Writing a Statement of Teaching Philosophy

What is a statement of teaching philosophy?

A statement of teaching philosophy is a clear and concise narrative that answers the following direct question: what does teaching and learning mean to you? Answering this question in a statement of teaching philosophy requires a personal and reflective response. Hegarty (2005) stated that a statement of teaching philosophy “is the mission statement of a faculty member which declares where they would like their teaching to go and in doing so helps to keep faculty motivated and committed to constant improvement.”

What is the purpose of a statement of teaching philosophy?

  • Stimulate and promote reflection on teaching
  • Clarify and guide teaching practices
  • Improve and revise teaching practices
  • Foster dedication toward goals and values
  • Document and provide evidence for successful teaching
  • Provide opportunities for personal and professional development
  • Foster reflection on professional growth

How is a statement of teaching philosophy used?

  • Academic job applications
  • Promotion and tenure
  • Faculty candidate application packages, portfolios, and dossiers
  • Teaching awards or fellowships
  • Funding for educational projects

What types of questions could be considered in a statement of teaching philosophy?

  • What knowledge, skills, or beliefs do you attempt to foster with your students?
  • What does teaching mean to you?
  • What types of teaching strategies do you use to foster student learning? Why do you use these strategies to support student learning?
  • What type of learning environment do you try to create?
  • What types of assessment strategies do you use to help students achieve your desired objectives? How are these assessment strategies aligned to your objectives?
  • How is teaching related to your career goals?
  • What types of professional development activities help you grow as a teacher?

How should a statement of teaching philosophy be structured?

  • Between one and two pages long
  • A personal narrative
  • Evidence of personal beliefs and values
  • Representative of experience and practice
  • Showcase for strengths
  • Place that points to directions toward future growth
  • Effective abstract for a teaching portfolio

References and Other Sources

Axelrod, R. B., & Cooper, C. R. (1993). Reading critically, writing well: A reader and guide (3rd ed.). New York, NY: St. Martin’s.

Chism, N. V. (1998). Developing a philosophy of teaching statement. Essays on Teaching Excellence, 9, 1-2. Professional and Organizational Development Network in Higher Education.

Coppola, B. P. (2002). Writing a statement of teaching philosophy: Fashioning a framework for your classroom. Journal of College Science Teaching, 31, 448.

Goodyear, G. E., & Allchin, D. (1998). Statement of teaching philosophy. In M. Kaplan (Ed.), To improve the academy (pp. 103-122). Stillwater, OK: New Forums Press.

Hegarty, N. (2015). The growing importance of teaching philosophy statements and what they mean for the future: Why teaching philosophy statements will affect you. Journal of Adult Education, 44, 28.

Kaplan, M., O’Neal, C., Meizlish, D., Carillo, R. & Kardia, D. (n.d.). Rubric for statements of teaching philosophy. 

Kearns, K. D. and Sullivan, C. S. (2011). Resources and practices to help graduate students and postdoctoral fellows write statements of teaching philosophy. Advances in Physiology Education, 35, 136-145.

Landrum, R. E., & Clump, M. A. (2004). Departmental search committees and the evaluation of faculty applicants. Teaching of Psychology, 31, 12-17.

Schönwetter, D. J., Sokal, L., Friesen, M., & Taylor, K.L. (2002). Teaching philosophies reconsidered: A conceptual model for the development and evaluation of teaching philosophy statements. International Journal of Academic Development, 7, 83-97.

The University of Texas at Austin Faculty Innovation Center (2017). Teaching statement. Retrieved from https://facultyinnovate.utexas.edu/opportunities/prof-dev/statement

Weimer, M. (2011). Writing better teaching philosophy statements. The Teaching Professor, 25, 6.

Helpful Articles

4 Steps to a Memorable Teaching Philosophy 

How to Write a Statement of Philosophy

Writing a Statement of Teaching Philosophy for the Academic Job Search

Writing Your Teaching Philosophy 

CTE Workshop 

PPT Presentation

Rubric to Evaluate Statement of Teaching Philosophy