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How to write a Teaching Philosophy Statement

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

  •  How do people 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 alson 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.

CCUT andidates are invited to self-assess their draft statement using the CCUT TP Statement Rubric, available for download below.

Experienced instructors and faculty:

Experienced instructors will find the scholarly paper by Schönwetter et al (2002), with helpful rubric and discussion, very useful when preparing a teaching philosophy statement for the purposes of tenure, promotion, and job applications.

Schönwetter D., Sokal, L., Friesen, M. and  K. Lynn Taylor. (2002).  Teaching philosophies reconsidered: A conceptual model for the development and evaluation of teaching philosophy statements.  International Journal for Academic Development, 7:1, 83 - 97. 
 

Instructional Consultants Kim McShane and Lisa Berry are available to consult with you on developing and refining your Teaching Philosophy Statement.

Available DownloadsSize
TP Statement Rubric.pdf72.65 KB
Schonwetter et al. (2002).pdf501.34 KB

consultation contacts

George Michaelsexecutive director2130 Kerr Hall
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