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.
Note: Some committees have specific guidelines for teaching statements. Defer to those guidelines above others when developing your statement. When no guidelines are provided, refer to the suggestions below to develop your teaching statement.
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