Writing a Statement of
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:
Introduction to a teaching
Communication with students
seems too pretentious,
you might prefer
“reflective statement on
or even just
“statement on teaching”
Just because you’ve
never written a
doesn’t mean you
don’t have one!
Think back to an important learning
experience you’ve had (in either a
formal or informal educational
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
Definition of Learning & Teaching
How do YOU define the phrase
“to learn”? (Think of a time
when you felt you really
How do YOU define the phrase
“to teach”? (Think of a time
when you felt you were
Choose a metaphor for learning/teaching
Helping someone learn is like...
Learning is like...
Reflecting on your
Choose 3 adjectives that
best describe you
as a teacher &/or the way
for writing the teaching philosophy:
Keep it BRIEF! (1-2 pages)
Use a narrative, 1st-PERSON
Make it REFLECTIVE &
your GOALS for your
the METHODS you use to
achieve those goals
and the ASSESSMENTS
you use to find out if
students have met your
And then remember...
Keep it brief! (1-2 pages)
Use a narrative, 1st-person
Make it reflective & personal
The teaching philosophy is an
that will change as you gain
more experience as a teacher
& as your beliefs about
& learning develop over time.
Returning to your teaching
philosophy statement throughout
your career can help make your
current teaching practice more
explicit and deliberate.
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...
What are your beliefs & values about learning?
What do you fundamentally believe about how
What are the beliefs & values that inform your
Why is teaching important to you?
How do you put your beliefs & values into
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
How would people describe your teaching?
How do you assess what the people you have
taught have learned?
How do you assess your teaching
How would you describe the ideal outcome
of your teaching?
What should the person(s) you have taught
know or be able to do?
How is your teaching affected by your
identity & background
How is your teaching affected by the
identities & backgrounds of the people you
How is your teaching influenced by the
theory & skills required for learning in your
How have you changed & developed as a
What caused those changes?
How do you want to improve as a teacher?
How would you go about making those
Helpful resources for further
developing your teaching philosophy:
Find these slides online: