Writing a Teaching Philosophy
A teaching philosophy is a self-reflective statement of your beliefs about teaching and learning. It should also discuss how you put your beliefs into practice by including concrete examples of what you do or anticipate doing in the classroom.
There can be many purposes for writing a teaching philosophy.
- 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.
- An introduction to your teaching portfolio, thus setting the stage for the reader of that portfolio.
- A means to professional growth since it requires you to give examples of how you enact your philosophy, thus requiring you to consider the degree to which your teaching is congruent with your beliefs.
A Philosophy of Teaching Statement is approximately one to four pages in length. Aiming for two double-spaced pages is a good drafting aim. While a philosophy should cover a lot of ground, the writing also needs to be succinct.
Each academic discipline has its own culture and subcultures. What might be appropriate tone and emphasis for one discipline might be less so for another. Have one or more colleagues from your discipline review and comment on your teaching philosophy if you will be using it as part of a teaching portfolio.
This tutorial follows a three-part process.
- Begin by generating ideas for your teaching philosophy based on your attitudes, values, and beliefs about teaching and learning.
- Organize your ideas and create a working draft. You'll also check to make sure that you've illustrated your personal beliefs with specific examples of classroom practice that take into account disciplinary contexts and constants.
- Assess your first draft, comparing it to a rubric for effective teaching philosophies. Your assessment should point the way toward gaps in the essay or areas that need to be reworked during subsequent revisions.
The teaching philosophy is a document in progress. As your teaching changes and your professional identity grows, your teaching philosophy will also change and grow. Revisit and rewrite it as your beliefs and experiences progress and change.