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.
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?
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.