A Philosophy of Teaching Statement is a simple document that represents a complex set of beliefs about teaching. The statement should reflect who you are as a teacher and how your personal ideas and values impact the way you teach. It is usually 1-2 pages in length (sometimes up to 4), written in first person, and contains both abstract beliefs and concrete examples. A well-developed teaching statement allows you to continually self-assess and reflect on your teaching practice throughout your career. As your philosophy of teaching evolves over time, so might your philosophy of teaching statement.
Within your teaching statement you will reflect on some essential questions about what it means for you to teach in higher education.
Here are some potential questions to get you started thinking and writing about your teaching:
- Why do I teach? What are my ultimate goals for students?
- What role do I expect students to play?
- How does my identity/background influence my teaching?
- When I am teaching, when am I most effective? How do I know this?
- How do I truly know when and what my students are learning?
- What parts of teaching most inspire me?
- How have my beliefs about teaching changed over time?
- Describe your most challenging teaching moment. What did you learn about yourself, and about teaching, from this experience?
- Create a metaphor to explain teaching and learning.
Instruments to help you reflect upon teaching philosophy
Sometimes it can be difficult to articulate in words your beliefs and goals for teaching. The instruments listed below can help you self-assess your teaching goals and find some language to describe your practice.
- The Teaching Perspectives Inventory (TPI)
- The Teaching Goals Inventory
- A group of DU faculty members collaborated across disciplines to create some language around, What kind of teaching do we aspire to at DU? You might find this list of statements useful when articulating your own teaching goals.
Sample teaching philosophy statements
- Example statements of teaching philosophy (University of Michigan)
- Sample Teaching Philosophy Statements from DU faculty members are available upon request, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Resources for writing a teaching philosophy
- Guided steps towards writing a teaching statement (Iowa State)
- Four steps to a memorable teaching philosophy (James Lang/Chronicle)
A Rubric for assessing the quality of a teaching philosophy
- Teaching Philosophy Rubric (University of Michigan)