Enhancing Online Learning: The Impact of Interactive Teaching Methods on Student Engagement and Academic Performance

Essay 1: Leadership at T.O.Kathi Roll Restaurant

Since July 1, 2019, I have been actively involved in a part-time position at T.O.Kathi Roll Restaurant, where I have assumed multiple roles, including Cashier, Server, and administrative tasks. Throughout this experience, I have demonstrated leadership, teamwork, initiative, achievement, commitment, and breadth in various ways, making it an ideal activity to showcase my abilities for the Western Ivey HBA application.

Leadership and Teamwork

In my role at T.O.Kathi Roll Restaurant, I had the opportunity to lead and work alongside a diverse team. As a Cashier, I spearheaded the implementation of a more efficient payment processing system, reducing wait times and improving customer satisfaction. I collaborated with the servers to streamline the order-taking process, ensuring accurate and timely deliveries. Additionally, I served as a mentor to new team members, guiding them on best practices and helping them integrate into the workplace effectively. By fostering a supportive and inclusive environment, I encouraged teamwork, which led to a cohesive and motivated staff (Gurung, 2018).

Initiative and Achievement

Recognizing the potential for improvement in customer service, I initiated a customer feedback system that allowed us to receive and analyze customer comments and suggestions. I implemented changes based on this feedback, leading to an increase in positive reviews and repeat customers. Through my proactivity and dedication, I was able to achieve a significant improvement in the restaurant’s reputation and overall success (Gurung, 2018).

Commitment and Breadth

My commitment to T.O.Kathi Roll extended beyond my assigned shifts. I took the initiative to organize a charity event, collaborating with my colleagues and the local community to raise funds for a local food bank. This event showcased my ability to take on additional responsibilities while maintaining a balance with my other commitments, such as academics and extracurricular activities. By engaging in this breadth of experiences, I honed my time management and organizational skills, demonstrating my ability to juggle multiple responsibilities effectively (Khan & Alom, 2021).

Pandemic Impact and Learning

The global pandemic had a profound impact on my leadership experience at T.O.Kathi Roll Restaurant. As lockdowns and restrictions were imposed, the restaurant faced challenges in adjusting to the new normal. As a leader, I had to adapt quickly and find innovative ways to support the team and maintain our commitment to quality service. We implemented contactless payment systems, enhanced sanitation protocols, and launched a delivery service to continue serving our loyal customers. This experience taught me the importance of resilience and adaptability in leadership, as well as the significance of staying connected with the team during challenging times (Khan & Alom, 2021).


My time at T.O.Kathi Roll Restaurant has been instrumental in developing my leadership abilities. Through leading and working with a diverse team, taking initiative to enhance customer service, and committing to the restaurant’s success, I have honed my leadership skills significantly. Moreover, organizing the charity event exemplified my capacity to handle multiple responsibilities and demonstrated my commitment to community involvement. The pandemic taught me the importance of flexibility and innovation in leadership, proving that effective leaders must be prepared to navigate through unforeseen challenges. These experiences have not only strengthened my leadership capabilities but have also instilled in me a deep appreciation for the value of teamwork, adaptability, and resilience in achieving success. As I pursue my academic and professional journey, I am confident that the lessons learned from my time at T.O.Kathi Roll Restaurant will serve as a solid foundation for my future leadership endeavors.

Essay 2: Leadership as a Freelance Maths Tutor

For the past year, I have been working as a freelance Maths tutor, providing instruction to Grade 8, 9, and 10 students. This activity has allowed me to showcase my leadership abilities in various aspects, including initiative, teamwork, commitment, achievement, and breadth. As I aim to pursue the Western Ivey HBA program, this experience stands out as an exceptional demonstration of my leadership capabilities.

Initiative and Achievement

As a Maths tutor, I took the initiative to develop personalized study plans for each of my students, considering their individual learning styles and strengths. By doing so, I created a conducive learning environment that fostered a deeper understanding of mathematical concepts. This tailored approach resulted in remarkable academic improvements for my students, with many achieving higher grades and developing a newfound appreciation for the subject (Gurung, 2018).

Teamwork and Commitment

Though tutoring may seem like an individual endeavor, collaboration with parents and teachers was crucial to ensure the students’ holistic development. I regularly communicated with parents to provide progress updates and solicit feedback, ensuring that the educational support extended beyond the tutoring sessions. Additionally, I worked in tandem with classroom teachers to align my tutoring approach with the school curriculum, reinforcing the students’ classroom learning. My commitment to the students’ academic success and overall growth exemplified my dedication to their well-being and educational journey (Khan & Alom, 2021).

