Unlocking the Power of Teaching Philosophy: A Journey from Paramedic to HERDSA Fellow

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Hey there, fellow learners and educators!

Today, I want to share a personal journey that began in 2010, a journey that took me from the frontlines of paramedicine to becoming a HERDSA Fellow. It's a journey of self-discovery, growth, and transformation, all centred around the powerful concept of teaching philosophy. Join me as we dive into how my experiences have shaped my philosophy and how it can benefit you as well.

The Starting Point: Paramedic to Curriculum Developer

In 2010, after two decades as a paramedic, I decided to embark on an academic journey. My first role in higher education was as a curriculum developer. It was a significant transition, but it allowed me to step back and reflect on my teaching philosophy. Little did I know that this reflection would serve as the foundation for the degree I was developing.

Take-home point: Your teaching philosophy is like a compass; it guides your educational journey, regardless of your role.

From Developer to Teacher: The Learning Continues

Transitioning to a teacher's role, I had the opportunity to put my philosophy into practice. But it didn't stop there. My philosophy evolved as I worked with students, adapting to different contexts and cohorts. Teaching philosophy isn't static; it's a living, breathing entity that grows with you.

Take-home point: Your teaching philosophy should be flexible and adaptable, allowing you to respond to changing circumstances and student needs.

Managing Learning and Teaching: Nurturing Educators as Learners

In my role as a manager of learning and teaching, I found myself working with academic staff as "learners" in their own right. This shift prompted me to revisit my teaching philosophy once again. Working in diverse contexts allowed me to view good teaching practices from a broader perspective.

Take-home point: Teaching philosophy isn't just for teachers; it's a tool for everyone involved in education, including managers and support staff.

The Power of Reflective Practice

One of the most significant revelations on this journey was the importance of reflective practice. My teaching philosophy enabled me to question my actions, beliefs, and practices constantly. This self-awareness led to continuous improvement in my teaching methods.

Take-home point: Embrace reflective practice; it's the key to personal and professional growth in education.

HERDSA: A Catalyst for Transformation

My involvement with HERDSA (Higher Education Research and Development Society of Australasia) was pivotal in my journey. It gave me the foundation to motivate my staff to reflect on their teaching philosophy and commitment to education. Achieving HERDSA Fellowship status was a testament to this commitment and opened doors to networking nationally and internationally.

Take-home point: Joining professional organisations can elevate your career and provide valuable networking opportunities.

From Educator to Manager: Inspiring Others

As a manager, I was privileged to introduce innovative pedagogy into the curriculum and encourage team members to contribute their talents. This collaborative process extended to improving areas like EdTech implementation, reducing academic misconduct, and enhancing student retention and engagement.

Take-home point: Effective leadership involves empowering others to excel and fostering a culture of continuous improvement.


I hope you've gained insights into the transformative power of a teaching philosophy that has evolved through a journey from paramedic to HERDSA Fellow. Receiving the HERDSA Fellowship was a significant milestone in my journey, and it holds the potential to inspire others within my school. My commitment to HERDSA's values and principles and my dedication to advancing the professionalism of educators in higher education serve as an example to my colleagues.

Remember, your teaching philosophy is your North Star, guiding you through the ever-changing education landscape. Whether you're a teacher, manager, or student, reflecting on your beliefs about learning and teaching is the first step toward making a meaningful impact in higher education.

So, what's your teaching philosophy? How has it evolved over time?

Photo by Anthony Weber, taken on 15th April 2023, at Salty Lime Co

The HERDSA Connect Blog offers comment and discussion on higher education issues; provides information about relevant publications, programs and research and celebrates the achievements of our HERDSA members.


HERDSA Connect links members of the HERDSA community in Australasia and beyond by sharing branch activities, member perspectives and achievements, book reviews, comments on contemporary issues in higher education, and conference reflections.


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