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Tanya Valencic


EDFD452: Assessment task 1- Individual teaching philosophy and essay

EDFD452: Assessment task 1-
Research based analysis of Teaching Philosophy:
After completing the initial Individual Teaching Philosophy, some key themes that
became apparent included; inquiry based learning, the importance of student voice and
student-teacher relationships. This paper will explore why teachers are highly encouraged to
practice teaching using inquiry based learning, listening to student voice and building strong,
positive student-teacher relationships in the classroom. Through critical reflection the
benefits of these themes for students learning will become apparent, providing teachers
with information that will enable them to provide quality teaching for their students.

Gillon and Stotter (2011) define inquiry based learning as an environment where
questioning is at the core and where students acquire new knowledge through questioning
and inquiry (p.14). Through inquiry based learning the teachers role has moved more
towards organising the learning, instead of just presenting the information (Holdsworth,
2000, p.361). This has allowed students to become active learners who are encouraged to
search for meaning and information, instead of just receiving it (Holdsworth, 2000, p.361).
Implementing inquiry based learning can be difficult for teachers as the classroom needs to
be cultivated to provide an environment where students are used to asking questions and
contributing to discussion (Kock, Taconis, Bolhuis & Gravenmeijer, 2013, p.594). Inquiry
based learning does in fact need some structure to allow students to have a clear focus of
the learning intention (Kock et al., 2013, p.593-594). It is important however, with inquiry
based learning that teachers have professional development and that the school has a range
of resources that enable students to interact with to find information (Gillon & Stotter, 2011,
p.18). Research conducted by Trundle, Atwood, Christopher and Sackes (2010) shows an
improvement in students conceptual understanding after students had been taught using
guided inquiry instruction (p.496). After teaching a unit using inquiry based learning Larkin,
King and Kidman (2012) also found that students felt the inquiry nature of the task enhanced
their learning (p.45).
and 4.4: This
strategies that
support student
learning and
Tanya Valencic

EDFD452: Assessment task 1- Individual teaching philosophy and essay

Student voice links in strongly with inquiry based learning because students need to
be empowered to contribute to discussion and inquiry for the learning to really be effective.
According to Seiler (2011), students view school as something that is done to them, as
opposed to something that they are actively involved in (p.372). When given choices about
how they are to learn, and what they are to learn Seiler (2011) found that students
responded positively and were more engaged in learning (p.372-373). This is because school
curriculum generally does not take into account students background knowledge and what
they are interested in learning, leading students to feel disconnected from the content being
learnt in the classroom (Seiler, 2011, p.378). Through listening to student voice teachers are
able to develop an engaging curriculum that is relevant to students (Smyth, 2012, p.154).
This is beneficial as students resent having to be involved in programs that they, themselves,
did not have an input on in the planning process (Morgan & Streb, 2001, p.167). McNulty
(2008) states that teachers need to provide an atmosphere where students feel their voice is
valued and there is mutual respect between student and teacher (p.23). Smyth (2012)
believes if teachers listen to student voice then they are more aware of student issues and
can prevent these issues from becoming future problems (p.154). Seiler (2011) explained
that by enabling student voice, teachers were allowing students to bring who they are into
the classroom (p.375). Overall, if students do not have a voice or a say in what they are
learning, then it is highly unlikely that the students will be able to connect with what they
are doing (Morgan & Streb, 2001, p.164).

Students, rely on positive relationships with their teachers to participate in
conversations and share their thinking with teachers and each other (Biddulp, 2011, p.390).
There needs to be a strong and respectful relationship between teacher and student for
quality learning to occur. This relationship is important as students cannot participate
constructively in class without teacher support and encouragement (Biddulp, 2011, p.393).
Attard (2012) found that when students felt they had a caring relationship with their
teacher, and felt the teacher was aware of their needs their engagement levels tended to
rise (p.17). Biddulp (2011) also mentions that the amount of contribution students make in
class relies heavily on the quality of the student-teacher relationship (p.390). For teachers to
Tanya Valencic

EDFD452: Assessment task 1- Individual teaching philosophy and essay

truly be able to listen to student voice they need to ensure that all students are enabled to
walk the bridge from voice to action (Holdsworth, 2000, p.359). If teachers know their
students, through forming a relationship, it helps them to create a supportive learning
environment that allows students social and academic needs to be nurtured (Zee, Koomen &
Van der Veen, 2013, p.529). Research has shown that positive student-teacher relationships
helps to facilitate the development of students social competency (Griggs, Gagnon,
Huelsman, Kidder-Ashley & Ballard, 2009, p.562-563). Stipek (2006) states that when
students have positive relationships with their teachers they are more likely to confront
challenges, take risks and ask clarifying questions (p.46). Teachers who are sincere and
nurturing towards their students will find that their students are more likely to share
information about themselves enabling more individualised teaching (Stipek, 2006, p.46).
Three things that students brought up when asked about how they know their teacher cares
about them includes their teacher being; attentive, fair and addressing their personal needs
(Stipek, 2006, p.46). Something teachers need to be aware of with student-teacher
relationships is that academically challenged students tend to have bad relationships with
their teacher, because of this teachers need to make sure they make special efforts to form
these relationships (Stipek, 2006, p.49).

