Monday, 27 October 2014

Assignment 6: Teaching Philosophy Statement

For our final assignment we were asked, rather fittingly, to develop our Teaching Philosophy Statement. Initially I thought this was quite an easy task, but I realised as I worked on my statement that it is anything but easy to write. A TPS is essentially like a brand statement for yourself – this is how I want people to perceive me, this is what kind of teacher I am, this is what I believe. A pretty tall order for a newbie teacher. And, even more intimidating, once you have committed to this statement, people are going to judge you by it. Eeeek!

I have been playing with this in my mind for a couple weeks now, considering philosophies and approaches, not wanting to be either too vague or too specific, I still feel as if there is so much I don’t know…..and while writing I ‘hummed and haa’ed’ over phrasing, wrote and deleted, and carefully considered synonyms, lest my good intentions be misinterpreted….but eventually I got it out my head and onto the page.

I then went back and read through a TPS that I had written a couple of years ago for a job application. The only reason I wrote it then was because the advert had specifically asked for one and, having never heard of a TPS before, I actually had to google it!

I have to say, that when comparing my original statement with the one I have written now, I am pretty happy. My words and phrasing are different – the current one loaded with specific intention rather than attractive prose – but I find my philosophical approach to have remained fairly consistent, which is deeply satisfying. My statement is a genuine reflection of how I feel about teaching, rather than an ill-fitting patchwork coat constructed of all my newly-acquired knowledge. At the core, it is me.

I also came to realise that this statement is an ideal, a best-intention if you will. Sure, there will be days when I’m more exhausted than encouraging, times when I want to scream rather than support. And yes, people will judge me, but so what? Judgement is part of life and this statement will remain my own gold-standard, my own beacon - always reminding me of what I am striving for.

I’m sure that in time the words will change, but I hope I never lose my beliefs or intention. So, without any further ado, my TPS:

I believe that learning can happen in different ways - behaviourally, cognitively and socially, but that true learning only occurs at the intersection of knowing, being and doing. By using a combined and holistic approach to teaching are we able to produce confident, competent, critically-thinking graduates.
 As such, I liken my role of teacher to that of a counter balance - at times a knowledge bearer and at times a student, both an empowerer and a facilitator, a companion and a guide in the process of knowledge making. Students in my class room will be met with open-minded empathy, passion, enthusiasm, sincerity and humility. I aim to make my classroom a space of creative ‘out-of-the-box’ thinking, critical engagement, encouragement and solution-orientated support. I will look for evidence of learning in valid and guided assessment that allows students the opportunity to practice developing, shaping and implementing their learning through a variety of exercises and approaches. I will engage my students, peers and myself in honest, critically reflexive practices that will guide me as I continue to grow and develop as a teacher. 

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