through extra-curricular activities. Therefore, I decided to run a nature club at my school where I can share my passion for nature with like-minded individuals. It has had a positive effect on my own wellbeing by connecting me with many pupils and staff throughout the school.

By investing in relationships, we create a safe space to take risks, ask questions and share experiences. The importance of human connection cannot be underestimated.


Gutman, L.M. and J. Vorhaus (2012) The Impact of Pupil Behaviour and Wellbeing on Educational Outcomes. London: Childhood Wellbeing Research Centre, Institute of Education, University of London.

Robinson, K., & Aronica, L. (2015). Creative Schools: Revolutionizing Education from the Ground Up. [Kindle iOS version] New York: Penguin Books. Available from: [Accessed 25 September 2021].

Niemiec, C. P. and Ryan, R. M. (2009) Autonomy, competence, and relatedness in the classroom: Applying self-determination theory to educational practice. Theory and Research in Education, 7(2): 133–144.

July 06, 2022

What is your teaching philosophy? Catharine Steele

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 teaching philosophy is a mix of my educational touchstones and my continued journey to be the best I can be through asking questions, learning new cultures and reflecting every day. My aim is to help children foster a lifelong love of learning. I have been lucky enough to live in England, Dubai and Singapore and see cultures that are completely different to those I have been exposed to before. The school I work in is an IB school which focuses on being an inquirer, good communicator and risk taker. The core values of the school ‘RECIPE’ mirrors Goodwin and Hubbels suggestion, be demanding, be supportive and be intentional (2013). I believe a child will learn better when they can relate to the subject being taught. As a student I was always able to grasp the concept of being taught if it was made fun, interactive and accessible. At the end of a school day, I would like to be able to send a child home who tells their parents their highlights of their day. I will promote this through an environment that doesn’t feel stressed, using mindfulness as one of many tools.

My first philosophy is being able to adapt my teaching approach where required and react to the different needs of the learners in my class (TS5). I look back on my second term as a classroom assistant, as a touchstone, when covid-19 took effect and schools were forced to go to home-based learning. This created a new way of teaching and learning; I embraced the challenge of creating visual stimulus when conducting art classes creating step by step examples to reach the final art piece required. ‘Drawing requires us to learn each component skill and then combine them into one process’ (Dweck, pg 68). Breaking down the task kept the learners engaged, asking them to show me their work enabled me to reflect on each Learner’s progress and know that I still had their attention on this platform.

My second philosophy is creating a safe, fun learning environment. A space that is welcoming and one that promotes open communication between myself, the learners and their parents. Hattie states ‘developing relationships requires skill by the teacher – such as the skills of listening, empathy, caring and having positive regard for others.’ (Hattie, pg 118). I will always remember my primary school days being full of happiness and energy. Performing has been a passion of mine since I can remember, and I will be using this every day in my classroom to create a fun learning environment. I secured a place at the BRIT school when I was 14 and this propelled my love for performing and enabled me to follow a dream of entertaining children across the UK. I am always the person who is singing and dancing in the classroom and the learners are drawn to this fun part of my personality and trust is built quickly and easily. The safe space I create through my performing nature means the learners seem happy and comfortable to come to different activities and sessions with me, these connections are something I strive for. This aligns TS1, ‘Establish a safe and stimulating environment for pupils, rooted in mutual respect’ (Department of Education, 2011, p10).


Department for Education (2011). Teachers’ Standards: Guidance for school leaders, school staff and governing bodies Crown Copyright

Dweck, C. (2017). Mindset, updated edition. London: Robinson.

Goodwin, B.,& Hubbell, E. R. (2013). The 12 Touchstones of Good Teaching: A checklist for Staying Focused Every Day (Kindle version). Retrieved from

Hattie J. C. (2009) Visible Learning: A Synthesis of Over 800 Meta-Analyses Relating to Achievement. London and New York: Routledge

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