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A teaching philosophy is less ethereal than the name implies. It is, quite simply, a document that describes what your goals and values are as a college teacher and what you have done in the classroom to implement these and to foster student learning. Teaching philosophies can be two pages long (but never three).
- For the academic job market.
- For a teaching portfolio (awards, grants, fellowships, etc.).
- For your own professional development.
- For the benefit of your students.
- Illustrate who you are as a teacher as concretely as possible.
- Use actual examples of classroom practice.
- Show an awareness of different pedagogies.
- Use jargon.
- Rely too heavily on sentimentality.
- Begin or end with a quote.
- Ramble or go on tangents.
- Be specific.
- Be memorable (in a good way).
- Be concise.
James M. Lang (2010), “4 Steps to a Memorable Teaching Philosophy.”
Gabriela Montell (2003), “How to Write a Statement of Teaching Philosophy.”
Ohio State University’s Center for the Advancement of Teaching: “Writing a Philosophy of Teaching Statement.”
Also, see examples on our “Documenting your teaching” page