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February 07, 2022

What is your teaching philosophy? – Doreen Chia Pei Nee

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

“What I hear, I forget. What I see, I remember. What I do, I understand.” - This is the quote that shapes my approach in teaching and it always acts as a reminder when I plan my lessons. My teaching philosophy is to create an ideal environment where students are eager and passionate to learn. I was brought up in a small city where I attended conventional school and I was educated in a very traditional way. Throughout my learning journey, all my schools are very ‘test-heavy’ and we were asked to sit in front of our desks in rows and repeat our reading and writing after the teacher. Therefore, in my teaching now, I always take into consideration and make allowances for hands-on and fun learning activities in my lessons to engage my students in their learning. According to Hunton (2015), “fun without the learning implies a missing object and a lack of strategy supporting the use”. I do believe that ‘fun learning’ is one of the key elements to emphasise positive learning behaviours and create an engaging learning environment in class.

I also believe that Hunton’s theory links to applying ‘Active Learning’ in classrooms and the first three levels in Bloom’s Taxonomy which is ‘Remembering’, ‘Understanding” then ‘Applying’. Tabrizi & Rideout (2017) states that, “This reflects on how we learn from simple (remember) to complex (create), and from concrete to abstract”. When students are given a new concept, they explore and learn through different activities and once they understand the idea, they could then apply this knowledge in other areas. Also, Hunton (2015) argues that, “Challenge is one of the Eight Triggers mentioned by Griffith and Burns (2012) as being a great motivating technique; accepting challenge is an effective way of obtaining results”. Eventually, we are aiming that the student can reach a higher level in Bloom’s taxonomy, where they ‘evaluate and create’, by including critical thinking approaches in lessons and to challenge the more ability (TS5 – “Adapt teaching to respond to the strengths and needs of all pupils”) in class to keep on learning.

In my first Mandarin lesson, whilst it was fun and informative, it was too much learning for students to comprehend in one single lesson. Upon reflecting on my teaching, just as Hammond and Gibbons (2001) explained, “Scaffolding is the heart of effective teaching and teachers are just like builders, providing supporting structures to assist learners to develop new concepts”. In order for students to ‘internalise’ new understanding, effective scaffolding in planning and delivering lessons is what I believe a teacher should always be mindful of.

My aspiration is to be a teacher who supports and helps the children to achieve what they are passionate about by providing a secure and loving environment to grow. Just like my first school that I worked at, the school’s philosophy was “The teacher speaks softly, the children grow calmly. I promise to provide you a safe place to grow, I promise to offer you a happy place to develop.” (TS1 – “Establish a safe and stimulating environment for pupils”). This has impacted my teaching approaches and shaped my ideology in teaching.

By embracing fun learning in my teaching and bringing together what I am learning in this course, I believe I can achieve my goal to be the kind of teacher I would like to be, compassionate and knowledgeable, and my students would thrive and flourish in the future.

References

Tabrizi, S. & Rideout, G. (2017). Active Learning: Using Bloom's Taxonomy to Support Critical Pedagogy [Online]. (https://infonomics-society.org/wp-content/uploads/ijcdse/published-papers/volume-8-2017/Active-Learning-Using-Blooms-Taxonomy-to-Support-Critical-Pedagogy.pdf)

Hunton, J. (2015). Fun Learning Activities for Modern Foreign Language [Online]. (https://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/warw/reader.action?docID=1977262)

Griffith, A. & Burns, M. (2012). Outstanding Teaching: Engaging Learners, Carmarthen, Crown House Publishing.

Hammond, J. & Gibbons, P. (2001). What is Scaffolding? In J. Hammond (Ed.), Scaffolding: Teaching and learning in language and literacy education. Sydney: Primary English Teachers Association.


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