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Writing a Teaching Philosophy

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. More specifically, it could include any of the following:

  • non-technical description of how the instructor believes learning occurs, in general, within a particular discipline, or through a description of a specific learning situation;
  • a non-technical description of how the instructor believes teaching can facilitate the student learning processes as described by the instructor;
  • specific ways that the instructor enacts his/her learning and teaching beliefs and goals in the instructional design, course implementation, and/or evaluation of student learning
  • the instructor's goals for students including such goals as learning to appreciate or enjoy the academic discipline, developing critical thinking, improving problem-solving abilities, improving writing within the discipline, working effectively in groups, and developing interests for life-long learning; or
  • areas of instructional expertise that the instructor is using to improve his/her courses (e.g., experimenting with collaborative learning groups, problem-based learning, the case approach or writing across the curriculum).

What is the purpose of a Philosophy of Teaching Statement?
There can be many purposes. You can think of it as a way of introducing yourself as instructor to your colleagues. You can think of it as an exercise in concisely gathering together your beliefs about teaching and learning so that you can easily articulate them to your students, your peers, and search committees. The Statement can also serve as the cover page to the teaching materials you provide when you are being reviewed for tenure or promotion.

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://ftad.osu.edu/portfolio/philosophy/Phil_guidance.html

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

http://chronicle.com/jobs/2003/03/2003032702c.htm

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

What are some examples?

Ohio State Faculty and TAs
UC Irvine, English
UC Irvine, Physics
Faculty Teaching Languages
Faculty from Professional Schools
Faculty in Engineering(available as a PDF below)

Available DownloadsSize
EngrPortfolioExamples.pdf117.6 KB

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