Writing a Teaching Philosophy

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What is a Teaching Philosophy?

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).


Why Would You Write a Teaching Philosophy?

  • For the academic job market.
  • For a teaching portfolio (awards, grants, fellowships, etc.).
  • For your own professional development.
  • For the benefit of your students.


Do…

  • Illustrate who you are as a teacher as concretely as possible.
  • Use actual examples of classroom practice.
  • Show an awareness of different pedagogies.


Do Not…

  • Use jargon.
  • Rely too heavily on sentimentality.
  • Begin or end with a quote.
  • Ramble or go on tangents.


Keep These Over-Simplified Maxims in Mind When Writing a Teaching Philosophy:

  • Be specific.
  • Be memorable (in a good way).
  • Be concise.


Resources:

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.”