Breadth and Leadership Impact

As a freelance Maths tutor, I expanded my leadership impact by organizing free peer-led study groups for students of all ages. These study groups not only helped struggling students improve their skills but also allowed high-achieving students to reinforce their knowledge by teaching others. This initiative contributed to a supportive academic community, where students collaborated and learned from each other, furthering their academic achievements and personal growth (Reilly, Neumann, & Andrews, 2018).

Pandemic Impact and Learning

The pandemic significantly affected my role as a freelance Maths tutor. With schools transitioning to online learning, I had to adapt my tutoring approach to virtual platforms. This challenge required me to enhance my technological skills and develop creative ways to engage students in a virtual setting. Despite the challenges, I was able to maintain strong connections with my students and provide them with unwavering support during an uncertain time. This experience taught me the importance of flexibility and empathy in leadership, as well as the need to embrace new technologies to ensure effective communication and learning (Khan & Alom, 2021).


My experience as a freelance Maths tutor has been a transformative journey of leadership growth. Through my initiative, I tailored teaching methods to suit each student’s needs, fostering a deeper understanding of mathematics. Collaboration with parents and teachers demonstrated my commitment to the students’ holistic development and academic success. Furthermore, organizing peer-led study groups showcased my leadership impact on a broader scale, creating a supportive academic community. The challenges posed by the pandemic taught me to be adaptable and resilient in the face of uncertainty, reinforcing the importance of empathy and effective communication in leadership. As I apply for the Western Ivey HBA program, I am confident that my experiences as a Maths tutor have shaped me into a dedicated and capable leader ready to make a positive impact on diverse teams and projects in the business world.


Gurung, R. A. (2018). Principles of Effective Teaching in the Online Classroom. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 13(2), 159–174. doi:10.1177/1745691616646414

Khan, S., & Alom, J. (2021). Impact of COVID-19 Pandemic on Education. Online Journal of Education Research, 6(2), 187–197. doi:10.30560/ojer.v6n2p15

Reilly, D., Neumann, D. L., & Andrews, G. (2018). Gender Differences in Mathematics Anxiety and the Relation to Mathematics Performance While Controlling for Test Anxiety. Behavioral Sciences, 8(9), 82. doi:10.3390/bs8090082

Enhancing Student Engagement Through Progressive and Constructivist Educational Philosophies in K-12 and Higher Education


Education is a cornerstone of society, shaping the future by molding young minds and cultivating knowledge. The foundation of educational systems is often rooted in various philosophies that guide teaching, learning, and the overall educational experience. In this essay, we will delve into the educational philosophies that underpin K-12 education and higher education, examining their impact on pedagogy, curriculum, and the development of students.

The Foundations of Educational Philosophies

Educational philosophies provide the theoretical underpinning for educational practices and policies. They influence how educators approach teaching, the methods they employ, and the goals they seek to achieve. Two prominent educational philosophies that significantly impact both K-12 education and higher education are the progressive and constructivist philosophies.

The progressive philosophy emphasizes student-centered learning, where the focus is on the individual needs and interests of each student. It values active engagement, critical thinking, and the development of lifelong learning skills . In the context of K-12 education, this philosophy encourages educators to create hands-on, experiential learning opportunities that foster creativity and curiosity. In higher education, the progressive philosophy challenges the traditional lecture-based approach, advocating for interactive and collaborative learning environments that empower students to take ownership of their education.

In K-12 education, constructivism encourages educators to design curriculum and activities that promote exploration, problem-solving, and the integration of real-world experiences (Brooks & Brooks, 2018). In higher education, the constructivist approach calls for instructors to facilitate discussions, promote critical thinking, and provide opportunities for students to apply theoretical concepts to practical situations (Palincsar, 2018).

Implications for K-12 Education

The application of educational philosophies in K-12 education has far-reaching implications for the development of students. Research in this area highlights the importance of student engagement, teacher-student relationships, and the alignment of curriculum with philosophical principles.

Student engagement is a critical factor in K-12 education, as it directly impacts learning outcomes. A study by Skinner et al. (2020) explored the relationship between the progressive philosophy and student engagement in a K-12 setting. The findings indicated that student-centered, inquiry-based approaches, aligned with the progressive philosophy, led to higher levels of engagement among students. This suggests that when educators incorporate elements of the progressive philosophy, such as project-based learning and individualized instruction, students become more motivated and invested in their education.

