What was the most pleasant learning experience from my time at school?

TDT: Developing Effectiveness in Teaching and Learning

During my time in high school I struggled with finding my passion in certain subjects throughout my A- Levels. After I decided to resit a year at school with an array of completely random subjects (Psychology, Philosophy, Media Studies and Music), I found my passion grow for each subject for no reason other than the way in which these teachers taught them. In particular, Psychology and Philosophy.

In Philosophy, a subject which could be taboo at times, in particular when discussing the existence of God and Evils in the world. Something which was completely new to me in a school environment. My teacher, Miss G would start every lesson with a thought provoking (often controversial) question which she would present to the class. This one question would often take us into the middle of the lesson, discussing all the ins and outs of what we thought with one another and her. Often the class would be split in half with 2 different opinions debating with one another. Of course, we would have lessons where we would study the textbook, but Miss G would always keep the class excited for the following lesson where we may be able to have these discussions again. I think the reasons we may have liked these discussion topics which she presented to us, was because it was so controversial. We felt special that we were in a class where you could discuss things that we wouldn’t necessarily discuss in other subjects like Geography and Chemistry. Seeing as we were a British School in the Middle East, where discussions about religion could be taboo at times, we felt even more special and kept us completely engrossed in the subject matter. I particularly remember that even though Miss G would let her students discuss her thought provoking questions, she would never reflect her own beliefs onto us to change our minds. She would contradict our arguments often with a counter point and lead us to think deeper about her point, however she never revealed to us her own opinions.

Miss G would continuously keep us at the forefront of her schedule, making herself available for any question we may have throughout the week, out with and within lesson time. This also let us know that there was no ‘bad time’ to discuss things on our mind. And that helped us develop our own opinions and thoughts outside of class. This really helped drive my passion for Philosophy and learning as a whole, embedding the idea that learning should ideally occur in and out of the school buildings.


My Personal Teaching Philosophy – IB TDT 2

Growing up in several countries with countless teachers, each one with a different teaching style and set of philosophies have allowed me to experience and value specific values and model my own professional practice on. Someone I think has had a huge impact on my own learning throughout school is my A level Philosophy teacher. She was the first teacher in our school who introduced a truly balanced way of teaching. Even though we were continuously faced with controversial topics in the subject, she never swayed our opinions and she allowed us to construct our own opinions and come up with our own conclusions. However, she guided us in a way which left us fully informed.

I have always struggled with finding a specific field of interest in myself, over the years my idea of a future career shifted day-to-day and I never felt fully comfortable with one specific field. When I was 14 my sister was born, which gave me a direct insight to the development of a child’s mind. I became interested in how she learned and what interested her as she got older and I found that the more I engaged in her learning the more I found myself enjoying the teaching progression. I started teaching english to a brother and sister who attended a Jordanian primary school, where I managed to exercise my teaching strategies and source/ create resources to help me teach the two children. 

I would have to say that my values and principles are mainly derived from my international and cross cultural experiences: 

  • Open Mindedness: I definitely think that the first stage of connecting two or more cultures in an environment, all parties need to have an open mind. Open mindedness does not necessarily dictate that the parties need to accept or take on each others beliefs or cultures, but merely acknowledging them and allowing yourself to be informed is a crucial step in creating a peaceful environment.
  • Inquiry/ Risk Taking: In my opinion inquiry and risk taking are very similar, because I would say that in order to be inquisitive, one has to be able to take risks in their own learning. This means not just blindly accepting information, but constructing your own opinions and perhaps going against the grain (when it’s appropriate).
  • Ambition/ Positivity: Anyone is capable of success. Even if something seems out of reach, it is never impossible. Similarly, I believe to have this attitude, the individual needs to be positive, about themselves and their environment. I am a strong believer in Karma and that what you give is what you receive.
  • Understanding/ Empathy: In order to become a caring individual, which everyone should strive to be. One needs to be able to place themselve

What is your attitude to your pupils and their learning?

What is your teaching style?

In terms of your own professional development journey, why have you chosen the electives you have?

In what ways do your answers to the above embody the IB Learner Profle?

Science Mini Essay: Group 7


AC1: An explanation of scientific literacy Being scientifically literate is the ability to understand basic scientific language and concepts. This includes factors such as being able to carry out an experiment including a fair test, changing variables, understanding the dependent and independent variables and constructing a hypothesis. A scientifically literate person should know how to compare and analyse data and use this to create graphs and tables in order to visually present data. It is also an important skill to be able to judge science in the media and understand how to fairly criticise it using other resources.

