That’s my Philosophy

More colleges and universities are including a Statement of Teaching Philosophy as part of their applications.  Even if you have a stellar Curriculum Vitae and mastered the art of the cover letter, this piece of your dossier requires preparation, research, and some good old fashioned self-reflection. The importance of self-reflection is to improve your teaching. The exercise of writing your teaching philosophy is not entirely because of the product itself, but also the act of creating it. It forces you to have to construct what your core teaching values are.

What is a Statement of Teaching Philosophy?

A teaching philosophy is a statement of your beliefs about teaching and learning.  Your philosophy should discuss how you put your beliefs, pedagogy, and methodology into practice by including concrete examples of what you do or anticipate doing in the classroom.

Do I have a teaching philosophy?

If you have spent any time in a classroom as an instructor or even as a student, you have opinions of teaching and learning.  Philosophy is a kind of epistemology—the science of how we know what we know.  Your teaching philosophy should state what you know about effective teaching and how you learned it (what your experiences are).

Where to start?

Try thinking of great teachers that inspired you, or maybe those instructors who did the opposite.  Find copies of your syllabi; what methods do you use to facilitate learning?  Haul out copies of your students assessments;  read your students comments:  what did you do to address their issues?  Include specific experiences that are germane to your field of study.

Not applying for a job any time soon?

Like a CV, your Teaching Philosophy is a living document that changes with your experiences.   You can assemble the documents that one day may come in handy such as student evaluations, personal letters from colleagues or students, or teaching materials that you have created.  Having these items handy when the time does come will make the experience a lot easier.  Who knows, if you present at a conference, or win a prestigious teaching award you might be asked to explain your success!

For more information click here to access articles and guides for writing your Teaching Philosophy:

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