The Teaching Philosophy Statement: A Chore? Sudesh Mujumdar
Do We Care Enough About the Teaching Philosophy Statement? • Search Committee 2005: Finance 90 Application Folders Economics 160 Application Folders Prior to 2005: 3 Search Committees Only 2 Statements References to Learning Theory/Educational Psychology
Faculty Websites Displaying the Full-Fledged Teaching Philosophy Statement At USI: ONLY ONE (NOT MINE)
Why Do We Not Care Enough? • Is it a ‘Deal-Breaker’ in Hiring? • Is it a ‘Deal Breaker’ in the Reappointment-Promotion-Tenure (RPT) Process ?
“I can’t think of a single time we used a teaching philosophy to rule somebody out.” - Brian Wilson (Chair, Comparative Religion, Western Michigan) “I think a teaching statement is pretty low down on the scale” - Bill Pannapacker, Hope College
Costs Outweigh the Benefits (Extrinsic Motivation) • Intrinsic Motivation and The Cost-Benefit Calculus “The Call to Teach” (William Buskist) and The Teaching Philosophy Statement
The Teaching Philosophy Statement • “How to” Advice “The Call to Teach,” by William Buskist, Trisha Benson and Jason F. Sikorski, Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, 2005. “Writing a Teaching Philosophy Statement,” by Lee Haugen, 1998, Center for Teaching Excellence (Iowa State University). http://www.celt.iastate.edu/teaching/philosophy.html
Main Elements Overarching Objective(s) of Teaching Measures Taken to Accomplish This (These) Objective(s)
MY TEACHING PHILOSOPHY/METHODOLOGY The reader became the book; and summer night Was like the conscious being of the book. Wallace Stevens As a teacher, seeking this kind of immersion on the part of the students in one’s course may seem utopian, even foolhardy, but it is the constant striving towards coming closer to this goal that can make both the learning and the teaching experience more rewarding. Below, I briefly sketch some of my endeavors in this regard.
Thinking Like an Economist • Why are there so many con-men in Florida? • Why are rappers (rather than pop-stars) less likely to get ‘punk’d’ on the MTV show: PUNK’D? [Students address this question as an assignment] Learning Theory: Affective Domain
Topic Coverage • Introducing a New Topic (Learning Theory: Effective Encoding) • Introducing and Teaching a New Concept (Social-Constructivist Learning-Model) • The Structure of a Lecture (Learning Theory: Effective Encoding)
Designing Homeworks/Exams (Watts and Anderson: Journal of Educational Psychology) • In-Class Assignments (Social-Constructivist Learning-Model) • The Student-Note • Grading Philosophy • Discussion of Graded Work (Self-Efficacy Learning-Model)
Enthusiasm for Teaching • On the question of how the instructor contributed to the learning of the course material, this was one comment: “He was very enthusiastic...” • “[What I liked most about the course was that] the professor was very animated and made the subjects interesting.”
Just before the start of a semester and during the course of it, I actively try and think of ways in which a greater number of students can be brought closer to experiencing the kind of immersion that Stevens alludes to, although there is little or no promise of success.
Key Issues in Writing the Statement • Link Between Teaching Strategies and Overarching Objective • Contextualize the Statement • Ground Claims in Learning Theory/Evidence (“Creating Learning Centered Classrooms: What Does Learning Theory Have to Say,” by Stage, Muller, Simmons) • Buzz Words: The T.V. ‘Expert’
Intrinsic Motivation and the ‘Return’ to A Well Thought-Out Statement • Commitment Device • Reflective Device “The Skillful Teacher,” (1990) by Stephen Brookfield
Summing-Up • Treat the Writing of the Statement as a Research Assignment • Evolving Document (Learning Styles Survey: Jester and Miller http://www.metamath.com/lsweb/dvclearn.htm)