Writing a Teaching Philosophy Statement for your Educational Portfolio Tips from the utmb academy of Master Teachers What is a Teaching Philosophy Statement?



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Writing a Teaching Philosophy Statement for your Educational Portfolio

Tips from the UTMB Academy of Master Teachers

What is a Teaching Philosophy Statement?

A teaching statement is a purposeful, concise and reflective statement describing your beliefs about your teaching and learning and practices. It is an individual narrative that includes not only your beliefs and values, but also concrete examples of the ways you enact these beliefs as an educator. They consider the relationship between teaching content, teaching skills and educational leadership, as well as demonstrating an understanding of student learning. They go beyond simply describing your teaching experience; they demonstrate how you think about your teaching and education.



Purposes of a Teaching Philosophy Statement

Teaching philosophy statements:




  • Introduce your teaching portfolio, thus setting the stage for the reader of that portfolio

  • Guide and inform you as you prepare other portfolio items

  • Allow you to reflect on and articulate your beliefs and practices as an educator

  • Provide a guide or focus for your teaching

  • Allow you to reflect on your growth and renew your dedication to the goals and values whenever reviewed

What does a Teaching Statement Include?

Teaching philosophy statements are very personal by nature. Therefore, it is up to you to decide what components to include in your own statement. A teaching philosophy statement can address any or all of the following:



  • Your conception of how learning occurs

  • A description of how your teaching facilitates student learning

  • A reflection of why you teach the way you do

  • The goals you have for yourself and for your students

  • How your teaching enacts your beliefs and goals

  • What, for you, constitutes evidence of student learning

  • The ways in which you create an inclusive learning environment

  • Your interests in new techniques, activities, and types of learning

  • The ways in which you create learning materials and curriculum

  • How your belief system affects decisions such as materials selection, teaching strategies, classroom management and leadership initiatives

  • How you see yourself as a leader impacting education in your filed and in your university

General Guidelines

Teaching philosophy statements should:




  • Be brief and well written. (generally 1-2 pages in length)

  • Be sincere. memorable and unique, avoiding clichés

  • Use narrative, first-person approach

  • Be specific rather than abstract

  • Contain concrete examples of how you enact your beliefs, whether experienced or anticipated

  • Include teaching strategies and methods to help people “see” you in the classroom

  • Be discipline specific, explaining how you advance education in your field

  • Avoid jargon and technical terms

  • Be modest, not condescending, and illustrate your willingness to learn from students and colleagues

  • Revised periodically – Teaching is an evolving, reflective process, and teaching philosophy statements should be adapted and changed as necessary

Steps

  1. Generate a list of your ideas attitudes, values, and beliefs about teaching and learning.

  2. Organize your ideas and create a working draft that exemplifies your personal beliefs through specific examples of your practice, taking into account disciplinary contexts.

  3. Evaluate your first draft by comparing it to a rubric of effective teaching philosophies.

Reflection Questions To Help You Get You Started:
The following questions are meant to be tools to help you begin reflecting on your beliefs and values as a teacher, course developer and educational leader.  No single teaching philosophy statement can contain the answers to all of these questions. Pick and chose the ones you feel are most useful to you. All of the questions, however, are designed to help you reflect on the three areas of your teaching portfolio:


  1. Teaching, Assessment, Mentoring, Advising

  2. Development of Enduring Educational Materials

  3. Educational Leadership




  • What does learning mean to you?

  • What qualities or traits do you believe excellent teachers possess?

  • How do you facilitate student learning?

  • Why do you teach the way you do?

  • What should students expect of you as a teacher?

  • What specific activities or exercises do you use to engage your students? 

  • What method of teaching you rely on frequently? 

  • How often do you try to incorporate new methods into your teaching? If infrequently, why don’t you use them more often?

  • What new teaching strategies do you want to try?

  • How do you explain or otherwise help students understand difficult ideas or concepts?

  • What do you want students to learn? 

  • How do you go about motivating students?

  • How will you assess student understanding of materials?

  • How do you know your goals for students are being met?

  • How do you as a teacher create an engaging or enriching learning environment?

  • What are your beliefs regarding learning theory and specific teaching strategies and methods?

  • How do you prepare yourself as a teacher?

  • How to you stay current in your discipline and the field of education?

  • How are your values and beliefs realized in classroom activities, curriculum design, course materials, lesson plans, activities, assignments, assessment instruments, and educational leadership?

  • What are your attitudes toward advising and mentoring students?

  • How would an observer see you interact with students?

