Category Archives: My educational philosophy

A Memorable Learning Experience

I have many memorable learning experiences from my time in school, many of which are good. I attended a primary school where I was lucky enough to have opportunities to go on various school trips, have specialists come in and go away to places like Luxembourg. Therefore, I have various experiences which were memorable for a whole host of reasons. However, I have decided to talk about one particular experience today which was our project on Japan.

I remember this topic well as it was active work rather than filling out worksheets or reading books. At the time, I considered it fun and enjoyable as it was different from the usual lessons where you would you have to sit at your desk, listening to the teacher. I think this highlights an important aspect of how to make lessons enjoyable for children. Thinking outside the box and creating lessons very different from what pupils are used to, immediately grabs their attention and therefore produces meaningful learning.

As part of our learning of the Japanese culture, we had the opportunity to dine like we were in Japan. I found this particularly memorable as it was the first time I ever tried sushi and still remember to this day the taste and the disgusted look on my fellow pupils’ faces around me. Even though I’m sure only a handful out of the 60 pupils in primary 7, 8 years ago, actually liked the sushi, it was effective in the way we were talking about it for days and the thought of sushi still reminds me of that day and learning all about Japan.

Another activity that was part of this project which I distinctively remember is making our own Japanese bowls out of clay. I found this particularly memorable as clay making was one of my favourite activities. Once they were set, we also got to paint and decorate them which I remember doing clearly with my best friends at the time. Again, as this was active learning, I really enjoyed it and still have the bowl on display at my parent’s house. In primary school, Art was my favourite subject as it allowed me to be creative. Art still remains most children’s favourite subject at school and I think as teachers we should take advantage of this. Incorporating other curricular areas with art would allow more meaningful learning to take place, if the children were more engaged in say maths disguised amongst art rather than just maths on it’s own (as this is normally the least favourite subject amongst pupils), their learning could be more successful.

The teachers I had who taught this Japan project, went to a lot of effort to bring Japan to us. To make learning realistic, the classroom was decorated and we had Japanese costumes, although the realistic element of these costumes is questionable, our learning had a context which we very much thought was realistic. This enabled enjoyable and meaningful learning which I still remember well. If there’s one thing I can take from reminiscing on this experience, it’s that if you make learning fun and bring the world to them the learning that goes on could stay with them forever.

My Reflection on Feedback.

Feedback plays a very important role in the reflection process. It is essential to gain a good understanding of your own strengths and weakness in order to be able to improve and be constantly developing as a whole. Feedback from peers is vital when learning whether it be in school, the workplace or in any everyday situation.  It can come in many forms from something simple like 2 stars and a wish right through to judges’ feedback on a performance. Feedback is important to be able to constructively analyse another persons work or actions in order for them to improve and learn for next time. Everyone has the ability to provide others with useful information, the complex part is how you put it to them. You should be careful when giving feedback as they could potentially take it in a very negative way and this will have a lasting effect. Useful feedback should support the person and enable them to improve. It’s important to remember to be down to earth and not unrealistic in your expectations.

An advantage of feedback is that you gain another person’s perspective. Sometimes it can be difficult to see fault in your own work and by having someone else give their views, it can enable progression. Feedback can have very positive effects when used correctly. For example, it has the potential to highlight your good areas which could spark more confidence in your ability enabling more success. A disadvantage, however, is it can have negatives effects on a person mentally when used incorrectly. For example, if the feedback focused only on the negatives and offered no suggested method on how to improve this could adversely effect their progress.

Generally, feedback I have received has been positive and has given me more confidence in terms of my ability. Personally, I tend to not let negative feedback get to me and instead use it in a constructional way to help improve my ability in that particular area. However, giving feedback is something I tend to struggle with. I’d happily tell a peer what I think are the positives of their work but I don’t like to be the one to point out where it went wrong, especially if it’s a friend. I intend to gain more confidence in analysing work constructively, not just positives but negatives too throughout the years.

