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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.

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Presentation on theme: "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."— Presentation transcript:

1 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

2  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

3 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?

4  “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)

5  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)

6 ACTIONS - What do you do when instructing or teaching? INTENTIONS - What do you try to accomplish in your instruction or teaching? BELIEFS - What do you believe about instructing or teaching? Access the Teaching Perspectives Inventory here:

7 Transmission Effective teaching requires a substantial commitment to the content or subject matter. Good teachers have mastery of the subject matter or content. Apprenticeship Effective teaching is a process of socializing students into a set of social norms and ways of working. Good teachers are highly skilled at what they teach. Developmental Effective teaching must be planned and conducted “from the learner’s point of view.” Good teachers must understand how their learners think and reason about the content. Nurturing Effective teaching assumes that long-term, hard, persistent effort to achieve comes from the heart, as well as the head. People are motivated and productive learners when they are working on issues or problems without fear of failure. Social Reform Effective teaching seeks to change society in substantive ways. From this point of view, the object of teaching is the collective rather than the individual. Good teachers awaken students to the values and ideologies that are embedded in texts and common practices within their discipline.

8 In general, how do you see your primary role as a teacher? 1. Teaching students facts and principles of the subject matter 2. Providing a role model for students 3. Helping students develop higher-order thinking skills 4. Preparing students for jobs/careers 5. Fostering student development and personal growth 6. Helping students develop basic learning skills db=tgi_data&-lay=Layout01&-view Access the Teaching Goals Inventory here:

9  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

10  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.

11 ◦ 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.

12 1. Your goals for your students 2. Your values as a teacher 3. Description of how you teach—approaches and methods you use to achieve your teaching objectives 4. Assumptions about teaching and learning— your justification for why you teach the way you teach 5. Discussion of how you measure your effectiveness vis-à-vis your objectives and methods

13  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

14  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

15 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

16 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.

17 Please spend 10 minutes QUICKLY jotting down notes and ideas on the Teaching Philosophy Template. Be prepared to share your thoughts with your neighbor.

18 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?

19 Thank you! I am happy to review your work and offer constructive feedback. I can be reached at:


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