  • How do you balance your objectives for your students with their own?

  • If I were to ask your students about your teaching, what would they say? (If you were one of your students, what would you say about your teaching?)

  • How has your thinking about teaching changed over time?  Why?

  • What is something you’ve learned in your study that you would like to try to apply to your teaching?

  • What do you feel you need to change, if anything, in how you teach? What difference will this make?

  • What about teaching makes you feel good or gives you reward? Why?

  • What traits to you believe educational leaders should possess? How would these traits make a difference in the future of education?

  • How have you prepared to step into roles of educational leadership?

  • What educational leadership positions have your had and how has your leadership made a difference?

  • What educational leadership positions to you strive for and why?


References and Further Resources:

  • Teaching Perspectives Inventory, This survey can help you collect your thoughts and summarize your ideas about teaching and learning. http://teachingperspectives.com/

  • Articulating your Philosophy of Teaching Statement, from the Center for Effective Teaching and Learning at the University of Texas at El Paso. Various exercises to guide someone in thinking about, articulating, and writing a statement of teaching philosophy. http://sunconference.utep.edu/CETaL/resources/portfolios/writetps.htm

  • Teaching Goals Inventory, by Thomas A. Angelo and K. Patricia Cross and their book Classroom Assessment Techniques. This “quiz” helps you to identify or create your teaching and learning goals. http://fm.iowa.uiowa.edu/fmi/xsl/tgi/data_entry.xsl?-db=tgi_data&-lay=Layout01&-view

  • The Teaching Portfolio, including a section on teaching statements, Duquesne University Center for Teaching Excellence. This website includes five effective exercises to help you begin the writing process http://www.duq.edu/cte/academic-careers/teaching-portfolio.cfm

  • Writing A Statement Of Teaching Philosophy For The Academic Job Search (opens as a PDF), The Center for Research on Learning and Teaching at the University of Michigan. This report includes a useful rubric for evaluating teaching philosophy statements. The design of the rubric was informed by experience with hundreds of teaching philosophies, as well as surveys of search committees on what they considered successful and unsuccessful components of job applicants’ teaching philosophies .http://www.crlt.umich.edu/publinks/CRLT_no23.pdf

  • Teacher Portfolio and Preparation Series at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, Second Language Teaching and Curriculum Center (includes philosophy of teaching statements written by language teachers) http://www.lll.hawaii.edu/sltcc/tipps/philosophy.html

  • Writing a Teaching Philosophy Statement at Washington University at St. Louis http://teachingcenter.wustl.edu/writing-teaching-philosophy-statement

  • Writing a Teaching Philosophy Statement, Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning at Iowa State University. This document looks at four major components of a teaching statement, which have been divided into questions—specifically, to what end? By what means? To what degree? And why? Each question is sufficiently elaborated, offering a sort of scaffolding for preparing one’s own teaching statement. http://www.celt.iastate.edu/teaching/philosophy.html

  • Writing a Philosophy of Teaching Statement, Faculty and TA Development at The Ohio State University. This site provides an in-depth guide to teaching statements, including the definition of and purposes for a teaching statement, general formatting suggestions, and a self-reflective guide to writing a teaching statement. http://ucat.osu.edu/teaching_portfolio/philosophy/philosophy2.html

  • Writing a Meaningful Statement of Teaching Philosophy, McGraw Center for Teaching and Learning at Princeton University. This website offers strategies for preparing and formatting your teaching statement. http://www.princeton.edu/mcgraw/library/for-grad-students/teaching-statement/

  • TiPPS for Philosophy of Teaching Statements. http://www.lll.hawaii.edu/sltcc/tipps/philosophy.html

  • Teaching Statement, Vanderbilt Center for Teaching: http://www.vanderbilt.edu/cft/resources/teaching_resources/reflecting/philosophy.htm

  • Developing A Philosophy Of Teaching Statement, A publication of The Professional & Organizational Development Network in Higher Education, By Nancy Van Note Chism, Ohio State University http://www.cofc.edu/~cetl/Essays/DevelopingaPhilosophyofTeaching.html

  • Writing Your Teaching Philosophy: A Step-by-Step Approach, University of Minnesota. Tutorial on writing a teaching philosophy with resources to help you each step of the way, including reflective prompts, a teaching philosophy template, and three different rubrics for evaluating your statement. http://www1.umn.edu/ohr/teachlearn/tutorials/philosophy/index.html



Compiled by the UTMB Academy of Master Teachers Mentoring and Consultation Team Page



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