Over my professional experience I taught Mathematics and Science over a wide range of grade levels and content areas. Throughout all of my teaching experience my teaching philosophy focuses on teaching for understanding. Teaching for understanding is a concept that focuses on deep conceptual understanding of a topic rather than a surface or ‘veneer’ level of understanding and for this to occur a wide range of teaching strategies need to be incorporated (Chick, Pham and Baker, 2006). I believe in the power of students understanding why something works and questioning rather than just accepting a rule. Teaching for understanding provides a deeper level of understanding and allows students to use information and apply to new situations (Chick, Pham and Baker, 2006).
I highly value the use of inquiry and argumentation within science. The use of inquiry and argumentation allows students to build their own understanding in collaboration with their peers. The use of inquiry based learning sequences allow students to work together and develop their own understanding of scientific concepts while also developing scientific thinking and reasoning (Osborne, 2010). For a unit on Science Education I developed a 12 lesson learning sequence on Freshwater Ecology using the strategies of inquiry and argumentation.
I also try to incorporate digital technologies as a learning tool within my classes. The use of digital technologies within maths and science is an engaging teaching tool (Dede, 2000) and an important general capability to be developed within our 21st century learners (Australian Curriculum Assessment and Reporting Authority [ACARA], 2016).
I recently completed a teaching sequence on energy within a grade eight science class. This unit involved developing the students understanding of energy using both hands-on inquiry techniques and digital technologies. The culmination of this unit of work was a summative assessment piece on researching a renewable energy. Students were to use their knowledge developed over the unit and present their research using a digital platform.
Students were very engaged with this assessment as they had a choice of platform and creativity when presenting to the class. Two students developed a PowerPoint presentation on Wind Energy using a combination of visuals, graphics and text to demonstrate their understanding. My teaching incorporates many different teaching strategies to focus on teaching for understanding and to ensure all students understand what they are doing and also why.
Australian Curriculum Assessment and Reporting Authority. (2016, June 30). The Australian Curriculum: General Capabilities (Version 8.2), Retrieved from
Chick, H. L., Pham, T., & Baker, M. K. (2006). Probing teachers’ pedagogical content knowledge: Lessons from the case of the subtraction algorithm. Identities, cultures and learning spaces, 139-146.
Dede, C. (2000). Emerging influences of information technology on school curriculum. Journal of Curriculum Studies, 32 (2), 281-303.
Osborne, J. (2010). Arguing to learn in science: The role of collaborative, critical discourse. Science, 328 (5977), 463-466.