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Writing Your Statement of Teaching Philosophy


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What is your teaching philosophy? That is, what is your approach to teaching?  Your goals for students? If you're applying for a faculty position, be prepared to discuss how you approach teaching because professors' roles as teachers are increasingly important in academia.  Peruse the academic job advertisements and you'll quickly notice that most departments request applicants to submit a statement of their teaching philosophy.  How do you articulate your teaching philosophy? What goes into a statement of teaching philosophy? Read on.

Your View of Learning
How do you conceptualize learning? What do we mean by learning and how does it occur? How do you facilitate this process in the classroom? How have your experiences influenced your view of learning?

Your View of Teaching
What is teaching? Reflect. What is the professor's role in the classroom? How does teaching facilitate the learning process? How do you challenge students intellectually while supporting those with different learning styles and abilities? How have your experiences influences your view of teaching?

Your Goals for Students
What do you expect your students to learn? What goals do you set for your classes and why? How do you work to help your students achieve your goals? What do you value in terms of student learning (e.g., writing, problem solving, critical thinking, content knowledge)?

How Do You Implement Your Philosophy
How do the ideas you've discussed thus far influence what you do in your classroom? How do you operationalize and implement your philosophy of teaching? Reflect on your course materials, assignments, projects, and teaching style. How do you use lecture and discussion methods in your class? Discuss how your experiences reflect your philosophy as well as your goals in terms of modifying your teaching to better reflect your values.

Format and Style
Most statements of teaching philosophy are brief (one or two pages). Write your statement for the general faculty audience. Avoid technical language. Write in a narrative, first person approach (even though it may feel strange at first!). As with all written materials that you plan to include in your application for faculty positions, gather feedback from colleagues and give yourself time to reflect on and revise your statement.

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