Revising Your Teaching Philosophy for This Crisis
I recently made the transition from face-to-face teaching to online teaching, which left me with little time to prepare. I was not alone in this transition. I began by attempting to virtually replicate my typical daily routines, reasoning that the consistency and familiarity would be useful to me. I was completely wrong: despite the fact that I was doing everything I could for the students, there was a general lack of involvement, even with these well-established protocols in place.
I was feeling dejected. Even though I was aware of where I needed to go, I couldn’t see a way to get there. When we were informed that we would not be returning to school for the remainder of the school year, I took the opportunity to reflect over the weekend. If I was disoriented at this period, I’m sure my students were as well.
I was attempting to engage my students in a style that was comparable to that which I had employed in more normal situations. However, the reality was that these were not your normal conditions in this case. This was a crisis, and any attempts to continue on the same path were doomed from the start. I needed to revisit my teaching philosophy and apply it to the new scenario in order to assist me chart my course for the future.
THE TEACHING PHILOSOPHY
An individual’s teaching philosophy is a declaration of their views and opinions about what they believe to be important in teaching and learning. The written exposition of how and why one teaches in the manner in which one does is typically one to two pages long. It transcends all decisions and serves as a guide for the path of instruction in the classroom.
In a teaching philosophy, you could find statements such as “Differentiation in the classroom helps every student thrive” and “Lesson pace helps decrease student behaviour difficulties.” Typically, these types of remarks are embedded inside a larger context that explains the rationale for the philosophy and how the teacher will demonstrate it in the classroom.
Is it feasible to recollect every aspect of one’s teaching philosophy in a way that is both useful and relevant when faced with a crisis? Most likely not. It was for this reason that I condensed my ideology into a concise statement that was easy to remember. This helped to make things more understandable and allowed for easier memory.
CONDENSING MY TEACHING PHILOSOPHY
Five paragraphs were originally allotted to my philosophical musings. There were a lot of broad “I believe” statements in the beginning. My first and most important point was about comprehending concepts. “Being able to produce something is vital, but knowing why something is important is crucial to the success of my pupils,” said one line in this section. “Concepts are critical,” I stated at the end of the paragraph to describe it.
Second, I talked about the processes. “The journey that leads people to the product is equally as vital as, if not more important than, the product itself,” stated one of the sentences. “Process over product” is the phrase I came up with.
The final paragraph was concerned with interpersonal interactions. “Despite my best efforts, children who are not attached to the school, each other, and their teacher may have problems learning,” I had written. It was reduced to: “Relationships are everything.”
It is comprised of three brief words that employ the mnemonic CPR to remind me of my rediscovered philosophy:
The importance of concepts cannot be overstated.
Process takes precedence over product.
Relationships are paramount.
These principles have served as a guide for me throughout my life. I’m able to recall them more quickly now, and I’ve discovered that this has been quite beneficial to me in this situation.
USING MY TEACHING PHILOSOPHY IN A CRISIS
It wasn’t until I reduced my teaching philosophy that I discovered what had gone wrong: I had been reacting to the problem rather than responding proactively by applying my philosophy.
You might consider asking yourself the following questions while revising your teaching philosophy, which are summarised below using the acronym CRISIS:
Capability: What are the capabilities of your learning platform, your own abilities, and the abilities of your students?
Dependability: Do your ideas and software meet the highest standards of dependability?
When it comes to inability, what are you unable to perform in this situation?
Appropriateness: Are your plans appropriate for the existing circumstances?
Ingenuity: How can you be inventive while being committed to your philosophical principles?
Does what you’re doing have the potential to be sustainable in the long run?
It was straightforward to apply this paradigm to my newly updated teaching philosophy. I began with the first term in my updated teaching philosophy—capability—and asked myself which concepts were critical to the success of my students given our current capabilities. I came up with a list of concepts that were vital to the success of my pupils. When I was thinking about the second part, the process, I kept in mind the students’ present abilities as I created activities that required them to work through a process of evaluation.
I followed this procedure for each and every component of CRISIS.
Maintaining our composure in the face of a crisis is challenging, but leaning on our values can help us get through it. By distilling your teaching philosophy into a few brief phrases, you can more easily recall what is important at these moments and stay centred and clear—and by applying it to your work, you can help everyone chart a route forward.