A Teaching Philosophy, or Teaching Statement, is a concise but detailed document (usually 1-2 single-spaced pages in length) written in paragraph format that explains how you approach curriculum development, your role in the classroom, grading practices, and other activities that influence and make up your teaching. The amount of space you give to the different aspects of teaching is up to faculty, but faculty should be sure to ground ideas with specific examples from their experiences in the classroom.
Some topics that might be addressed in a Teaching Philosophy are:
- How you facilitate diversity and inclusiveness in the classroom and in curriculum design
- Your role as facilitator/leader in the classroom and how you reserve or distribute control in the classroom
- How you approach controversial classroom topics
- Your methods for encouraging classroom participation from diverse student populations and students from varied learning backgrounds
- How you assess student learning and how you’ve acted on what you’ve found
- How you have adapted to differing class and/or college settings
- How you have utilized student feedback
When organizing your Teaching Philosophy, think back to the fundamentals of rhetoric and composition. It is helpful to have a clear introductory paragraph that includes a thesis-like statement that sets up the rest of the document. Focus your paragraphs on individual ideas or umbrella categories that you support and develop with examples.
While your CV will list your experience and accomplishments, the Teaching Philosophy is an opportunity to espouse on your specific approach(es) to teaching and detail the anecdotes from your teaching that have most shaped you as an educator. While important and deserving a level of formality, the Teaching Philosophy is not a scholarly essay in tone. It is closer to a concise pedagogy manifesto/biography based on your successes and on your responses to your failures in teaching.
For more details and for examples, click on the many links housed on this page.