All entries for August 2022

August 30, 2022

What is your teaching philosophy? – Yann Zhe Yau

Often, we ask children, what do they want to be when they grow up? Into their teenage years, we tend to ask what would you like to study or do? As adults we tend to be asked, where do you see yourself in five years? And as adults we like to ask: What’s next in life? This shows a pattern in everyone's life. Where are we going? What do we want out of life? What is next? Such questions are easily answered but getting there is far more difficult. We need to know how to acquire skills, how to learn new things in this ever fast-pacing world, we need to support and develop our Emotional Intelligence. As such my teaching philosophy is to help give and develop the tools needed for the evolution of learning throughout life.

Throughout my experience, I always look at things as a journey. What made my understanding and learning faster, what slowed it down? How did I get one group to sound good and how did I solve a struggling group (TS1 & 2)? Throughout the years I heard of colleagues making different choices. Some sold insurance, became lawyers etc. Others struggled with the identity of just being a musician. At this point I was enjoying being a freelance musician/educator and it brought a profound question to mind. Do I have a responsibility to give my students more than music lessons? (TS 8)

Barnes, Brown and Warhust (2016) wrote about how education and developing skills can help keep us motivated and passionate throughout our life. This gives us an important insight to our roles as Educators. It is not just for examinations and preparing them to pass the years in school. But to look at the long-term effects of each individual life. In an ever-fast-paced society, adaptability is key. One must be passionate about their life, but one must also have foresight into establishing a firm base to overcome life uncertainty and unpredictability.

Weinstein and Sumeracki (2019) wrote about how everything we do goes back to using our memory. A big part of learning is recalling information and putting that knowledge to effective use. Teaching students' tactics to commit materials into long term memory is part of our daily routine. In doing so, we are setting up a format, we have effectively given them an insight into organizing behaviors and helping them develop lifelong skills. (TS 4).

Price and Savage (2012) wrote about how music creates scenarios that allow us to exchange and learn about cultures through music. Aside from understanding the tools of learning, another important aspect is soft skills. By teaching music to students one can develop communicative skills, creativity, problem solving, promote teamwork and develop one's personality. Such skills are useful not only for building relationships but also to balance one's mental state. (TS 7)

My teaching touchstone impacted me in knowing that with the acquiring of knowledge and understanding nothing is impossible, having achieved that comes many possibilities (TS 1 & 2).

I aspire to be a teacher that can give my students such tools.


Barnes, Brown and Warhurst, (2016) Education as the underpinning system: understanding the propensity for learning across the lifetime (Future of Skills & Lifelong Learning Evidence Review). London: Foresight, Government Office for Science.

Weinstein and Sumeracki, (2019) Understanding How We Learn A Visual Guide. New York: Routledge.

Price and Savage, (2012) Teaching Secondary Music. London: Safe Publications Ltd.

August 23, 2022

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.

August 15, 2022

What is your teaching philosophy? – Faaria Volinski

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 grounded in my belief that diversity is a strength and each child, regardless of cultural or family background, active and latent abilities or individual circumstances, can achieve their own definition of success and make a positive contribution to our world.

As a journalist living internationally, I met and learned about people from all walks of life who faced challenges that often stemmed from uninspiring or not useful education, harmful childhood experiences, or lack of systemic support for individual needs. Journalism and communications work taught me that I come alive when I am interacting with others in a supportive and enriching environment for growth. I soon realized that being a teacher would give me the opportunity to empower diverse people to flourish and reach their full potential while affording me the same. (The Jubilee Centre 2017: 1)

Furthermore, during hundreds of interviews, I also learned the importance of giving people a safe space to be heard and discover “new ways of knowing and understanding”. (Alexander 2020: 7) In the classroom, facilitating thoughtful pedagogical discourse and feedback is of paramount importance to me. (TS6) In this way, I can see through my students’ eyes and they take on increasing independence to overcome their own challenges. (Hattie 2009: 238) For example, one of my Year 1 pupils was struggling with a fall-out with a friend and the language barrier she faced kept her from proactively sorting the problem. In a quiet space with no time pressure, I asked her questions to probe and expand her thoughts and feelings. (TS1,5) She decided what she wanted to say using the sentence starter, “Why don’t we…?” After oral rehearsal, she took the initiative to speak to her friend and they worked things out independently.