Feedback is something I will go on to use a lot throughout my life. Therefore, I have taken on board everything that I’ve read and learnt about feedback so that I am able to give good feedback as I find it to be crucial in learning. I’ve also become more aware of how taken on feedback from other people is extremely important to aid your learning, therefore, I will be paying particular attention to the feedback I am now given. Hopefully, over the next years spend in a classroom, I will gain more confidence in giving feedback.

Are Teachers Professionals?

First to speak is Chris Christie, who is very passionate about the fact that teachers are hero’s and they care about their pupils. The fact he mentions ‘caring’ is very important as that leads me to believe that he does see teachers as professionals. As mentioned in my previous post (‘What makes a teacher who makes a difference’) caring about the children’s learning, development and general welfare is an essential part of what makes teaching a profession. Chris Christie also mentions how we value teachers which I think is important in today’s society as they are becoming more and more valued and seen as professionals. This may be because being educated and having qualifications/degrees is fast becoming the norm in order to get a good job. I also find it important how he mentions that teachers should be paid what they are deserved and more because in terms of a profession many would say they are underpaid especially considering they’re only paid for classroom hours, however, as established earlier teaching is very much a profession you take home. Therefore, in terms of how teachers pay is calculated you could argue that teaching isn’t a profession.

Next we heard from Karen Lewis who made it clear from her opening line that she thinks teachers aren’t professionals – “I am a worker…I used to say I am teacher.” This could suggest that previously she did regard her job (teaching) as a profession but now she sees herself as nothing more than a worker. Karen states very clearly that “if you punch a clock you are a worker”. I understand where she’s coming from as you would say a ‘worker’ is paid for the hours they are at work whereas for a professional it’s more complicated than that. A professional takes their work home at the end of the day; their work is a part of their life and who they are. Therefore, Karen thinks teachers aren’t professionals because they pay for the hours they’re in the classroom teaching.

Personally, I think there’s no right answer to whether teachers are professionals or not. There is no obvious line that allows you to differ professionals from workers. It’s very much a personal opinion and very complex to determine.

Professionalism & Teaching.

In the video ‘Professionlism (teachers say)’ teachers give their different opinions on what it means to be a professional in today’s world. Firstly, Miss Catherine Long mentions that teachers are becoming more noticed in society as society becomes more educated. Teachers are also being represented more as professionals. I agree with Catherine here as years ago you wouldn’t need as much training as you do now to be a teacher. Over the years, more has been demanded from teachers and this is reflected in the way they are trained. Not just anyone can be a teacher, more and more is constantly required. Catherine goes on to say how there is a benchmark for teachers nowadays where they are ranked on how their pupils perform. Personally, I think this puts a lot more pressure on the teachers to individualise their learning and environments. How a child performs, however, can be based on genetics or how they were brought up. Therefore, a child performing bad shouldn’t necessarily be the teachers fault, there are plenty of other factors involved. Parents are becoming more and more involved in their child’s education which is great as teamwork is very important in a child’s development. However, parents can be quick to put the blame on the teacher which can cause problems, which is why constant communication between teachers and parents is essential.

Mrs Nursen Chemmi starts off by stating that professionalism can initially effect the children as they grow up to be adults. I agree with this, as the amount of dedication a teacher puts in as a professional impacts their learning. Additionally, the way they are brought up to see the teacher in terms of professionalism will impact their views as they develop into adults. ‘As teachers we are role models’ is a statement I would definitely agree with. Children spend the most part of their childhood in class, therefore, a lot of their time is spent with their teacher. It is essential that a teacher is a professional because as their role model children will effectively copy them and take on board the teachers actions and attitudes. Therefore, if the teacher represents good attitudes and behaviour, it  should reflect well in the child.

Mrs Colleen Welsh also describes professionalism as being a good role model. Colleen then goes on to say that it’s important not to judge a child by the way they are brought up which I do agree with as fairness is an essential quality for a teacher. I believe, it’s important to give every child a fair chance regardless of their background, therefore, being a professional does involve treating everyone the same.

