Tag Archives: metaphor

A Teaching Philosophy

My Personal Teaching Philosophy

As part of most teacher training programmes, we are asked to develop a personal teaching philosophy. This narrative is meant to convey our teaching values, beliefs and goals as a teacher.

“Definitions of education are as vast as those who seek it. To me, the purpose of education is to foster a desire to learn and to provide the opportunities whereby learning can take place. My role as an educator is to help every student uncover their learning potential and to assist them in acquiring the skills and understandings beneficial to them as individuals and members of society.” Renee Raroa, My Personal Philosophy Statement – What Teaching and Learning Science Means to Me. (2013).

In the Beginning

Looking back at the components of my personal philosophy statement which had been considered so carefully as a beginning teacher, a strong sense of the ‘purpose of education’ was evident. However, an appreciation of the complexities of working in an ever-changing  and volatile education system is something that many beginning teachers are not aware of in these early days of theorising and philosophising. These appreciations develop rapidly once you are on the ground in schools and continues to be developed by experience.

Metaphors and Sense Making

Conceptualisation of our teaching philosophies can be developed through metaphor. Drawing on the specialist subject area of Science and Biology, the following metaphor considered the eukaryotic cell as a descriptor for the many roles and responsibilities of a teacher. Within this conceptualisation, the systems and procedures of cell activity are  examined as the workings of a classroom.



Building on Beginnings

As we grow from our beginning teacher infancies, we able to build on such models. In the example of the eukaryotic cell, we might develop an understanding of the importance of each and every cell (teacher), in all their contrasts and variations. We being to sense that the survival of the organism (school) is highly dependent on the functions of each and every cell as they work together toward a common goal. Then we grow in our awareness of the significance of each organism (school), working alongside other organisms in a delicately balanced ecosystem (our communities).

A Call to Collaborate

Of course, these comparisons will run deeper still. Our new roles and experiences continue to transform our personal philosophies. To ensure that we continue to broaden our views of the educational landscape we must also draw on the expertise and experience of others. Through collaboration, we build understandings which would not have been possible on our own.

Comments, questions and additions to this conceptualisation are very welcome.

“It is through the meeting of minds that innovation is born.” Renee Raroa (2016)


Gradschool.cornell.edu,. (2016).Teaching Philosophy Statement | Graduate School. Retrieved 31 January 2016, from http://gradschool.cornell.edu/career-services/teaching-philosophy-statement
Renee Raroa. (2013). Teaching Metaphor . Retrieved 31 January 2016, from https://prezi.com/zv51jpqckg0q/teaching-metaphor/#
Renee Raroa. (2013). My Personal Philosophy Statement. Retrieved 31 January 2016, from https://msraroa.files.wordpress.com/2016/02/my-science-teaching-philosophy.pdf