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creating a teaching philosophy

This entry contains links to sites that offer ideas about developing a teaching philosophy, which are often required as a component of the job application, whether incorporated into the cover letter, or attached as a separate document.

We’ve organized them as follows: first, some resources that provide context (What is its purpose? How will it be used?); second, some practical, step-by-step guides; and last, some sample statements.


The Chronicles of Higher Education has this news article about the value of teaching statements in evaluating job candidates: "How to write a teaching statement"
http://chronicle.com/jobs/2003/03/2003032701c.htm. This article links to another one on do’s and don’ts for teaching philosophies, at: http://chronicle.com/jobs/2003/03/2003032702c.htm .

This site, http://www.lll.hawaii.edu/sltcc/tipps/philosophy.html, is a collection of resources for writing teaching statements, including references (books and websites), a guide to brainstorming, and links to samples. (Some of these resources are called out separately in greater detail further down in this blog entry.)

Practical Guides:

This page at OSU defines the purposes of teaching statements and offers general advice for formatting: http://ftad.osu.edu/portfolio/philosophy/Philosophy.html. Scroll down for links to sample statements.

Bill Rozaitis, who is affiliated with UMN’s Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL) and teaches pedagogy in the GRAD 8101 and GRAD 8102 courses, provides practical, step-by-step advice for starting from scratch. Click on the various components of his program from his teaching portfolio site at http://www.tc.umn.edu/~rozai001/teach/background.html. (The main site also offers tips about collecting other materials for a teaching portfolio.)

Although this eight-page guide is from the American Chemical Society, its approach and methods are applicable to many other disciplines. The guide contains ideas for thinking about your teaching as well as some suggestions for organizing the statement in different ways, and how to think about teaching a step-by-step guide to drafting the contents of the statement. See "How to Write a Teaching Philosophy for Academic Employment" at
http://www.chemistry.org/portal/resources/ACS/ACSContent/careers/empres/careers_academicnews.pdf .

This OSU page offers rhetorical strategies (using metaphors, classroom examples, etc.) to develop the teaching philosophy. Scroll down for an excellent list of print resources: http://www.cofc.edu/~cetl/Essays/DevelopingaPhilosophyofTeaching.html.


For inspiration and reflection: the following site contains musings on about good teaching written by about 80 professors from Berkeley, from all disciplines. They are listed alphabetically (scroll down to read Michael Watts’ statement.) http://teaching.berkeley.edu/goodteachers/index.html.

There are lots of samples from different disciplines at this U of Michigan site. They read like assignments from a PFF-type class, but are instructive because they are so different and because they address pedagogical issues in a discipline-specific context:

Here is a sample from Gardner Rogers at UIUC, who teaches rhetoric: http://www2.english.uiuc.edu/rogers/Teaching_Statement.htm

This statement is a longish document that incorporates a section on teaching philosophy (scroll down to read it). Although it’s for computer science, I find his specific examples about methods he uses in the classroom are pretty compelling.

Finally, a personal favorite, even though it's for teaching foreign language: http://www.humnet.ucla.edu/humnet/italian/grads/cavatort/tphilosophy.html.