stating your teaching philosophy
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STATING YOUR TEACHING PHILOSOPHY. Danielle Mihram, Director Center for Excellence in Teaching University of Southern California. Introduction. What is a “teaching philosophy”? What does it include? What is a good teaching philosophy statement?. What is a “teaching philosophy”?.

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stating your teaching philosophy


Danielle Mihram, Director

Center for Excellence in Teaching

University of Southern California

  • What is a “teaching philosophy”?
  • What does it include?
  • What is a good teaching philosophy statement?
what is a teaching philosophy
What is a “teaching philosophy”?
  • An expression of individual values about teaching

( a personal portrait of the writer’s view of teaching).

Answers the question: “Why do I teach?”

    • What motivates me to learn about this subject?
    • What do I expect to be the outcomes of my teaching?
    • What is the student-teacher relationship I strive to achieve?
    • How do I know when I have taught successfully?
    • What habits, attitudes, or methods mark my most successful teaching achievements?
    • What values do I impart to my students?
    • What code of ethics guides me?
    • What theme(s) pervade(s) my teaching?
why should i bother to write one
Why should I bother to write one?
  • To document and showcase your reflective teaching

-- Indicates that you have taken time to reflect about your teaching within the contents of your own discipline and within the context of your particular classes.

  • To gain an advantage over other applicants for a teaching position
contents of statements of teaching philosophy
Contents of Statements of Teaching Philosophy
  • Integration of responsibilities (teaching, research, service) and how you view yourself supporting the educational mission of the university
  • Expertise and modes of teaching and learning in the context of your discipline, your department, or your university
  • The relationships you create and maintain with your students, your TAs, other faculty in the department
  • What environments do you create that are favorable to learning?
  • What values do you impart?
  • What teaching tips, strategies, techniques do you use to enhance your teaching?
  • How do you measure your students’ learning outcomes?
questions to help you frame your statement
Questions to help you frame your statement
  • 1. How does your statement demonstrate to the reader your pedagogical initiative?
  • 2. Does your approach to teaching show good judgement: careful planning or flexibility when appropriate?
  • 3. How does your statement articulate openness to different perspectives? And how will you demonstrate this?
  • 4. Does your statement show awareness of disciplinary conventions/expectations?
  • 5. How are these ideas consistent with the way you have constructed your courses?
      • Hanna Rodriguez-Farrar, 18 Aug. 2000
teaching as an expression of one s values
Teaching as an expression of one’s values
  • Values regarding the goals of teaching may vary from individual to individual
        • Ensure content knowledge
        • Develop critical thinking skills
        • Develop group skills and cooperation
        • Develop individual skills and encourage independence of thought
  • A mix of those values (a diversified approach) can be viewed as a strength
what is a good teaching philosophy statement
What is a good teaching philosophy statement?
  • A well-articulated teaching philosophy defines the standards for the individual-- It sets the benchmark for measuring:

The appropriateness of one’s methods

The scope of one’s activities

The effectiveness of one’s teachingThe achievement of student learning

writing a teaching philosophy statement
Writing a teaching philosophy statement
  • What are my objectives as a teacher?
  • What method(s) should I use to achieve (work) toward those objectives?
  • How shall I measure my effectiveness?
  • How do I justify my values?
what are my objectives as a teacher
What are my objectives as a teacher?
  • What are my teaching goals?
    • See handout: “Questions to ask about student learning outcomes”
what is effective teaching
What is Effective Teaching?
  • Six components that work:
    • 1. Cultivating and maintaining enthusiasm
    • 2. Preparation and content
        • Identifying objectives and deciding course content
        • Designing learning activities
        • Classroom policies and procedures
        • A syllabus’s silent message
        • Communicating structure
what is effective teaching cont d
What is Effective Teaching? (Cont’d)
  • 3. Stimulating student thought and interest
    • Your questions: Do they make your students think?
    • Discussions, group work, collaborative learning
    • Teaching to stimulate and motivate
  • 4. Explaining clearly
    • How to know when you are not clear and they don’t understand
    • Making the content relevant
    • Examples: The case in point that makes it clear
what is effective teaching cont d13
What is Effective Teaching? (Cont’d)
  • 5. Knowledge and love of content
    • Is “more better” when it comes to content?
    • “I know it, therefore I can teach it”: How do you convey knowledge?
  • 6. Assessing their learning and your teaching
    • Assessing their learning: exams, written work, projects, presentations, and performances
    • Effective grading
    • Assessing your teaching:
      • Communication and feedback: from your students and your colleagues

Sherman, T. M., et al. (1986). “The Quest for Excellence in University Teaching”. Journal of HigherEducation 48(1): 66-84.

what methods should i use
What methods should I use?
  • Various teaching techniques, strategies, exercises.
  • How do I make decisions about content, resources, and methods?
how do i justify my values
How do I justify my values?
  • What, to you, are the rewards of teaching?
  • What ideals keep you motivated and inspire your students?
  • How do you want to make a difference in the lives of your students?
how shall measure my effectiveness
How shall measure my effectiveness?
  • Classroom assessment techniques (Angelo and Cross)

-- usually provide relevant feedback from students

-- can serve to effect change and re-evaluation

  • Summarize key points you want your reader to remember
questions your reader will ask about your statement
Questions your reader will ask about your statement
  • What words reveal your teaching values?
  • What is your teaching style?
  • How does your teaching experience help you understand how and why you teach?
  • Does your statement gain your reader’s confidence and respect? What makes him/her distrust your writing?
  • Is the content of your statement relevant to the discipline? The department? The university?
  • Are you knowledgeable without coming across as opinionated and dogmatic?
  • What will your reader remember the most about your teaching philosophy statement?