Writing a teaching philosophy statement
A teaching philosophy statement is a document that describes your beliefs about teaching, learning and assessment and how these 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.
|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?
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||What NOT to do|
Writing your Teaching Philosophy Statement (Allison Boye; Teaching, Learning and Professional Development Center at Texas Technical University)
Writing a Statement of Teaching Philosophy for the Academic Job Search (O'neal, Meizlish & Kaplan; Centre for Learning and Research on University Teaching, University of Michigan)
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 Excellence, 9(3), 1-2. Retrieved March 30, 2021 from: https://cdn.chass.ncsu.edu/sites/socant.chass.ncsu.edu/documents/Developing_a_Philosophy_of_Teaching_Statement.pdf
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: https://taylorinstitute.ucalgary.ca/resources/teaching-philosophies-and-dossiers
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: https://crlt.umich.edu/op23