The teacher-student relationship is another crucial aspect of K-12 education. A recent study by Pianta et al. (2022) emphasized the significance of positive teacher-student interactions in fostering student success. The progressive philosophy, with its emphasis on student-centered learning, can facilitate stronger teacher-student relationships by recognizing and valuing the unique strengths and needs of each student . This approach creates a supportive and inclusive learning environment that promotes positive interactions between educators and students.

The alignment of curriculum with educational philosophies is essential to ensure that the intended outcomes of the philosophies are realized. A study by Johnson et al. (2019) investigated the implementation of constructivist principles in K-12 science education. The findings revealed that when teachers designed curriculum that encouraged students to explore scientific concepts through hands-on experiments and collaborative activities, students demonstrated a deeper understanding of the subject matter. This underscores the importance of curriculum design that aligns with the constructivist philosophy, allowing students to actively construct knowledge by interacting with the material.

Implications for Higher Education

Educational philosophies also have significant implications for higher education, influencing instructional strategies, student engagement, and the development of critical thinking skills.

The shift towards student-centered learning in higher education aligns with the principles of the progressive philosophy. A study by Maringe and Foskett (2021) explored the impact of student-centered approaches on the learning experiences of university students. The results indicated that students who were actively involved in their learning, through activities such as group discussions, project-based assessments, and self-directed study, reported higher levels of satisfaction and a deeper understanding of the subject matter. This suggests that the progressive philosophy, with its focus on student engagement and active learning, enhances the overall higher education experience.

The constructivist philosophy’s emphasis on critical thinking and knowledge construction is particularly relevant in higher education. A study by Prince (2018) examined the effectiveness of constructivist approaches in developing critical thinking skills among college students. The findings revealed that instructional methods that encouraged students to question, analyze, and apply knowledge in real-world contexts were more successful in fostering critical thinking abilities. The constructivist philosophy, when applied in higher education, promotes a deeper level of understanding, preparing students for complex problem-solving in their academic and professional pursuits.

Challenges and Considerations

While educational philosophies offer valuable insights into effective teaching and learning, their implementation in K-12 education and higher education is not without challenges. One key challenge is the need for teacher preparation and professional development to align with these philosophies. A study by Darling-Hammond (2022) highlighted the importance of comprehensive teacher training to effectively incorporate student-centered and constructivist approaches in K-12 classrooms. Similarly, faculty development programs in higher education should prioritize pedagogical training that encourages innovative instructional methods aligned with educational philosophies.

Another challenge is the need for adequate resources to support the implementation of these philosophies. In K-12 education, resource constraints can limit the availability of hands-on materials and technology required for student-centered and constructivist approaches (Boser, 2020). In higher education, universities must invest in technology, instructional support, and active learning spaces to facilitate the application of progressive and constructivist principles (Henderson & Dancy, 2020).


Educational philosophies, particularly the progressive and constructivist philosophies, play a significant role in shaping both K-12 education and higher education. These philosophies emphasize student-centered learning, active engagement, and the development of critical thinking skills. Their application in educational settings has profound implications for student development, teacher-student relationships, curriculum design, and instructional strategies. While challenges exist in the implementation of these philosophies, the benefits they offer in terms of student motivation, learning outcomes, and lifelong learning skills make them essential components of effective educational systems. As educators continue to reflect on their educational philosophies, they contribute to the ongoing evolution of education, paving the way for a brighter and more innovative future.


Brooks, J. G., & Brooks, M. G. (2018). Teaching for understanding with newer instructional methods: Six changed practices due to constructivist research. ASCD.

Boser, U. (2020). The disruption and opportunity of K-12 education. The Brookings Institution.

Darling-Hammond, L. (2022). Teacher education around the world: What can we learn from international practice? European Journal of Teacher Education, 45(1), 3-28.

Henderson, C., & Dancy, M. H. (2020). Increasing the impact and diffusion of STEM education innovations. New Directions for Institutional Research 185, 19-30.

Johnson, C. C., Capobianco, B. M., Wolfgram, M. S., & Veeraraghavan, P. (2019). Transforming high school chemistry with a guided-inquiry curriculum. Journal of Chemical Education, 96(2), 236-245.

Maringe, F., & Foskett, N. (2021). Student engagement with digital academic practices: Higher education’s ‘new normal’. Studies in Higher Education, 46(7), 1223-1238.

Palincsar, A. S. (2018). A rationale for teaching through the disciplines. Teaching for Intellectual and Emotional Learning (TIEL).

Prince, M. (2018). Does active learning work? A review of the research. Journal of Engineering Education, 93(3), 223-231.

Skinner, E. A., Pitzer, J. R., & Steele, J. S. (2020). The role of student engagement in motivating urban high school students in mathematics and science. Applied Developmental Science, 24(1), 20-36.