What’s your educational philosophy?

Have you ever thought about why you teach the way you do?

Our teaching methods often come from what is familiar – how we were taught at school or university – or, if we have done teacher training, on how we were taught to teach. But the way we teach can also reflect our values. What is it that we really hope our students master? Is it knowledge? Confidence? Learning how to learn? Of course, this may vary between subjects. But being aware of how we teach, and other ways we could teach, is a great exercise in reflective practice and makes sure we are aligned with what we want for our students and what the subject requires.

The Teaching Perspectives Inventory is an online tool which can help you assess your beliefs, intentions and actions around five teaching styles. Everyone is likely to use all of them to a greater or lesser degree and at different times, and there is no right or wrong choice. But for a given situation, you may like to heap on the chocolate while someone else is all for the rum ‘n’ raisin.

Diagram of icecream sundae with scoops labelled 'Transmission', 'Apprenticeship', 'Developmental', 'Nurturing' and 'Social reform'.

  • Transmission – Knowledge is key; the teacher’s job is to convey the subject matter.
  • Apprenticeship – Practice is key; teachers are experts in their field and help students develop their skills.
  • Developmental – Thought processes are key; the teacher’s job is to help students develop complex reasoning.
  • Nurturing – Self-confidence is key; teachers are there to challenge and support students to fulfil their potential.
  • Social reform – Society is key; teachers challenge the status quo and prompt students to consider values and ideologies.

If you want to know more about what behaviours, intentions and actions relate to these teaching styles, and what your own teaching profile looks like, take the free TPI test. The website also includes really useful notes and videos on interpreting your results.

Take the TPI


Photo by Sebastian Coman Photography from Pexels