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Maddison Waites


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Student ID Number/s: Student Surname/s: Given name/s:

S00143432 Waites Maddison

Course: B Ed EC&P School: St Pats

Unit code: EDFD452/462 Unit title: Transition into the Profession

Due date: 09/04/17 Date submitted: 08/04/17

Lecturer-in-Charge: Jeannette Keser Tutorial Group/Tutor: Jess Hankinson

Assignment Title and/or number: AT1: Individual teaching philosophy and research essay

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Signature of student(s): ____M. Waites_______________________________________ Date: 08/04/17

Maddison Waites

Individual Teaching Philosophy: First Draft

When it comes to a students learning, I believe that the most effective learning occurs
through social interactions with peers and by observing the behaviours of others. It has
become clear to me that not all students benefit from a single style of teaching. As educators
and shapers of the next generation, it is vital for us to remember that while an intrapersonal
learner may enjoy sitting at their desk completing a task, a kinaesthetic learner may be tearing
their hair out in frustration over that exact same task. We need to accommodate to every
students needs, not just our own. Finally, I believe that failure is one of the most important
experiences a student needs to encounter.

Students should not be passively enduring their educational years. These early years are an
integral part of shaping and nurturing a childs mind and should under no circumstances be a
passive experience. In my experience, I saw learners most active and engaged during social
interactions. It could be as simple as sharing their weekend recounts with their table partners
or even spending time in a buddy grade a few years above them. As long as they were
interacting with their peers there was always some form of learning occurring. A great action
I see occurring in a buddy grade situation is the mimicking of activity. For example, a
foundation grade seeing how a grade 4 class lines up after recess, shows the younger students
how it should be done. The foundation grade can then mimic the grade 4s. I find this to be
far more beneficial than a teacher explaining over and over and then repeatedly rehearsing.

I have seen many classrooms throughout my placements that only offer students a single style
of learning. It is my belief that effective learning occurs only when every student's learning
styles and needs are catered for. It may be a lot more work for the educator to plan and
prepare for so many different needs however, if it benefits the students, I feel that it is our
duty to take that extra time. I think the use of rotations during Mathematics and Literacy
lessons give students the opportunity to be exposed to a vast range of learning styles and
discover which works best for them. Although it would be virtually impossible to have 7
types of learning styles catered for in an individual lesson, it is possible to have the styles
spread across a day to ensure that each student feels understood.

Finally, is my belief that students need to fail. They need to make mistakes and learn from
them. A student who has never got anything wrong in their life is going to be in for a shock

Maddison Waites
the older they get. Making mistakes as a teacher also shows students that errors and failures
are all a part of life and nothing to be ashamed of. It is what we do after a mistake that is most
important. As a teacher we need to show our students that as long as we learn from our
mistakes, then they werent really mistakes at all.

Maddison Waites
Research Essay

The following research essay explores the various teaching approaches, learning styles and
techniques that have proven to be effective in a primary school setting. Vygotsky and Piagets
constructivist approach sees educators take into consideration how their students prior
experiences have shaped who they are today (Liepolt, 2004). On the other hand, Banduras
social learning theory encourages students to take charge of their own learning and uses
modelling as a tool for learning experiences (Zeiss, 2005). Finally, the concept of failure as a
positive aspect of learning, shows that mistakes are there to be made, and its the learning that
follows that makes them worthwhile (McCaslin, Vriesema, & Burggraf, 2016).

Lev Vygotsky, pioneer of the social development theory, and Jean Piaget, responsible for the
cognitive development theory, introduced us to the concept of constructivism (Schreiber, &
Valle, 2013). Both Piaget and Vygotsky shared the firm belief that knowledge remains in a
constant state of evolution, as learners experience more things and build on their prior
knowledge (Jensen, & Kiley, 2005). Appreciating that each individual learner forms their
understandings based on their previous experiences, will allow educators to view students as
more than mere vessels to be filled with knowledge (Jordan, & Porath, 2006). Jordan &
Porath (2006) believe that an educator that teaches using a constructivist approach will take
this into consideration and design instead of plan lessons. The intent to design as opposed to
plan, is the constructivist idea that educators need to be flexible and respond to the needs of
the students in their classrooms instead of the strict conformity of the curriculum (Liepolt,
2004). To maximise these specifically designed lessons, Jensen & Kiley (2005) suggest
making a serious of networks that students can use to link their prior knowledge to new
learning. John Dewey, like Vygotsky and Piaget, saw experiences as a vital aspect of learning
and his research also greatly impacted the development of the constructivist learning theory.
Dewey used traditional means of education as a contrast to constructivism (Blenkinsop,
Nolan, Hunt, Stonehouse, & Telford, 2016). Dewey believed that feeding students with
information was nowhere near as effective as having a meaningful engagement with the
content (Blenkinsop et al., 2016). Actively engaging in meaning rich education is believed to
soar learners far beyond their traditionally educated peers (Moore, 2009). Schreiber & Valle
(2013) use the results of a 20 yearlong study to confirm this idea. The study, which explored a
vast range of learning theories, confirmed that a constructivist approach to teaching appeared
to be the most beneficial in preparing young students for their future education (Schreiber &

Maddison Waites
Valle, 2013). Like its students, constructivism is in a constant state of evolution and it is the
role of the educator to determine if constructivism is the correct theory for them to base their
teaching around (Liu, & Chen, 2010).