This paper has shown the importance of Inquiry based learning as it allows students
to develop new knowledge through the use of questioning and inquiry. Inquiry based
learning enables students to move from receivers of information to finders of information,
creating independent and motivated learners. Student voice allows students to have a say
over what they are learning and provides teachers with a higher level of student
engagement as students feel they are involved in the learning process. Student voice is
important for teachers as it allows them to develop a curriculum and teach topics that are
relevant to students. Student-teacher relationships allow teachers to be more aware of
whom their students are and also helps facilitate students social development. When
students have a positive relationship with their teacher students are more likely to express
their opinions and emotions more openly. These themes are important to teachers as they
all help with the development of the whole child and provide the teacher an environment
Tanya Valencic

EDFD452: Assessment task 1- Individual teaching philosophy and essay

where students are involved in the decision making process of their learning. Overall these
three themes are very important because they enable quality teaching if used correctly.
Attard, C. (2012). Applying a framework for engagement with mathematics in the primary
classroom. Australian Primary Mathematics Classroom, 17(4), 22-27. Retrieved from;dn=197202;res=AEIPT

Biddulph, M. (2011). Articulating student voice and facilitating curriculum Agency. The
Curriculum Journal, 22(3), 381-399. DOI: 10.1080/09585176.2011.601669

Gillon, K., & Stotter, J. (2011). Inquiry learning with senior secondary students: yes it can be
done! Access, 25(3), 14-19. Retrieved from;dn=189063;res=AEIPT

Griggs, M. S., Gagnon, S. G., Huelsman, T. J., Kidder-Ashley, P., & Ballard, M. (2009). Student-
teacher relationships matter: moderating influences between temperament and
preschool social competence. Psychology in the Schools, 46(6), 553-567. DOI:

Holdsworth, R. (2000). Schools that create real roles of values for young people. Prospects,
30(3), 349-362. DOI: 10.1007/BF02754058

Kock, Z. J., Taconis, R., Bolhuis, S., & Gravenmeijer, K. (2013). Some key issues in creating
inquiry-based instructional practices that aim at the understanding of simple electric
circuits. Research in Science Education, 43(2), 579-597. DOI: 10.1007/s11165-011-

Larkin, D., King, D., & Kidman, G. (2012). Connecting Indigenous Stories with Geology:
Inquiry-Based Learning in a Middle Years Classroom. Teaching Science, 58(2), 39-44.
Tanya Valencic

EDFD452: Assessment task 1- Individual teaching philosophy and essay

Retrieved from;dn=193356;res=AEIPT

McNulty, P. (2008). Engaging middle school students by freeing their voice in the classroom.
Australian Journal of Middle Schooling, 8(1), 22-24. Retrieved from;dn=170693;res=AEIPT

Morgan, W., & Streb, M. (2001). Building Citizenship: How Student Voice in Service-Learning
Develops Civic Values. Social Science Quarterly, 82(1), 154-169. DOI: 10.1111/0038-

Seiler, G. (2011). Reconstructing Science Curricula Through Student Voice and Choice.
Education and Urban Society, 45(3), 362-384. DOI: 10.1177/0013124511408596

Smyth, J. (2012). Doing research on student voice in Australia. Management in Education,
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Stipek, D. (2006). Relationships Matter. Educational leadership, 64(1), 46-49. Retrieved from

Trundle, K. C., Atwood, R. K., Christopher, J. E., & Sackes, M. (2010). The effect of guided
inquiry-based instruction on middle school students' understanding of lunar
concepts. Research in Science Education, 40(3), 451-478. DOI: 10.1007/s11165-009-

Zee, M., Koomen, H. M. Y., & Van der Veen, I. (2013). Student-teacher relationship quality
and academic adjustment in upper elementary school: The role of student
personality. Journal of School Psychology, 51(4), 517-533.
DOI: 10.1016/j.jsp.2013.05.003