Mrs Erin Smith states that professionalism is especially important in early childhood as they work with children, parents and families. I disagree with this as I think parents should be as involved in primary 7 as they were in nursery in order to benefit the child’s learning. Therefore, I would say that professionalism in that respect is equally important throughout all ages. However, I do agree with her comment about how professionalism enables you to be an effective communicator.

After watching this video and analysing what has been said, there appears to be a varied view on what professionalism is. Personally, I think that professionalism is individual and means something different to everyone. However, I think it’s important to stay open minded and be able to adapt in the teaching profession.

My Understanding of Reflection

Reflection is taking action in order to improve something such as your spelling, for example. Reflecting on the past (what went wrong, right..?) enables us to self evaluate our own performance then we can take action and decide- what will I do different next time? Reflection is a huge part of learning and developing. In my opinion, we do it all the time without even realising, sometimes more than others but it’s a part of how you grow as a person. For example, you learn from everyday mistakes by reflecting about what went wrong last time and knowing not to do it again. Effective reflection involves breaking down the situation and being able to analyse different sections in order to get to the bottom of it and learn for the next time.

I think reflection should play a bigger role in todays teaching system. If children are to become successful self-learners then reflection is key. It’s very important to be able to reflect on your own learning as this enables a whole world of opportunities in terms of development. Additionally, if it’s part of their day-to-day lives from a young age then it’ll be second nature in no time and stay with them their whole life.

An example of my own personal reflection was studying for exams. The first time round I was trying to establish effective study method and how I learnt best. Therefore, by the next year I was able to study effectively as I knew what would work best and what wouldn’t. Through trial and error, reflecting after exams and then again after I had my results I was able to take action.

I would encourage reflection throughout my career as I believe it is an essential part to any learning, no matter what the subject or situation. It’s also a vital life skill that can enable you to grow your own personality, learning from mistakes as you go. In terms of developing as a whole person, reflection is a key part.

The Construction of the Professional.

Firstly, I think fairness plays a very important role in the teaching profession. All children come from different backgrounds, upbringings, financial situations, etc. therefore it is crucial that every child is treated the same. Not necessarily taught the same as every individual learns different but treated with the same amount of respect and given equal attention. It’s important not to think that just because a pupil can produce great work without help that they don’t need attention as this could develop other issues. Similarly, it’s important not to spend all your time helping the one or two pupils who can’t work on there own as this way they’ll never learn how to write their name themselves, for example.

Patience is a quality I think every teacher needs. When doing my work experience with the primary ones, I learnt all about why patience was needed! Its extremely important to be able to keep calm even if they get the same question wrong ten times in a row or get green paint all over you when doing art! I think patience is an important quality for anyone to have but especially a teacher as a child shouldn’t feel like they can’t do something wrong just because it’ll make you angry. Learning is all about making mistakes because how else would you learn? That’s why I think its important to feel comfortable enough to have a go at everything even if you fail and that’s where patience in a teacher comes in.

Another quality which I find to be important is honesty. In order for a child to learn and develop as a person they need an honest teacher. It may build there confidence in that particular moment to say they’re doing great when in actual fact they’re not but it won’t help long-term. Therefore, in the future they may still not be able to do something right. I find it’s better to have a teacher who can be honest and upfront with you about strengths, weaknesses and ways to improve therefore you’re aware and can develop all aspects of your learning.

Additionally, I think integrity plays an important role in teaching and relates to honesty. It’s very important to have strong moral principles and therefore a teacher should be able to inspire the children to have their own beliefs. Part of growing up and finding who you are involves being an individual and having your own beliefs. I don’t think a teacher should teach what they believe in but rather to have our own beliefs, that’s where integrity comes in. No two people are the same, not even twins, therefore, I believe integrity to be a very important quality and one that should be imbedded from the start. To have strong moral principles also enables self-confidence.

