What is your teaching philosophy? I believe every teacher must include these 3 concepts.

This article will briefly introduce each concept but will focus more on how to apply them including reference structures to guide you, allowing you to evaluate your efforts.


Concept 1: Teach For Understanding

Understanding = Knowledge + Being


If the learner understands, they’ll never forget, and they’ll be able to use the new learner to solve problems.

This is about coming from the angle of including information plus experience into your lessons. And not stopping until the learner understands.


OK, so how do we do it?

First, adopt this mindset and regularly affirm that you always teach for understanding.

Focus on providing a minimum ratio of 4:1 of knowledge to being (experience).

Help the learner plan ways to gain further experience outside of the classroom.

  • Give exercises
  • Ask them to teach it to someone
  • Set reminders, add it to a schedule


You know your student understands when they say things like “I get it now” and can explain it concisely in their own words.


Concept 2: Meta-Learning

Learning = Behaviour Change


This concept helps you focus on changing behaviour instead of cramming information into the students head. It will create transformation in your student resulting in happier students, great testimonials, more referrals and a greater impact.


This is about framing learning as action. It’s about focusing on changing behaviour instead of memorising facts and data. If the behaviour didn’t change, the learner didn’t learn.

This model is taken from The National Research Council. It says that if you create insight or awareness then there was no learning present.

  • Level 0 = Insight
  • Level 1 = Learning
  • Level 2 = Learning About Yourself
  • Level 3 = Learning How to Learn


OK, so how do we use it?

Simply ask questions like:

  • How will this affect your behaviour in the future?
  • What will you do differently from now on?
  • When, and how will you do it?
  • Did you learn anything about yourself?
  • Did you have any other realisations?


You can tell which level the learner is on by asking “What did you learn?”

  • Level 0 answers talk about knowledge, principles and concepts – what they did.
  • Level 1 answers talk about action and doing – what they will do in the future
  • Level 2 answers talk about insights into themselves and their lives
  • Level 3 answers talk about ways to improve the learning process for the individual


This evaluation can be done as part of the lesson, or as a supplementary service (coaching group etc.) or as a homework assignment.

Concept 3: The Learners Only Requirements

If the student didn’t learn, the teacher didn’t teach


This philosophy will transform your teaching, build trust and remove tension, expectation and stress from the learner.


All the learner must do is

  1. Show Up
  2. Take Part

This is about taking full responsibility for your learners learning.


OK, so how do we use it?

Commit to the mindset and regularly affirm that you are 100% responsible for the students learning.

Adapt your teaching style and teach in multiple modes.

Keep the learner in “flow”.

Follow step-by-step, well-structured lesson plans.

Keep the learner engaged, motivated, set goals and inspire.

Do regular knowledge and skill checks, debriefings and evaluations.


If the learner is physically present but is not taking part, you need to get their commitment before moving on – this is critical. There will be little to no learning otherwise, and you’ll be held responsible. You can remind the learner of their responsibilities.

“You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink”. -Old English Proverb


This opens up a whole other debate: why is the learner not motivated? See this post for advice on this.


You know you’re taking full responsibility by asking yourself and answering truthfully. Listen to your heart, you may be surprised what you hear…


Thank you for reading, what is your teaching philosophy? What did I miss out? Please comment and share.

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