AC2: Analysis of an example where a lack of scientific literacy has led to inaccurate media reporting We began to look at examples of unfair tests in the media and came up with hundreds. For example In June 2010 a new headline claimed that fish oil would help children concentrate, leading to mass success in the fish oil business. This was tested on 3,000 school children and measured through their GCSE results, to see if it enhanced their exam performance. However it was found that throughout the experiment, 2,168 subjects dropped out of the study and the results drawn from them were therefor unreliable and produced false negatives. Regardless of this study, fish oil supplements are still the most successful supplements on the British market, claiming that it boosts productivity and concentration, even though there are no tests that support this claim. This is a good example of a scientific claim/ study that lacked scientific justification which led to media inaccuracy. Dave Ford from Durham council performs incompetent experiments on children. – bad science (2000) Available at: http://www.badscience.net/2008/09/dave-ford-from-durham-council-plays-atbeing-a-scientist-again/#more-807 (Accessed: 26 January 2017). In-text citations: (Dave Ford from Durham council performs incompetent experiments on children. – bad science, 2000)

AC3: Discussion of how teaching fair testing school science links to scientific literacy. We felt it is very important to teach children about fair testing so they are able to make informed decisions about what they read in the media. Our lesson involved putting children through an unfair test and allowing them to identify for themselves that the test was not reliable. This will hopefully give them a more critical eye in the future. The test involved splitting the class into groups and giving each group a different amount of lego blocks, they were then to be given ten minutes to build a tower and whoever tower was the tallest wins. The second test then involved giving each group different amounts of lego and different amounts of time to build their tower. Obviously both test are unfair and the same group who had the most lego and the most time won. The class would then be asked why they thought that group won and hopefully be able to understand this was because each group had different resources. It is also important to go on and explore other ways test can be unfair such as lack of participants or false results to develop children scientific literacy skills.

Is there Social Imbalance?

The Exercise:

To demonstrate social imbalance in a small scale, first the class was separated into 4 groups. We were spaced around the room and given a packet of supplies and instructed to plan and make a tool which may be useful for a future student of Dundee University. I was placed in group 1 and given a large pack of supplies which included various stationary equipment such as pens and pencils, post-its and coloured paper. We were told we were going to be graded at the end on the presentation of our creation.

The teacher appeared to be more intrigued with our group than the other groups, and gave us continuous praise and words of encouragement such as ‘excellent’, ‘well done’. This at first made my group feel as if she expected a lot more from us.

When it came to the presentation of our ‘invention’, starting with our group, we felt as if we had created something quite general and standard. Although, the teacher made us feel more confident in what we had made with continuous words of encouragement and praise.

We only realised we had been given a lot more supplies when it came to the other groups presentations. Group 2 were given similar supplies to us, group 3 had a lot less and group 4 had barely anything to work with. What struck me was the teacher’s reaction to each of the groups presentation. As the presentations moved along the groups, the teacher became less and and less interested and divided her attention onto other things such as looking out the window, checking the time, which was particularly visible in group 4’s presentation.

The Lesson:

When thinking about how the teacher had responded to each of us and reflecting on the emotional response we had towards the inequality in everything between the groups: from the materials we were given to the response we were given in our presentations. We came to realise that there are many cases where  real people deal with inequality on a day to day basis. This could be due to racism, differences in culture or religion or countless other factors such as demographic, wages, family background and social stature.

I am new in the UK so I am still unsure of the social imbalances present here. However, I am aware of social imbalances with regards to Arabic people or Muslim people. Because I lived the majority of my life in Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates, most of my friends are Arabic and Muslim. It was only when speaking to some people in America on my vacation last year that I realised the extent of racism some of them had towards regular Arabic people. Due to the extremism occurring in Syria as well as post 9/11 Islamaphobia, many people I had spoken to had already preconceived ideologies about people they had never met.

These ideologies are heavily influenced by the media such as Fox News, which use fear tactics to create a nationwide panic. Similarly, Donald Trump’s idea’s about Muslims which include ‘banning Muslims’ from further entering the USA. This is of course a fairly dramatic case of Social Imbalance. However it is the most prevalent today, which Muslims around the world being victimised, harassed and bullied because of their culture and religion.

This is something I believe can be fixed with educating the youth about acceptance and tolerance. This generation and generations to come get most of their information on current affairs from the media, it can be hard to distinguish what is real in the media and what isn’t. Educating the future generations not to believe everything the media tells us can be more valuable than one would think.



Why teaching?

I am a ‘Third Culture Kid’: a term commonly used when referring to a child who has been raised in a culture outside of their own and their parents. I am lucky enough to have grown up in Abu Dhabi, in the United Arab Emirates. From the age of 8 I have been surrounded by multitudes of various cultures and people from different backgrounds, celebrating holidays other than my own such as Ramadan, Eid al Adha and Diwali.


This has made me overcome the barriers which in many countries separate people and has allowed me to become increasingly sensitive towards others. The recent troubles with children caught up in wars in Palestine and Syria hit closer to home than one would expect. This was when I heard of Hanan Al- Hroub, the Palestinian Primary teacher who won Teacher of the Year in Dubai, 2016. After hearing her story of how she worked with children who had witnessed violence and the atrocities war had to offer and how orphans who had come to her secluded and scared were now reading and writing and gaining mental stimulation, they would otherwise had not got. It made me realise how important teachers were in the world we live, especially today, where students from all around the world come together in a classroom. The importance of breaking down the walls between culture and religion and focussing on accepting and understanding.

What better way to do that than to teach?

I believe that through teaching I will be able to put to use my experiences as a third culture kid and promote a sense of acceptance in younger generations, simultaneously satisfying all my personal qualities I look for in a career: creativity, exercising my social skills and my kinetic nature. But most importantly, the realisation that a good teacher today means a better generation tomorrow.

My aim is to continue to travel, expand on my cultural understandings. I hope to break down walls between students, encourage interaction and togetherness in a world where it is more common for children to be brought up as third culture kids, as myself.