Writing a Statement of 
Teaching Philosophy 
Margarita Nafpaktitis 
Charles E. Young Research Library
Teaching philosophies are 
becoming a common 
component of job 
applications & also of tenure 
and promotion materials.
Purposes of a teaching philosophy: 
Self-reflection 
Introduction to a teaching 
portfolio 
Communication with students
If “philosophy” 
seems too pretentious, 
you might prefer 
“reflective statement on 
teaching” 
or even just 
“statement o...
Just because you’ve 
never written a 
statement of 
teaching philosophy 
doesn’t mean you 
don’t have one!
Critical Incident 
Think back to an important learning 
experience you’ve had (in either a 
formal or informal educational...
Definition of Learning & Teaching 
How do YOU define the phrase 
“to learn”? (Think of a time 
when you felt you really 
l...
Choose a metaphor for learning/teaching 
Helping someone learn is like... 
Learning is like...
Reflecting on your 
teaching identity 
Choose 3 adjectives that 
best describe you 
as a teacher &/or the way 
1 
2 
3 
yo...
General guidelines 
for writing the teaching philosophy: 
Keep it BRIEF! (1-2 pages) 
Use a narrative, 1st-PERSON 
approac...
Discuss: 
your GOALS for your 
students 
the METHODS you use to 
achieve those goals 
and the ASSESSMENTS 
you use to find...
Explain: 
your specific 
disciplinary 
context 
use specific 
EXAMPLES of 
your practice 
Showcase: 
your strengths 
your ...
And then remember... 
Keep it brief! (1-2 pages) 
Use a narrative, 1st-person 
approach 
Make it reflective & personal
Map your philosophy:
The teaching philosophy is an 
EVOLVING DOCUMENT 
that will change as you gain 
more experience as a teacher 
& as your be...
Returning to your teaching 
philosophy statement throughout 
your career can help make your 
current teaching practice mor...
Questions for 
further reflection: 
Not all of the questions that follow will 
resonate for you, but thinking about 
how y...
What are your beliefs & values about learning? 
What do you fundamentally believe about how 
people learn? 
What are the b...
What do you enjoy most about teaching or 
find most rewarding? Why? 
What do you think “good teaching” (teaching 
that pro...
How do you assess what the people you have 
taught have learned? 
How do you assess your teaching 
effectiveness? 
How wou...
How is your teaching affected by your 
identity & background 
How is your teaching affected by the 
identities & backgroun...
How have you changed & developed as a 
teacher? 
What caused those changes? 
How do you want to improve as a teacher? 
How...
Helpful resources for further 
developing your teaching philosophy: 
! 
http://www.crlt.umich.edu/tstrategies/tstpts 
! 
F...
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Writing Your Teaching Philosophy

  1. 1. Writing a Statement of Teaching Philosophy Margarita Nafpaktitis Charles E. Young Research Library
  2. 2. Teaching philosophies are becoming a common component of job applications & also of tenure and promotion materials.
  3. 3. Purposes of a teaching philosophy: Self-reflection Introduction to a teaching portfolio Communication with students
  4. 4. If “philosophy” seems too pretentious, you might prefer “reflective statement on teaching” or even just “statement on teaching”
  5. 5. Just because you’ve never written a statement of teaching philosophy doesn’t mean you don’t have one!
  6. 6. Critical Incident Think back to an important learning experience you’ve had (in either a formal or informal educational setting) What made that learning experience positive or negative for you? How did it affect the way you think about teaching or learning? Can you derive a principle from your experience?
  7. 7. Definition of Learning & Teaching How do YOU define the phrase “to learn”? (Think of a time when you felt you really learned something.) How do YOU define the phrase “to teach”? (Think of a time when you felt you were effectively teaching something.)
  8. 8. Choose a metaphor for learning/teaching Helping someone learn is like... Learning is like...
  9. 9. Reflecting on your teaching identity Choose 3 adjectives that best describe you as a teacher &/or the way 1 2 3 you teach:
  10. 10. General guidelines for writing the teaching philosophy: Keep it BRIEF! (1-2 pages) Use a narrative, 1st-PERSON approach Make it REFLECTIVE & PERSONAL
  11. 11. Discuss: your GOALS for your students the METHODS you use to achieve those goals and the ASSESSMENTS you use to find out if students have met your expectations
  12. 12. Explain: your specific disciplinary context use specific EXAMPLES of your practice Showcase: your strengths your accomplishments
  13. 13. And then remember... Keep it brief! (1-2 pages) Use a narrative, 1st-person approach Make it reflective & personal
  14. 14. Map your philosophy:
  15. 15. The teaching philosophy is an EVOLVING DOCUMENT that will change as you gain more experience as a teacher & as your beliefs about effective teaching & learning develop over time.
  16. 16. Returning to your teaching philosophy statement throughout your career can help make your current teaching practice more explicit and deliberate.
  17. 17. Questions for further reflection: Not all of the questions that follow will resonate for you, but thinking about how you would answer some of them may be helpful as you continue to develop your teaching philosophy...
  18. 18. What are your beliefs & values about learning? What do you fundamentally believe about how people learn? What are the beliefs & values that inform your teaching? Why is teaching important to you? How do you put your beliefs & values into practice?
  19. 19. What do you enjoy most about teaching or find most rewarding? Why? What do you think “good teaching” (teaching that promotes learning) is? What does “good teaching” look like in practice? How would people describe your teaching?
  20. 20. How do you assess what the people you have taught have learned? How do you assess your teaching effectiveness? How would you describe the ideal outcome of your teaching? What should the person(s) you have taught know or be able to do?
  21. 21. How is your teaching affected by your identity & background How is your teaching affected by the identities & backgrounds of the people you teach? How is your teaching influenced by the theory & skills required for learning in your discipline(s)?
  22. 22. How have you changed & developed as a teacher? What caused those changes? How do you want to improve as a teacher? How would you go about making those improvements?
  23. 23. Helpful resources for further developing your teaching philosophy: ! http://www.crlt.umich.edu/tstrategies/tstpts ! Find these slides online: ! bit.ly/teaching-philosophy
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