How to Write a Philosophy of Teaching Statement—Tips, Template, and Samples
What Is a Philosophy of Teaching Statement?
Whether you are a current education student or a teacher interviewing for a new job, understanding what a philosophy of teaching statement is and how to create one is crucial. When you apply for a teaching job in today's American public education system, you will be asked about your personal teaching philosophy, and will most likely need to present your statement on paper.
Simply put, a philosophy of teaching statement is a personal proclamation of your goals and aspirations as a teacher, the methods you intend to use to meet these goals, how you plan to assess student understanding, and how you will improve and adapt your teaching. Writing one can be tricky because you need to provide specific details, but you also need to refrain from seeming too set in your ways when applying for a new job, unless you are being interviewed because of your reputation for these specific methods. If you need to write or revise your statement, the following suggestions, template, and examples of both a well-written and poorly written statement can help you write your own effective piece.
Spend Time Reflecting
Before you sit down to compose your statement, take a few minutes to conduct some self-reflection. It is helpful if you have a pencil and some paper to jot down your thoughts and keep them organized. Ask yourself a few questions and answer them as honestly as possible.
- Why is teaching important to me?
- Why do I want to teach?
- What do I believe about how people learn?
- What do I think effective teaching is? How will I teach effectively? How will I measure my efficacy?
- How can I apply principles of learning and educational theory to my teaching?
- How do I assess student learning?
- How do I assess my effectiveness as a teacher?
- What are some concrete examples of how I put my philosophy into practice?
- What teaching method(s) do I use most often? Why don't I use other methods? Why do I believe/know my methods are effective?
- What aspects of my teaching can I improve on?
- What goals do I have for my students? What should they be able to accomplish after my class? How will I know if they meet these goals?
Asking yourself these questions, and any other related ones that come to mind while reflecting, will help you prepare to write a cohesive statement.
Make Sure Your Statement Is Well Balanced
Writing your statement is tricky.
- You need to convey your passions without sounding flaky and fake.
- You should offer concrete examples of teaching methods, disciplinary situations, and classroom management, but you also need to avoid sounding set in your ways and difficult to work with.
- You need to sound like you provide student-centered education without coming across as too lenient and anything goes.
- You have to present yourself as someone who can get students to pass the end of course testing without seeming like you'll just 'teach to the test.'
If you are applying for your first job, finding concrete examples from personal teaching experience can be difficult. Do not be afraid to pull in information from your student teaching internship observational field experiences, and even other jobs (when applicable).
Teaching Philosophy Statement Template
You can approach your statement as a typical five-paragraph essay. Break each section into additional paragraphs, as necessary, but make sure to address the five critical points outlined below. If you prepared adequately during the self-reflection activity above, you should be able to plug your answers into the template below.
I. My aspirations, goals, and objectives as a teacher and my goals for my students are:
- How will I encourage mastery, competency, life-long learning, meaningful learning, critical thinking, etc.?
II. Methods I will consider to reach these goals and objectives include:
- What are my beliefs about learning theory and how will I apply specific educational strategies in my classroom?
- Do I plan to use case studies, group work, simulations, interactive lectures, projects, or other instructional methods/tools?
III. How will I assess student understanding?
- What do I believe about grading?
- What types of assessment do I use? Traditional tests?
- Papers, projects, presentations?
IV. How will improve my teaching?
- How can I use student evaluations to improve my teaching?
- How can I learn new skills and improve my teaching methods?
- How will I know if my teaching is effective?
V. Are there any additional considerations I want to call attention to?
- Why is teaching important to me? How will I collaborate with my colleagues?
- How will I manage my classroom and discipline?
- What else do I want to point out about myself?
Teaching Philosophy Statement Examples
Your statement is an important part of your resume and must be written professionally. As discussed above, you must strike a balance between optimism and practicality, concrete examples and flexibility.
A Poor Example
This is an example of a poor statement:
I believe every student is unique and special and has the ability to create something meaningful in the world. I will help the children discover who they are as individuals so they can reach their full potential. I will help them learn to embrace the differences that make us each unique. My classroom will be a caring place that encourages students to speak their minds freely, without fear of ridicule, so they can develop a sense of pride.
This statement sounds flaky, and it doesn't offer any concrete examples.
A Good Example
This is an example of a better statement:
According to Bloom's Taxonomy, simple regurgitation of information is the most basic level of learning. By discovering each student's individual learning styles and engaging them in the classroom with hands-on activities, not just traditional lectures, I intend to elevate my students from simple memorization to understanding, applying, and analyzing.
While an incomplete statement, the second example references a specific educational philosophy (Bloom's Taxonomy) and gives a concrete example of how students will become active learners in the classroom.
Why Write a Teaching Statement?
If you plan to apply for a teaching job, you will need to write a philosophy of teaching statement. Even before that, you will (hopefully) need to write one for an education class. Either way, you should take the time to consider your personal philosophy and create a statement before you absolutely have to submit one. By writing it ahead of time, you can write without the stress of a deadline, and you can edit it to perfection. You can also chart your growth as a student and as a teacher by revisiting it in the future.
No matter when you develop it or why, writing your statement is an opportunity for personal growth and development, so take your time and create something you're proud of.
© 2012 Natasha