Teaching Portfolio Website Contents
Guidance on Writing a Philosophy of Teaching Statement
In her article (Chism, 1998), “Developing a Philosophy of Teaching Statement,” Nancy Chism, former Director of Faculty & TA Development at The Ohio State University, suggests five major components.
1. Conceptualization of learning
2. Conceptualization of teaching
3. Goals for students
4. Implementation of the philosophy
5. Professional growth plan
In summary, these are the main questions Chism suggests to answer in a statement:
Gail Goodyear and Douglas Allchin (1998) have made suggestions for structuring the statement of teaching philosophy in a somewhat different way than Chism.
1. Integration of responsibilities. Teaching, research, and public service are the main missions of university faculty. Each teacher therefore should explicitly describe what they do in carrying out these three missions in their statements of teaching philosophy.
2. Expertise. It is important for faculty to link their special knowledge or expertise in the field to ways of helping their students learn that knowledge and communicate with students effectively during this teaching-learning process.
3. Relationships. A healthy relationship between the teacher and students is “essential to successful teaching.” Ways in which a teacher establishes such a relationship, such as getting to know students, specific ways of building rapport with students, and special teaching techniques used, should be explicitly described in his or her statement of teaching philosophy.
4. Learning environment. In conjunction with the previous issue, the authors suggest that teachers can illustrate what they have done to create a supportive learning environment in their classes socially, psychologically, and physically to help students learn.
5. Methods, strategies, and innovation. Faculty should use teaching philosophy statements to reflect on their teaching practice, both past and present, as well as to illustrate how special teaching techniques they use are in compliance with their teaching philosophy.
6. Outcomes. Teachers can demonstrate in their statements of teaching philosophy how the previous efforts have produced anticipated outcomes. For example, students have learned the subject matter and they are able to use the knowledge learned in class to solve real-world problems.
The Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning at the University of Texas at El Paso has great resources and tools to get you thinking about your teaching reflectively. On their site, you will find the following exercises designed to help you articulate the various components of your teaching philosophy.
"Who? Me? Recognize your Teaching Philosophy"
Another useful set of exercises can be found at Iowa State University's site.
You may also want to start with thinking about your teaching style. There are several teaching style inventories online:
The use of metaphors can be a helpful tool in describing our concept of the teaching and learning enterprise. There are instructors who are able to write wonderful philosophy statements that use metaphors thematically throughout the document, continually tying the components back to that metaphor. Other use metaphors only in the philosophy development stages, using it as a tool to help them better articulate their ideas, rather than actually writing the metaphor in the final document. Either way, this tool provides your audience with a solid understanding of how you see your role in the teaching/learning process.
Here are some exemplary metaphors of learning (Grasha, 1996):
Containers: “Knowledge is viewed as a substance and the instructor is a container filled with content and facts. The student is perceived as a vessel wanting to be filled up.” (p. 35)
Journey-Guide: “Knowledge is perceived as a perspective on the horizon. The teacher guides students on their journey. Students need to follow a course, must overcome obstacles and hurdles, .... they will come to the end of their journey.” (p.35)
Master-Disciple: “Knowledge is a skill or habit to be learned. The instructor trains students and the students ideally do what they are told without questioning the master.” (p.35)
Chism, N. V. N. (1998). Developing a philosophy of teaching statement. Essays on Teaching Excellence 9 (3), 1-2. Professional and Organizational Development Network in Higher Education.
Grasha, A.F. (1996).Teaching with style: A practical guide to enhancing learning by understanding teaching and learning styles. Pittsburgh, PA: Alliance Publishers.
Goodyear, G. E. & Allchin, D. (1998) Statement of teaching philosophy. To Improve the Academy 17, 103-22. Stillwater, OK: New Forums Press.
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