As an EAL teacher, I have seen children feel disempowered, unenthusiastic, lonely and hopeless due to language and cultural barriers. In response, I make a point to regularly acknowledge and build on their strengths explicitly. (TS2) For example, many EAL pupils have strong resourcefulness. I have taught lessons where children create their own word banks and visual resources based on a personal goal. Pupils have the opportunity to independently test the scaffold in class and iterate. One pupil was asked by a non-EAL classmate, “Where did you get that sheet? Can I have one?” The pupil felt proud of his resourcefulness and ability to help himself.

Finally, as a child my character development and learning came largely from extracurricular music endeavors and outdoor excursions. Therefore, I aim to foster children’s academic interests by drawing on their passions outside class. For example, I based a formative assessment lesson on creating a desired atmosphere around the short film Alma, based on my knowledge that one of my pupils loves creepy horror films. His increased motivation and excitement towards the lesson was obvious as soon as we got started. (Kahu et. al. 2017:56) He actively used the target vocabulary to share his thoughts because the lesson was directly relevant to what he enjoys outside the classroom. (Cowley 2010: 108) I aspire to keep an open and creative mind to build bridges between the National Curriculum and the interests and spheres of my pupils’ lives to foster in them an intrinsic love of lifelong learning. (TS3, 4)


Alexander, R. (2020) A Dialogic Teaching Companion. [online] Oxon: Routledge. Available from: (Accessed 2 October 2021).

Cowley, S. (2010) Getting the Buggers to Behave. 4th edn. Continuum. Available from: (Accessed 2 October 2021).

Hattie, J. (2008) Visible learning: A Synthesis of 800 Meta-analyses Relating to Achievement. London: Routledge.

Kahu et al. (July 2017) Student interest as a key driver of engagement for first year students. Student Success 8 (2): 55-66. Available from: (Accessed 2 October 2021).

The Jubilee Centre. (2017) A Framework for Character Education in Schools. Available at: (Accessed 2 October 2021).

August 08, 2022

What is your teaching philosophy? – Ailsa Thomas

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 towards education in the early years is that first, and foremost, the children should be at the heart of the learning journey. My responsibility as a teacher, will be to give each child the best start to their education. Every child is unique, and with that individuality comes a variety of strengths and offerings. As a teacher it will be my obligation to ensure that each child feels inspired to contribute their ideas, questioning the ideas of others respectfully and furthermore allowing them to build their confidence in the learning environment. Children will understand that ideas will be respected, thereby cultivating a mindset that is open to change and full of curiosity. The different ways in which they approach learning as individuals will be celebrated. “With the right mindset and the right teaching people are capable of a lot more than we think.” (Dweck, C.S. 2006 P64)

I am a firm believer in a child centered approach to learning and find that children in early years learn best through play, involving hands on, meaningful and stimulated activities which allow children to learn at their own pace and follow their own interests. I feel that child-initiated inquiry led play gives children many opportunities to foster their innate curiosity and creativity, at the same time encouraging children to use their imaginations to solve problems through their own questioning and investigating. I will apply Vygotsky’s theories of how children learn from both the teacher as well as other students, allowing for scaffolding from both. “Play is absolutely fundamental to learning: it is the natural fruit of curiosity and imagination.”(Robinson K. 2016 P96)

Effort will be rewarded, and mistakes will be viewed as a means of learning. “Glowing and unconditional praise that masks errors and mistakes is harmful to children’s development.” (Dweck CS 2006) Having been educated in a competitive independent school where mistakes were frowned upon and only those who were seen to be academically able were encouraged, I discovered the detrimental effects this can have on a child’s confidence at an early stage. Therefore, I want to be able to promote, as one of my touchstones, the fact that as individuals we all have a role to play and a positive contribution to make. It will not only be about achieving the desired outcome, but an understanding that the process of investigation and engaging with the topic is just as important. Appreciation for others emotional needs and positive behaviour will play an important role within my classroom. It will be my responsibility to ensure that I provide an environment within the classroom that is both consistent and positive, while ensuring that I am an inspirational role model for these attributes, as well as ensuring that I am continually learning and furthering my own knowledge.


