Thanks to the suggestion from my online colleague Jasmine Dwyer, – @jasminedwyer – I revisited my Philosophy of Teaching and Learning to see if it needed an update. The world has changed. Does my Philosophy reflect that? Jasmine suggested I use a “I used to think…but now I think…” framework for the comparison.  I have summarised my changes here.

I used to think that reflecting was a personal process. Now I think it is more powerful when done with others, both face-to-face and online.

I used to think that the path to professional development was via further formal study. Now I think that I have many more opportunities, especially from my online connections. However I have come to realise that I need to engage with others outside the teaching profession to discover other viewpoints about matters I don’t know about – yet.

I used to think that friendships were only face-to-face. Now I think online friendships are also rich and sustaining.

I used to think that research papers and official curriculum documents were sacrosanct. Now I think I need to question, interrogate and compare different sources of wisdom to ensure my own is continually evolving and challenged.

I used to think that assessment documents such as reports were for the parents. Now I think they are also for sharing with the child.

I used to think that my students could learn from their own community. Now I think they can learn from their global community. And learn with them. And teach them.

I used to think that collaborative skills were taught to enable children to contribute to society. Now I think it’s more about developing thinking through working together.

I used to think that gender equity was an important issue. Now I think that I need to add to this: there are also other forms of equity – or inequity – that I need to consider.

I used to think that the sharing of food was an important part of the day in the Early Childhood Classroom. Now I think it’s too hard.

I used to think that fine motor skills development was about cutting and drawing. Now I also think it includes keyboarding practice.

I used to think that environmental print was only in the classroom. Now I think it is also in the shared online spaces we create together.

I used to think that there were 25 teachers in our classroom. Now I think that there are far more, due to our online connections where other children and adults have also become our teachers. We have also become their teachers.

I used to think that duty of care was about watching children work and play safely at school. Now I think it’s also about working and playing safely online, at home and at school. I also now think that I cannot ensure their safety by myself and I need to form a positive partnership with families to do this.

I used to think that their was no place for competition in my classroom. I am still thinking this one through, as I realise how much my students have to gain through online game-based experiences.

There is much in my Philosophy of Teaching and Learning that has not changed, most of this framed around my respect for the child as an independent, inquisitive and capable learner.  Has your philosophy of Teaching and Learning changed lately?



  1. Brette ….. As I read, you provoked thought, laughter, challenge. You always do! A great post, that has caused me to spend time today thinking and rethinking. I can sense a blog post coming on.
    What a great point – needing to engage outside our profession and discover other viewpoints. We don’t know what we don’t know and if we don’t try to find out we will never know.
    You have changed my thinking about collaboration – that definition is spot on. Simple but profound – developing thinking through working together. It is the thinking together as we grapple with ideas, try to make sense of our world and the world of others that supports us to become caring, compassionate, courageous people.
    You have contributed to my wisdom evolving and and will continue to do so with your humour, your take on the world and your continually willingness to question and challenge.
    Every time I have read this today I have found something new to ponder.
    I love my PLN!

    1. Thanks mate! Actually I think I left out a few aspects from the post,which arose after the wonderful #plnlead days.
      My Philosophy does not reflect how I now prioritise oral language and metacognition. There are now far less written work items in my students’ workbooks but many more MP3 recordings of their thinking and wondering. Thanks to @richielambert to leading me to this thinking.
      My Philosophy does not truly reflect the changing landscape of education. I think it portrays me as a caring Mother Duck, when I need to be a fierce Mother Bear. I need to defend my children from the threat of the dumbing-down of their opportunities due to an over-emphasis on narrow data and limiting their access to the creative Arts as thinking tools.
      Hey, my wisdom evolves because of my PLN. Somehow my PLN interactions enable me to really question the paradigms that have been floating around in my head.

  2. Brette!
    Thank you for this wonderful and highly articulate post. I just love the way you critically reflect upon your own practice, and you are so right when you say the online collaborations have been the most powerful- me too! The professional networks and now friendships we create online are sometimes more innovative, reflective and active than face-to-face teams.

    It is sometimes hard for us teacher-bloggers to put our beliefs and philosophies our there in the the cyber world for fear of contested comments, or not getting it right or not understanding fully why we do something.That is why I love the “we used to think…now we think” routine that @whatedsaid uses in her practice.

    According to Edna, “It allows you to grow, without having to have been wrong. It allows me to develop my ideas, change my practice, increase my understanding, deepen my thinking… and change my mind.” Her blog post inspired me to not only think critically at what has changed in my practice over the last 10 years, but learn to articulate the ‘why.’

    Hey, explain this one to me ” I used to think that the sharing of food was an important part of the day in the Early Childhood Classroom. Now I think it’s too hard.” Not sure Jamie Oliver would be impressed!!

    Your pearls of wisdom friend, are seeds for my own self awareness. Now you have passed the thinking routine ‘I used to think, now I think’ baton to me… what will I reflect upon…. what do I believe now that I didn’t a few years ago….why do I think that now……

    Stay tuned, more to come on this one. Lucky posts have an edit button, I see this one growing as a live document over the next little while.

    Your friend,

    1. Thanks for the comment Jasmine.
      “I used to think that the sharing of food was an important part of the day in the Early Childhood Classroom. Now I think it’s too hard.” This is all about the prevalence of food allergies in our children. Rather than approach the risk with a positive management, we avoid the risk. Our canteen food choices are not flash, snack time is dominated by the sound of rustling potato chip packets. Completing the ‘food activity’ OH&S forms for fruit snack each day gives us a good excuse for risk avoidance.

  3. Wow Brette, what a great post! So many powerful statements – sometimes the changes are only subtle but others much more profound. I am very thankful to have encountered some wonderful ‘thought-provokers’ along my professional journey and you count amongst the best – I enjoy the challenges you throw my way and hope it continues.

  4. Thank you Brett. Celia alerted me through Yammer about the reflections on Teaching and learning you posted. I would like to add that once I focused on the planning, the teaching and the evaluation. Now I think that reflective practice such as your post including the perspectives of others online and in our context is vital to our is amazing the connections we are able to make.

    1. Thanks so much for your thoughtful comment Janette. I look forward to more collaborative reflections with you.

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