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Writing a teaching philosophy statement

A teaching philosophy statement is a document that describes your beliefs about teaching, learning and assessment and how those beliefs guide your teaching practice.

Purpose of a teaching philosophy statement

While the teaching philosophy statement is sometimes used as a way for instructors to reflect on their practice regularly over their teaching career for their own development and growth as a practioner, the task of writing a teaching statement is most often initiated as part of the process for contract renewal, tenure and promotion, a teaching award or for a new job application. Though a teaching statement is usually only one part of the teaching dossier, it should be able to stand on its own as a narrative of your beliefs about teaching and how you put those beliefs into practice. Chism suggests that "What brings a teaching philosophy to life is the extent to which it creates a vivid portrait of a person who is intentional about teaching practices and committed to career."  

When included as part of a teaching dossier, the teaching statement is a way of grounding the evidence (i.e. examples of teaching materials and other types of documents) you will provide in the dossier in order to support your assertions.

Components of a teaching statement

Kenny, Berenson, Jeffs, Nowell & Grant identify four main components of a teaching philosophy statement based on the literature and offer guiding questions to help articulate each. Additionally, depending on the purpose of your statement, you may want to inlcude a fifth section on Educational leadership, or you may want to create a separate educational leadership statement.

Guiding questions

Adapted from Kenny et al. (2018) and leadership questions from Berenson & Kenny (2016).

Beliefs about teaching and learning

  • What are my beliefs about teaching and learning? What is the role of assessment in learning? What kind of an environment is optimal for learning and student success? Why do I hold these beliefs? 
  • How have my beliefs been influenced by my teaching experiences and/or scholarly literature related to teaching and learning?
  • What goals do I have for my students? What difference do I hope to make as a teacher? 
  • What does it mean to be a good teacher in a post-secondary context? What does good teaching look like in my discipline?
  • What role does student feedback play in your teaching?

Teaching strategies and strengths

  • How do I approach course design? How does this approach align with my beliefs about teaching and learning?
  • What teaching, learning and assessment strategies do I use? Why do I use particular strategies as opposed to others? How do these strategies align with my beliefs? 
  • How do I promote an inclusive learning environment?
  • What are my key strengths and skills as an instructor? 
  • What sets me apart from other instructors in my discipline?


  • What difference have I made (on myself, on students, on colleagues), and how do I know? 
  • How do I evaluate my teaching? 
  • What have I learned about my own teaching from students? How have I changed and adjusted my teaching based on reflection and feedback from students and colleagues?

Future goals

  • How will I continue developing, growing and improving as an educator?
  • What are my future goals and aspirations as an instructor in post-secondary education?


  • What educational leadership activities, practices and initiatives have I implemented? (Guidance on what are considered Educational Leadership Activities)
  • What are my key strengths as an educational leader? What sets me apart?
  • What are some of my accomplishments as a leader within my department, faculty, or the field?
  • What difference have I made as a result of my leadership, and how do I know? What has been the impact on students and colleagues?

Tips for writing a teaching statement

Adapted from: Developing a Teaching Philosophy statement (Chism) and Writing a Statement of Teaching Philosophy for the Academic  Job Search (O'neal, Meizlish & Kaplan)

In general, committee members reading a teaching philosophy statement want to see evidence of a reflective practitioner and a commitment to teaching in a concise and well-organized narrative. Refer to the following dos and don'ts as you develop your writing.

What to do

  • use the first person to speak about your beliefs and practice
  • focus on a few key ideas and develop and elaborate on these ideas
  • speak specifically to teaching in your discipline
  • provide specific examples of broad statements you make about your teaching practice (i.e. how do you implement your approach?)
  • focus your statement on learning and the impact on students
  • keep it concise - most teaching statements are 1-2 pages.

What NOT to do

  • summarize your teaching experience (this will be elsewhere in your dossier)
  • list your teaching awards or other accomplishments (this will be elsewhere in your dossier)
  • use jargon or other discipline-specific technical language



Berenson, C. & Kenny, N.A. (2016). Preparing an Educational Leadership Philosophy Statement. Calgary, AB: Taylor Institute for Teaching and Learning. 

Chism, N. V. N. (1998). Developing a philosophy of teaching statement. Essays on Teaching Excellence9(3), 1-2. Retrieved March 30, 2021 from:

Kenny, N., Berenson, C., Jeffs, C., Nowell, L., & Grant, K. (2018) Teaching Philosophies and Teaching Dossiers Guide. Calgary, AB: Taylor Institute for Teaching and Learning. Retrieved February 16, 2021 from:

O’Neal, C., Meizlish, D., & Kaplan, M. (2007). Writing a statement of teaching philosophy for the academic job search (Revised). Ann Arbor: University of Michigan. Retrieved February 12, 2021 from:

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