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Philosophy Of Teaching Statement

Perhaps because the Philosophy of Teaching Statement is the first piece in a Teaching Portfolio, it seems to generate the greatest number of questions and concerns. Here are most commonly asked questions and general responses.

What is a Philosophy of Teaching Statement?

A Philosophy of Teaching Statement is a brief reflective essay concerning one's understanding about how students learn, how instruction can best assist that learning, and actions that you take to enact such instruction. It may also include your teaching goals , your learning goals for students, and areas in which you would like to further improve your teaching abilities.

A good Teaching Philosophy Statement will address the following points in a succinct manner:

  •  How do students learn?
  •  How do I facilitate that learning?
  •  What goals do I have for my students?
  •  Why do I teach the way that I do?
  •  What do I do to implement these ideas about teaching and learning in the classroom? (ie. mention some instructional strategies you use)
  •  Are these strategies working? Do my students meet the goals? (ie. How is students' learning measured and assessed?)
  •  How do I know they are working? (ie. feedback, evaluation of teaching)
  •  What are my future goals for growth as a teacher?

Adapted from:  Chism, N. V. N. (1998). Developing a philosophy of teaching statement. Essays on Teaching Excellence: Toward the Best in the Academy, 9, 1–3.

A teaching philosophy statement is a draft document that is always changing.  It is adapted for different purposes, and will change over time as your teaching practices, and your thinking about your teaching change.  The experience of being a learner (again) can also profoundly influence your teaching philosophy, as can critical (self-)reflection on the following points: 

What 2 or 3 key values describe your relationship with your students, and the ideas and material you teach? What are you assuming, but not making explicit? Where are the gaps in your statement? Have you exemplified your stated values and intentions with actual strategies, data, student or collegial quotes, for example?

CCUT Candidates:

Candidates preparing a teaching philosophy statement for UCSB's Certificate in College and University Teaching (CCUT) portfolio are advised to follow the guidelines above. It can be helpful to read a colleague's draft statement, and see if you can repeat back to them the 2 or 3 key ideas in it along with other constructive feedback.  Evidence to support the claims you make in your Teaching Philosophy Statement can be appended to the document. Evidence might include, but is not restricted to: sample syllabus, grading rubric/s, copies of feedback you provide on graded papers or exams, summary ESCI evaluation data, worksheets, certificates and letters. CCUT portfolio candidates will include such data in the Portfolio Appendices.

How do I begin writing a Teaching Philosophy Statement?

Just as you start with a goal when you teach a lesson, you need to start with a goal in writing your teaching philosophy. Ask yourself what you want to emphasize, why you want to emphasize it, and what does your audience need to hear? You may want to write a few philosophy statements for varying audiences. Statements are about one page long, two at the very most.

The following are excellent sources on how to write a TPS.

http://www.celt.iastate.edu/teaching/philosophy.html

http://depts.washington.edu/cidrweb/Bulletin/TeachingStatement.html


References:

Pryor, C.R. 2004. Writing a Philosophy Statement: An Educator's Workbook. 2nd edition. McGraw-Hill Primis Custom Publishing.

Van Note Chism. N. 1998. "Developing a philosophy of teaching statement." Essays on teaching excellence. 9 (3). Professional and Organizational Development Network in Higher Education.

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