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Writing a Teaching Philosophy Statement

A teaching philosophy statement is a tool for you to communicate with others why you care about teaching, why you care about students, and provides some insight into what taking a class with you might be like. For example, do you ask students a lot of questions? Have you implemented a flipped classroom approach in your courses? Creating a teaching philosophy statement allows you to reflect on your current teaching approach as well as the type of instructor you strive to be.

Before looking for examples of teaching philosophy statements it is helpful to first reflect on your own teaching.

Questions to Guide Your Thinking

  • What is my philosophy? Even if you haven’t written it down, you already have a philosophy about teaching.
  • What are common teaching goals you have across your courses?
  • What does good teaching look like in any classroom? In your classroom?
  • What does your first day of class entail? Last day?
  • How do you know when students are engaged?
  • How do you know when students have achieved the learning outcomes for the class day?
  • How do you want your students to perceive your instruction and the classroom?

Structuring Your Writing

After thinking through the components you wish to include in your statement get started on the first of several drafts. The statement should be at least one to two pages, single spaced (of course if you are preparing the philosophy for an award or tenure and promotion purposes, follow the guidelines given to you). Below are some tips for getting started.

  • Do some research to determine if there are guidelines to follow either from your institution or your disciplinary field (Grundman, 2006).
  • Include research and references from sources such as the field of education or the scholarship of teaching and learning (SoTL).
  • Don’t make empty statements (Montell, 2003).
  • Use a narrative, first-person approach.
  • Revise both your first statement and throughout your career.

The following structure from Medina and Draugalis (2013) provides a helpful guide.

  1. Prepare an introduction.
  2. Describe teaching beliefs.
  3. Explain the importance of beliefs
  4. Provide evidence based on educational theory.
  5. Describe teaching methods.
  6. Describe methods of learning assessment.
  7. Provide a feedback summary.
  8. Prepare a strong conclusion.
  9. Provide a reference list.

Revise Continuously

Your first teaching philosophy statement, like all good pieces of writing, should go through several revisions. After you complete your first statement, be sure to revisit as your teaching and philosophy change over time. Feel free to visit or email the Center for Teaching, Research & Learning if you would like to discuss writing and revising your teaching philosophy statement.

References

Grundman, H. G. (2006). Writing a teaching philosophy statement. Writing a Teaching Philosophy Statement, 53(11). Retrieved from http://www.ams.org/notices/200611/comm-grundman.pdf

Medina, M. S. & Draugalis, J. R. (2013). Writing a teaching philosophy: An evidence-based approach. American Journal of Health-System Pharmacy, 70(3), 191-193. https://doi.org/10.2146/ajhp120418

Montell, G. (2003, March 27). How to write a statement of teaching philosophy. Chronicle of Higher Education. Retrieved from https://www.chronicle.com/article/How-to-Write-a-Statement-of/45133/