Why You Need a Statement of Teaching Philosophy and How to Develop One Marie Kendall Brown, Ph.D. Assistant Director for Teaching and Learning October 22, 2013 SIGS PLAN Workshop
Session Objectives • Consider your own assumptions about teaching and how these assumptions inform your philosophy of teaching • Identify key components of successful teaching philosophy statements • Compare and contrast sample teaching philosophy statements from a range of disciplinary perspectives • Begin writing your own teaching philosophy statement
Getting Started…Reflection GROUP 1 Consider your best teacher. What characteristics describe this individual? What do these characteristics represent? GROUP 2 Consider your best learning experience. What characteristics describe the experience? What do these characteristics represent?
What is your teaching philosophy? • “Just because you have never written a statement of your teaching philosophy does not mean you do not have a philosophy. If you engage a group of learners who are your responsibility, then your behavior in designing their learning environment must follow from your philosophical orientation… What you need to do is discover what [your philosophy] is and then make it explicit.” -- Coppola (2000)
Why You Need a Teaching Philosophy Statement • Requests for teaching philosophies are common in the academic marketplace “A survey of 457 search committee chairs in six disciplines (English, history, political science, psychology, biology, and chemistry) found that 57% requested a teaching statement at some point in the job search” SURPRISE! Requests for teaching philosophies were most frequent in the natural sciences! Reference: O’Neal, Meizlish, & Kaplan (2007)
The Teaching Perspectives Inventory http://www.teachingperspectives.com Access the Teaching Perspectives Inventory here:
Another Perspective… Teaching Goals Inventory In general, how do you see your primary role as a teacher? • Teaching students facts and principles of the subject matter • Providing a role model for students • Helping students develop higher-order thinking skills • Preparing students for jobs/careers • Fostering student development and personal growth • Helping students develop basic learning skills http://fm.iowa.uiowa.edu/fmi/xsl/tgi/data_entry.xsl?-db=tgi_data&-lay=Layout01&-view Access the Teaching Goals Inventory here:
What is a teaching philosophy statement? • A kind of “mission statement” for anyone committed to teaching • A unique and personal statement that introduce you, as a teacher, to your reader • A description of “how it is you go about teaching” • A writing sample (so make sure it is well-written) • A mirror that reflects the changes in thought and practice that occur during a teacher’s career journey
What it does… • Demonstrates that you are reflective and purposeful about your teaching • Helps to communicate your goals as a teacher • Articulates the teaching approaches you use to achieve your teaching goals • Describes how you want to make a difference in the lives of your students • Documents your progress and development • Outlines a path of professional improvement In short: It stimulates genuine reflection about teaching.
Who should have one? • Individuals who will be entering the job market • Individuals who are actively on the job market • New instructors • Experienced instructors • Individuals who are seeking promotion • Individuals who are preparing for their annual review In short: Every practicing educator can benefit.
Five Key Elements • Your goals for your students • Your values as a teacher • Description of how you teach—approaches and methods you use to achieve your teaching objectives • Assumptions about teaching and learning—your justification for why you teach the way you teach • Discussion of how you measure your effectiveness vis-à-vis your objectives and methods
Some tips… • Be brief… 1-2 pages (at most) is best • Avoid technical terms, favor language that can be broadly appreciated • Write with your audience in mind • Use a narrative, first-person approach • Be straightforward and well-organized • Use this as an opportunity for reflection and introspection: Strive to create a vivid portrait of your teaching practices
Ideas and buzzwords… (that will not necessarily distinguish your statement) • You care for students • You desire to challenge students • You run a student-centered classroom • You use of a mixture of lecture and discussion • You put students first • You are available to students outside of the classroom • You love teaching • You have learned a lot from teaching • You seek to integrate your research and teaching
Elements that will distinguish your statement • A strong opening (e.g., begin with the story of how you developed your teaching philosophy) • Making distinctions between the way you teach different types of courses (e.g., content-oriented vs. skills-oriented, introductory vs. upper-level) • Offering specific descriptions: • How your objectives have played out • An enlightening moment in the classroom • A moment of failure that led to a new way of teaching • A creative strategy or assignment you have used • Citing your sources: It reflects well to credit individuals and resources who have shaped your teaching
Sample Teaching Philosophies As a group, let’s choose a statement from the “Faculty Focus” article that we can read and critique: • A Teaching Philosophy Built on Knowledge, Critical Thinking and Curiosity: Health Care Management • A Dynamic Interaction Between Pedagogy and Personality: Psychology • Teaching Philosophy and Assumptions: Education • Education as Becoming: English • A Nurse Educator’s Philosophy of Teaching: Nursing • Teaching and Advising Philosophy and Style: Animal Science • Make Learning Fun: English Take a few minutes to read the statement carefully, then complete the evaluation rubric.
Your Turn! Please spend 10 minutes QUICKLY jotting down notes and ideas on the Teaching Philosophy Template. Be prepared to share your thoughts with your neighbor.
Wrap Up and Next Steps What are the key insights you gathered from today’s session? What is one step you will take to toward completing your teaching philosophy statement?
Questions? Thank you! I am happy to review your work and offer constructive feedback. I can be reached at: email@example.com