A teaching philosophy is a reflective narrative illustrating what you, as a post-secondary educator, believe about teaching and learning. In it, you may describe your beliefs, discuss what you try to achieve with your students, and give examples of how you have enacted this in your teaching context. Normally a written document (1-2 pages), a teaching philosophy should be an authentic representation of who you are as an educator. They are intended to be continuous works in progress with feedback from trusted sources to grow and develop. To assist you in developing yours, we have provided a guide, resources, summary, and helpful hints.
- Complete TPI Quiz Online (Click Here to Take the Quiz)
- Review TPI Results (these will be visible immediately and emailed to you by the TPI system)
- Review the resources on Teaching Philosophies (below)
- Using your TPI results and the resources below, write a draft of your teaching philosophy. Share it with colleagues to get feedback and make revisions accordingly
- Write 1-2 sentences that fully capture your teaching philosophy to summarize it for us (e.g. if someone said “What do you believe about teaching?” you would not hand them a 2 page document so what would you say?)
Teaching Philosophy Resources
These are useful resources for the development of a written Teaching Philosophy.
- Ohio State University Center for the Advancement of Teaching: They talk about the purpose, components, and tips for creating a statement. There are links to numerous examples.
- University of Waterloo Centre for Teaching Excellence: Contains reflective questions/exercises to assist in developing a statement.
Teaching Philosophy Guiding Questions from Faculty Focus
These questions are best answered in conversation with a colleague or two (however, they can also be used for a solitary and personal self-reflection).
- Describe the best learning experience you have had as a student. (This helps to identify how we best learn and reminds us as instructors what it is like to be a student. Maryellen Weimer (2013) recently discussed this in the context of influencing the learning environment.)
- Describe the best teaching experience you have had as an instructor. Are there any similarities to the learning experience you described above? (This question attempts to link our learning to our teaching.)
- What are you trying to achieve in your students with your teaching? (This is a big question and may be best initially answered by thinking about it in the context of what you feel is the course you teach with the most success.)
- Why is this important to you? (This helped me to begin articulating my approach to my discipline in the context of teaching. For others I know it becomes larger than the discipline itself and may link to the personal growth of students and not only their intellectual growth.)
- How do you achieve your objectives you wrote down for question #3 above? That is, what teaching strategies or approaches do you use in your classes that produce the learning environment or opportunities for your students to reach your teaching objectives? (Hopefully, this has been informed by your answers in questions #1 & 2 above. If there is no apparent connection between this question and your answers to #1 & 2, then this might be cause to pause and reflect why this is.)
- Why do you use these particular teaching strategies as opposed to others that are available to you? (This is where you start developing the argument or citing the evidence for the value or success of your approach to teaching. Hopefully, you are able to make links to your own learning philosophy.)
- Link to TPI Quiz
- The TPI Explained
- Assessing your Teaching Philosophy Draft
- Teaching Philosophy Statement(TPS): Writing Prompt and Pre-Writing Strategies
After reflection upon the Guiding Questions (above), you should have about 1-2 pages of typed Teaching Philosophy. You should also be able to boil it down to 1-2 sentences that is the essence of what you believe about teaching and learning in your context.
Note: Do not summarize your 1-2 page document, rather develop an essence statement that would be used to describe what you really believe if someone were to ask you.
- Teaching philosophies are never written in isolation. They are meant to be shared, they are meant to be iterative, they are meant to be given to others and to get feedback on them. They should be shared with students. They should be shared with colleagues and feedback should be sought.
- Make your teaching philosophy public in some sense. For example, share it on Twitter, feature it in your blog, etc.
- Teaching philosophies are meant to be a public statement about what you believe and how you approach it.
- You should look at your teaching philosophy regularly and revise it as you change and develop as an educator. What are you trying to achieve, how do you try to achieve it, what are specific examples of how you have done this?
- Your teaching philosophy should be an authentic first person introspective look at who and what you really are as an educator in your context.
Haave, N. (2014, June 2). Six Questions That Will Bring Your Teaching Philosophy into Focus. Retrieved from http://www.facultyfocus.com/articles/philosophy-of-teaching/six-questions-will-bring-teaching-philosophy-focus/.