The Teaching Philosophy/Teaching Statement

The teaching philosophy (or teaching statement) is becoming a more common part of academic life for both faculty and graduate students. Graduate students report that colleges and universities often request statements from applicants for faculty positions. Faculty at an increasing number of institutions must develop a teaching statement as they approach tenure and promotion. Instructors at all levels find that writing their statement helps them develop as teachers, since it entails making their implicit views on teaching and student learning explicit and comparing those views to actual teaching practice.

CRLT Resources

CRLT Occasional Paper #23, Writing a Statement of Teaching Philosophy for the Academic Job Search, (O’Neal, Meizlish, and Kaplan, 2007)

This CRLT Occasional Paper is designed to help experienced graduate students write a statement of teaching philosophy. The authors offer a rubric for writing an effective statement based on research into the use of teaching statements by academic search committees.

Rubric for Statements of Teaching Philosophy (Kaplan, O'Neal, Meizlish, Carillo, and Kardia, 2005)

A rubric for evaluating teaching philosophy statements created by CRLT. The design of the rubric was informed by our 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.

Examples of Teaching Philosophies from U-M Graduate Students

This link contains examples of teaching statements from U-M and consists of a library of teaching philosophies from advanced graduate students who have taken part in the Rackham-CRLT May Seminar on Preparing Future Faculty. They are organized by discipline.

Please also see:

Resources from our peers

Ohio State University Center for the Advancement of Teaching

The site has a carefully designed menu of topics (such as What is a philosophy of teaching statement? and Major components of a philosophy of teaching statement) that are easy to navigate and give an overview of the teaching statement. The site also contains examples, a list of web links, and a bibliography.

University of Iowa Office of Teaching, Learning & Technology

Harvard University Bok Center for Teaching and Learning

University of Saskatchewan Gwenna Moss Centre for Teaching Effectiveness

The Gwenna Moss Centre for Teaching Effectiveness outlines the parts of a Teaching Portfolio. This site includes a section dedicated to writing a statement of teaching philosophy, and several sample philosophy of teaching statements from a variety of disciplines.

University of Minnesota Center for Educational Innovation

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.

Vanderbilt University Center for Teaching

A detailed primer on teaching statements, which includes not only rationales and purposes of the Teaching Statement, but also useful guidelines on style and formatting. Further sections outline exercises, ways to evaluate your statement, and further reading and resources.

Further reading on Teaching Statements

Below we outline some scholarly articles, presentations, and news articles on Teaching Philosophy/Teaching Statements. We have included widely utilized articles as well as newer research and resources. The list of references is by no means exhaustive, and if there are other articles that we should include on this page, please feel free to share them with CRLT.

  • Corrall, Sheila (2017) Developing a Teaching Philosophy Statement. In: Workshop on Developing a Teaching Philosophy Statement, 19 June 2017 - 19 June 2017, Technological Higher Education Association (THEA), Dublin, Ireland. (Unpublished)
    • PDF file of presentation slides. As a workshop tool, the presentation offers useful definitions, rationales, formal suggestions, literature, and activities to activate thinking on one’s teaching practice.
  • Dalton, C. L., Wilson, A., & Agius, S. (2018). Twelve tips on how to compile a medical educator’s portfolio. Medical teacher, 40(2), 140-145. https://doi.org/10.1080/0142159X.2017.1369502
    • Aimed at new and aspiring medical educators to use for appraisal, revalidation, and promotion. The article lists twelve recommendations for medical professionals to build a portfolio on their teaching, as opposed to the traditional Clinical Portfolio.
  • Grundman, H. G. (2006). Writing a teaching philosophy statement. Notices of the AMS (PDF), 53(11), 1329-1333.
    • From Grundman (2006): “[This article] is a collection of suggestions for approaching the task of determining or refining your own teaching philosophy and of writing a statement suitable for job applications.”
  • Hegarty, N. C., & Silliman, B. R. (2016). How to approach teaching philosophy statements as career mission statements. Journal of Business and Educational Leadership, 6(1), 103.
    • From the Hegarty's (2016) abstract: “The article examines the necessity for obtaining an in-depth understanding of organizational issues prior to writing a TPS in order to understand the importance of context in teaching and learning.[…] A proposed framework of pre-considerations for teaching philosophy construction is presented: the personal mission for teaching (the how and why I teach), the vision the faculty member has for teaching (who I am striving to be as a teacher), and the development of one’s teaching style (the best practices and individualized approach as a teacher)”.
  • Montell, Gabriela (2003). How to Write a Statement of Teaching Philosophy (PDF), from the Chronicle Manage Your Career section of the Chronicle of Higher Education.
  • Swart, Arthur James. "Developing a comprehensive teaching portfolio—A scholarly personal narrative." In Global Engineering Education Conference (EDUCON), 2018 IEEE, pp. 26-31. IEEE, 2018. https://doi.org/10.1109/EDUCON.2018.8363204
    • Presentation on the teaching portfolio, which includes the Teaching Philosophy, teaching Practice, and teaching Evidence.
  • Wesner, A. R., Jones, R., Schultz, K., & Johnson, M. (2016). Impact of the Use of a Standardized Guidance Tool on the Development of a Teaching Philosophy in a Pharmacy Residency Teaching and Learning Curriculum Program. Pharmacy, 4(1), 9. https://doi.org/10.3390/pharmacy4010009
    • Study on how a Pharmacy program implemented a survey for residents. The tool does two things simultaneously: It informs the program about their students’ beliefs and attitudes towards teaching, and it helps the residents reflect on their teaching philosophies prior to and after drafting their teaching philosophy statements. The instrument appears in the paper’s appendix.

Resources on writing a Diversity Statement

Along with teaching statements, many colleges and universities now consider diversity statements during faculty hiring and promotion. As this practice becomes more commonplace, we offer a selection of resources to help guide professionals interested in writing and improving their own statements on diversity.

 

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