Finally, I think respect is one of the most important qualities a teacher can have. Respecting your pupils as individuals is bond to have a huge effect on their learning and confidence growing up. A teacher should respect a child’s strengths, weaknesses, talents, personality, background, opinions, etc. It’s very important for anyone to be able to express their opinion with confidence and I think having a teacher who respects you for who you are is really beneficial for self-confidence. Not being able to be yourself or believe in the things you want can be damaging at a young age, therefore, it’s important that from the start they are respected and also learn to respect their peers. I believe that being respectful of other people is an important quality to have in life for anyone.

Professionalism and the Online World.

Personally, I think it’s very hard to maintain one account on social media for both personal and professional use. It is possible but it’s only going to make things more difficult! Therefore I think it’s best to keep them separate to avoid more challenges than is already being faced. For example, celebrities tend to have one account for family and friends where they can share personal and private things, plus another account for fans to follow where they share upcoming events and can be professional. This is something teachers and other professionals can relate to as its an easy way to keep your personal and professional life separate. However, pupils or parents may still be able to find your personal account, that’s why its crucial to think before you post and make sure you use strict privacy settings.

Having a professional account is a great way of sharing class related topics with parents and a very easy way to keep them informed. For example, when I went to Berlin with the school, my teacher had a blog where she wrote about what we did that day and added pictures. This meant that family back home could see what was going on and were kept well informed. On the other hand, a pupil should only be able to contact you during class time and if they were to try over social media, the situation would need to be addressed.

These days, I think social media gets quite a negative viewpoint when it comes to the professional world as it’s easy for the line of professionalism to be blurred, therefore, people have this stereotypical view that it’ll only end bad. Having grown up with social media, I can tell you, it’s not all bad and there are many benefits to using it professionally. Therefore, I will frame things in a positive viewpoint as I think many opportunities can arise through the use of social media. As a teacher, I will keep my personal account separate from my professional one which could be used as a learning environment as well as a source of information and quick communication. I’m aware challenges may arise through doing this but I’d rather not pretend it doesn’t exist when it’s such a big part of the modern life today.


Teaching to me

For me, what made me want to become a teacher isn’t something I can pin point. There hasn’t ever been one experience that flicked a switch and all of a sudden I knew, more a series of events. In my third year of high school you were given the opportunity to gain work experience, I didn’t really know where to go, only that I did want to go somewhere. So, I did the typical thing and I went back to my old primary school. This changed the way I looked at primary school as the teacher I was helping was young, not long out of university and was an inspiration for me. She was exciting, enthusiastic, very in to using technology in a way I never had experienced in primary 1. I think it was her interactive approach that changed my view of things.

Growing up, I had a great education. I went to a great primary school and an even better high school which without either one, I wouldn’t be sat here today. In a way, I wanted to become a teacher to put back into society and education what I gained from school.

If anyone asked me what environment I’d like to work in, it was always between either a hospital or a classroom. Then, I had major back surgery which involved spending a lot of time in hospital or with the staff. Even though I had a great experience and I could not thank the nurses and the doctors enough for all their help and the difference they made to my recovery, I never wanted to see a hospital again! I got to see a lot of what went on behind the scenes and it was more than enough for me to decide that a classroom was definitely the environment for me.

Over the years, spending time with my younger cousins has always been something I loved. Many times growing up have I begged my Mum to take me down to England in the holidays just to see them (they grow up so fast!). It wasn’t till I took higher psychology in 6th year that I realised how fascinating I find child development. Particularly how we learn, how we develop as a person and as an important role in society.

I want to become the kind of teacher who inspires success, ambition and self encouragement. I was home schooled after my surgery and this is when I realised how inspiring my teachers were, they gave up time to come teach me, called to see if I had problems, put together folders to help me teach myself (the time the council allowed was limited). I want to be the kind of teacher that inspires others to be the best and to reach their goals no matter how scary and big. I want to be the teacher who is approachable and makes school as enjoyable as possible. It wasn’t until I realised teachers were inspiring that I realised that’s what I wanted to be.