My Teaching Philosophy (v1)

25 02 2013

As part of my PGCPE, we were encourage to write a teaching philosphy, which will form the backbone of our portfolio, so here is my first draft. I expect it to change faily fundamentally in the coming weeks!

Teaching Philosophy

Education is important to me, as I saw it as a way to progress. With not having a full degree (I have a foundation year in modern languages and business), I felt, at times, this was a drawback compared to some of my peers. Entering the world of accountancy and subsequently teaching, I discovered that I have a passion for trying to make learning a relaxed, enjoyable experience, whilst at the same time, impressing both the importance and challenges of obtaining a professional qualification.

In the centre where I work, we personally review our feedback. My teaching style has evolved – beneficially – as a result of this process. I have ensured I focus on greater clarity, the skills needed to learn and pass exams, which has resulted in improved pass rates across the subjects I teach.

I keep good relationships with students by using humour, offering support and respecting their needs. My attitude to my colleagues is as a source of new information, but also offering assistance where possible.

I have analysed my teaching philosophy under the following headings:

Passion, Enjoyment, Challenge, Knowledge and Discipline.

Passion

I have long felt passionate about both obtaining and providing education, which drives my motivation to offer the best possible service to our students. The need for education to be adaptive has led me to embrace a variety of techniques to respond to differing learning styles, such as the use of diagrams, video clips, and varying styles of question debriefs (such as collaborative or tutor led).

Enjoyment

How do we learn? Is it by being told, coerced and belittled? Or is it through encouragement, the sensation of an environment where it is acceptable to make mistakes and repetition?

The old style learning of being punished in the event of mistakes is no longer appropriate (not least in adult education!), so what do we need to do? Allow students to learn by doing, offer a safe environment where students feel comfortable giving opinions and answers.

Challenge

There is not an implication that enjoyment encompasses an easy ride – the subjects taught, the exams taken are tough! In this case, students must challenge themselves constantly – don’t take the easy questions, try something that stretches their ability (made easier by fostering a class where it is tolerable to make mistakes).

Knowledge

The transfer of knowledge from tutor to student is a movable feast – would you rather read or be involved? Would you rather watch or listen? An awareness of learning styles and modalities can greatly assist the effective conversion from the words on the page, to knowledge stored.

Discipline

A qualification is not meant to be awarded effortlessly; it should be rewarding, valuable (and valued) and desirable. The need for discipline within the classroom is a lesser regard at the professional education stage, with regard to behaviours, however, there is often the need for a shift in attitude: away from the old standard ‘chalk and talk’ of secondary school or some universities, and towards interactive learning, with the ownership of the end goal resting with the students.

Conclusion

Finally, in terms of how I would describe my teaching:

I would like it to be a comfortable, structured environment, where the students are aware of the demands placed upon them (which are reiterated by me), such as the need to work hard, to take ownership of their qualifications and to ask where they are uncertain.

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