Constructivism can, and often is, paired with the social learning theory (Jordan & Porath,
2006). This is due to the fact that Albert Banduras theory involved the incorporation of both
observations and learning from the social aspects and experiences in a student's life (Jordan
& Porath, 2006). Bandura recognised that a student's learning depended greatly on the
environment in which they found themselves (Zeiss, 2005). Social modelling, Bandura
believed, was one of the most effective ways to be taught new ideas (Zeiss, 2005). The social
learning theory allows students to have more control over their learning, more so, they are
encouraged to actively seek out their own learning (Zeiss, 2005). In an interview discussing
his theory, Bandura claimed that his theory stemmed from his own learning as a child (Zeiss,
2005). Largely put in charge of his own education, Bandura found himself mimicking the
actions of others when he needed to learn a new skill (Zeiss, 2005). Wang, Meltzoff, &
Williamson (2015) agree with Bandura, however discuss the importance of understanding the
level of a students cognitive development in order to know the limits of what can be
modelled. For example, they do not suggest requesting a secondary school student to model
grade 3 maths for a nine-year-old. Wang, Meltzoff, & Williamson (2015) suggest that the
social learning theory is most effective when students look to models within their own year
levels or within 3 year levels above. A key feature of the social learning theory, which is often
overlooked, is its ability to understand a students behaviour or misbehaviour (Hanna,
Crittenden, & Crittenden, 2013). Hanna, Crittenden, & Crittenden (2013) suggest that a
student's behaviour is a result of the combination of both person and situation. Watching how
a student interacts with their peers, or how they choose to model a behaviour, gives educators
a key insight into how best to direct their teaching in order to meet the needs of their students
(Miller, & Morris, 2014). The social learning theory places peers and friends at the forefront
of a student's learning, empowering them to be captains of their own education (Hanna,
Crittenden, & Crittenden, 2013).

Students are immersed in a culture that views failure as an act to be avoided at all costs
(Tedam, 2014). From a very young age, children are virtually forced to view an act of failure
as making them inferior, and therefore, taking risks that could result in failure are being
avoided too (Jensen, & Kiley, 2005). Jensen & Kiley (2005) urge students to stamp out these

Maddison Waites
ideas and view failure as a stepping stone to success. Davies (2012) suggests that it is
virtually impossible to go through an entire day without making a mistake or two. McCaslin,
Vriesema, & Burggraf (2016) believes it is not the mistakes we make that will help a
students learning, more so what is done after that will have the most effect. Knight (2006)
reiterates this idea and goes on to suggest that failure could potentially be viewed as a
learning theory on its own, however is more commonly adapted by educators to be used as a
threat to encourage participation. Knight (2006) encourages the use of ambitious goals with
the high potential to fail. This is largely due to the fact that students will be more likely to
attempt an ambitious goal again if they do fail the first time around (McCaslin, Vriesema, &
Burggraf (2016). Students with enthusiastic goals will view failure as a learning tool, and
hopefully use their new knowledge to strive for success the next time (Jensen, & Kiley,
2005). Mistake making can also be used as a positive tool for motivation. Failure is an
intrinsic motivator, and as educators, it is a widely agreed upon idea that intrinsic motivation
has far more benefits than extrinsic motivation (Froiland, & Worrell, 2016). With the power
to motivate students in an intrinsic way, failure should be viewed as a positive aspect of a
student's education and harnessed to get the most out of bad situation (McCaslin, Vriesema,
& Burggraf, 2016).

There are a multitude of learning theories, teaching approaches and teaching strategies that
aim to inform teachers and help them create the best practice for them and their students.
What works perfectly in one classroom may cause havoc in another. This is why educators
are encouraged to be fluid with their practices and teach to the cohorts needs rather than their
own (Froiland, & Worrell, 2016). An educator's beliefs and practices will change over time as
their understandings of students grow and their perspectives develop (Jensen, & Kiley, 2005).

Individual Teaching Philosophy: Second Draft

Maddison Waites
As a pre-service teacher, I understand that my personal philosophy will most likely be in a
constant state of change for many years to come. Transforming and adapting as I discover
what works best for me, and engaging in professional development that exposes me to ideas
Id previously never considered. At this current time many of my beliefs, teaching approaches
and learning theories revolve around and have been inspired by Lev Vygotsky, Jean Piaget
and Albert Bandura.

