My career in teaching has evolved to the role of university academic with a specialisation in teaching primary educators . I believe that education is an area where I can make the greatest impact on society. My philosophy of teaching has developed and shaped as a result of my experiences from a very young age working with children, through my years as a classroom teacher, to where I am now; educating the teachers of tomorrow.
My philosophy is entrenched deeply in an a quote derived from the Chinese Confucian philosopher Xunzi (312-230 BC), “Not having heard something is not as good as having heard it; having heard it is not as good as having seen it; having seen it is not as good as knowing it; knowing it is not as good as putting it into practice.” (p. 81). We now commonly reiterate this as "Tell me and I forget; teach me and I may remember; involve me and I will learn.”
My teaching is rooted in three theories and frameworks:
1. Authentic Learning
I believe that as educators, we must help future teachers understand that learning has moved away from didactic practice and that it involves authentic learning experiences (Herrington, 2006) and most importantly produces transformative learners. As Kalantizis and Cope (2005) explain, we need to help our children “be aware of what they don’t know, capable of working out what they need to know and be able to create their own knowledge.” (p.41)
2. Quality Teaching
In order to accomplish this, an excellent guide for academics in the field of education is the NSW Quality Teaching Framework. I attempt to immerse all of my teaching practices in the elements of quality learning environments, intellectual quality and significance (NSW Department of Education and Training, 2008) and engage my students to do the same with their own teaching practice.
3. Community of Practice
Finally, I rely heavily on the practice of situated learning (Lave & Wenger, 1991) that defines learning as a social construct (Vygotsky, 1978) yet in a context and with a group of like-minded individuals or community of practice. My students are given opportunities to collaborate with each other, as well as with me, to learn and gain expertise about the primary school pedagogy.
While I believe that there is still a place for the transmission to a cohort of information using a lecture format , I also believe in being an approachable, team player who engages students in real, meaningful, supportive and innovative ways that support their learning about teaching and their own teaching practices. I work tirelessly each year to build a vibrant community of practice (Lave & Wenger, 1991) in my classes. I want them to understand the importance of social collaboration and meaningful learning to take into their own classrooms. As members of our community of enthusiastic lifelong learners, students are responsible not only to themselves, but to the other members of the community, including me.