Dweck C.S. (2006) Mindset, Changing the way you think to fulfil your potential. New York, Random House.

Robinson K (2016) Creative Schools. New York, Penguin Random House.

Dweck C.S. (2006) Mindset, The new Psychology of success. New York, Random House.

August 01, 2022

What is your teaching philosophy? – Shantanna Tabrizi

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?

‘There is no such thing as neutral education. Education either functions as an instrument to bring about conformity or freedom’ (Freire, 1968)

The basis of my teaching philosophy is that all students should be nurtured and guided to think for themselves. At the heart of this is my core belief that creativity and freedom are vital in encouraging students to access their unique voices and perspectives, to be able to explore them critically and to share them through effective communication.

Growing up, I spent a lot of time in Middle Eastern and Asian education systems. Whilst I always performed well academically, the teaching styles I was exposed to were not aligned with my own learning styles. Whilst I didn’t mind memorising facts and poems to recite when called upon, even from an early age I took issue with being told how to think, what opinions I should have and being discouraged from asking unwanted questions. It seemed that the aim was to learn facts, not discover answers.

Reflecting on my educational touchstones, I consider the effect my secondary Drama teacher had on me, how her approach resonates and impacts the type of teacher I aspire to be. Her objective was to give students the confidence and skills required for success beyond the classroom.

In response to my experiences, my goal is to create a safe space for my students to explore and question, so they may formulate their own opinions whilst accommodating various learning styles. Within a safe Drama space typical hierarchy cannot be implemented, and the teacher must assume the role facilitator, guiding the students. My approach this year has been to collaborate with students on a set of classroom expectations (TS1/TS7). These have been created without judgement and outlines the basic behaviour expected from each participant and acts as a mutual agreement between us. It has been observed that when working in a personalised space with strong guidance and support from the teacher, students’ motivation and engagement is enhanced (Klem & Connell, 2004).

Due to the nature of Drama classes, facilitators must be flexible in their approach to the lesson objectives. Therefore, it is crucial that I demonstrate adaptability in my teaching to accommodate the needs of each class and the individuals within it (TS5). Safe spaces and routine work in tandem, and my basic lesson structure reflects this. Every lesson has four distinct segments.

1. Warm up/Check in

2. Present tasks/Give options/Model activity

3. Perform the task(s)

4. Review (TS4)

At the start of every lesson, the students utilise the space they have created to discuss concerns, achievements, feelings and experiences, encouraging communication and trust among their peers, and freeing themselves of any anxieties that may inhibit their work.

In section two, I present several activities to the students - all of which utilise the same skills or have similar objectives. The students’ input is welcomed in determining the activities - when the lesson permits, on the condition they justify their decisions before putting it to a class vote, promoting communication, responsibility and decision making. Once decided, clear instructions are given, and the activity is modelled. In the final part, we review the session together. The students reflect on their learning, evaluate their work, and give honest feedback on the session whilst setting ongoing objectives for themselves.


Anderson, M. (2012). Collaborative understanding: Ensemble approaches in drama education. In MasterClass in drama education: Transforming teaching and learning (pp. 65-77). New York, NY: Continuum International Publishing Group.

Freire, P. (1972). Pedagogy of the oppressed. New York: Herder and Herder

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.

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  • Very interesting, thank you for sharing. Great CPD reflection. by Joel Milburn on this entry
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