Although I am a firm believer that there is no singular way that children learn best, I do
accept that there are approaches whose benefits far outweigh their cons. For example,
Vygotsky and Piagets constructivist approach resonates with me. I feel this is largely due to
the fact I understand just how much a student's surroundings and experiences influence their
learning in both positive and negative ways. Putting in that extra effort to get to know your
students and their backgrounds allows educators to create an environment where students will
thrive. This not only benefits a students learning, but also makes planning easier for the
educators. I found that although it nearly doubled my workload, creating lessons that took
into account all of my students needs meant that when it actually came time to put the lesson
into place, everyone was accommodated for.

Some of my most memorable teaching moments have come whilst observing students, rather
than teaching them. It is in these moments that I noticed the amount of learning that students
engaged in whilst interacting with their peers. A student's peers are not only great friends, but
also role models. This links to Albert Banduras social learning theory, whereby students
become the teachers and have power over their own learning. I utilise this idea in many of my
lessons, giving the students the role of the teacher and letting them model correct behaviours
and processes. I believe an empowered student is going to be far more engaged in their
learning and will seek to assist others in feeling the same way.

Finally, I believe that failure is a means to intrinsically motivate students. No longer should
failures and mistakes be seen as unacceptable or inferior. I do not agree that we, as educators,
should be setting our students up for a loss, however instead, set them ambitious goals that
they will continue to strive for even after a failed attempt. The most important aspect of
mistake making is what we do afterwards. By showing students that mistakes are there to be
learnt from, we are modelling the correct behaviours for dealing with failure later in life.

Maddison Waites
My goal as an educator is to inspire students to enter into a life full of rich learning
experiences. The more time I spend in the classroom the more my ideas and beliefs will
extend and backed by experience and understanding. I hope to learn as much from my
students as they learn from me.

Critical Reflection:

Maddison Waites
Upon examination of my two teaching philosophies I noticed that my beliefs didnt
necessarily change, so much as they deepened and developed. Theorists backed up my
perspectives and research literature validated my ideas.

For example, in my first draft philosophy I communicated my belief that modelling positive
behaviours was an effective teaching practice. After further research I was able to align my
ideas with Albert Banduras social learning theory, whereby peers and friends are empowered
by the ability to model behaviours and practices (Hanna, Crittenden, & Crittenden, 2013).
Furthermore, my original understanding that a students prior experiences and social
interactions can have both a positive and adverse on a student's life aligned with Vygotsky
and Piaget's constructivist approach (Schreiber, & Valle, 2013). Understanding where my two
main learning theories and teaching approaches originated from will allow me to access
appropriate research literature when I need to extend and develop my practices (Jensen, &
Kiley, 2005).

In my first draft philosophy I referred to my desire to have students experience failure and
make mistakes in order to learn from them and develop problem solving tactics. I was
extremely interested by McCaslin, Vriesema, & Burggraf (2016) who described mistake
making as an intrinsic motivator which I had previously never considered it to be. I
immediately agreed with the trio, personally believing that intrinsic motivation is more
effective than extrinsic.

I was astounded at the insight and validation I gained whilst engaging in my research
analysis. I now know who to look to for guidance when teaching a class of my own.

Total Word Count: 1990 words

Reference List:

Maddison Waites

Bandura, A. (2017). Albert Bandura on Behavior Therapy, Self Efficacy & Modeling. Western

Blenkinsop, S., Nolan, C., Hunt, J., Stonehouse, P., & Telford, J. (2016). The Lecture as
Experiential Education: The Cucumber in 17th-Century Flemish Art. Journal Of
Experiential Education, 39(2), 101-114. http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1053825916641434

Davies, P. S. (2012). Making Mistakes. National Law School of India Review, 24(1), 97-124.
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Froiland, J., & Worrell, F. (2016). Intrinsic Motivation, Learning Goals, Engagement, And
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Hanna, R., Crittenden, V., & Crittenden, W. (2013). Social Learning Theory. Journal Of
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Miller, B., & Morris, R. (2014). Virtual Peer Effects in Social Learning Theory. Crime &
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Moore, K. (2009). Effective Instructional Strategies: from Theory to Practice (2nd ed.). Thousand
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Tedam, P. (2014). When Failing doesnt Matter: A Narrative Inquiry into the Social Work Practice
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Wang, Z., Meltzoff, A., & Williamson, R. (2015). Social learning promotes understanding of
the physical world: Preschool childrens imitation of weight sorting. Journal Of
Experimental Child Psychology, 136(1), 82-91.

Zeiss, T. (Producer). (2005). Albert Bandura on Behavior Therapy, Self Efficacy & Modeling
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