What is your teaching philosophy? Define your personal teaching philosophy
and how it has evolved through gaining more teaching experience.
How did my teaching practice enable me to further develop my own teaching theory and philosophy?
Diary submitted by Gabriella A, Erasmus+ internship in Valencia
Ever since my interest for teaching emerged, I have always been drawn to innovative education systems that promote creativity. I view creativity to be one of the most important characteristics of human beings (link 1). I therefore strongly advocate schools that are less traditional in their ways of functioning, meaning that they work in a creative, flexible and open-minded way. I consider that the best type of education system should offer a holistic approach and adapt to students rather than restrain them to adapt to the system. Throughout my teaching experience, I have had the opportunity to witness creative ways of teaching and get a better understanding of how creativity can be incorporated in the classroom. In this reflective diary, I shall elaborate how my teaching practice enabled me to further develop my own teaching theory and philosophy.
For most of my childhood I grew up in the French education system, which I would define as quite traditional, restricting, and rigid. Although the academic performance of my school was very good, I truly felt a lack of creativity, open-mindedness and flexibility which I believe made my learning experience less enjoyable than it could have been. This therefore led me to elaborate a teaching philosophy of my own largely based on creativity. I view this to be essential as creativity has been proven to be highly beneficial when learning: it enhances one’s self-expression, critical thinking, problem-solving, ability to focus, etc. (link 2). However, it is true that my ideas have always been slightly vague and unclear as to what that actually represents and involves in the classroom. Although I had been inspired by documentaries and readings on various systems such as the Montessori method or the Finnish system, I did not know how to approach it in terms of the actual practice of enhancing creativity in my teaching.
Nonetheless, I believe that this teaching experience has enabled me to further my understanding of creative teaching methods and provide me with actual ways of applying my theory in the classroom. For instance, as part of a vocabulary lesson on English idioms, the teacher that I was observing decided that him and I should act out a short performance using many typical expressions. The class therefore began with a few minutes of acting after which the students had to identify the different expressions used and guess their meanings. Because role play is not often used in teaching, the students were intrigued and captivated by it and also found it somewhat amusing. I believe that this innovative way of learning will help them better remember the vocabulary. Overall, I think that this was a great way for the students to learn.
To conclude, my teaching practice enabled me to confirm my admiration and advocacy for modern teaching methods that specifically encourage creativity. Indeed, I was further convinced by my theory when perceiving the beneficial outcomes that it has on students’ learning. Moreover, my experience also enabled me to actualise my theories about creative methods by providing me with concrete ways of applying my teaching philosophy. I am grateful that I got the opportunity to further develop my comprehension of these methods and look forward to applying them more in the future.