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Develop a teaching philosophy

A Teaching Philosophy

A teaching or educational philosophy is a statement of what you feel drives, motivates and informs your practice as a teacher or educator. It should be based around: critical self-reflection about your subject and educational knowledge; your teaching skills; your qualities as an educator and your core approaches to learning based around educational theory and concepts. Critical reflection is an essential part of the process of developing and enunciating a teaching philosophy. 

See the section on contributing to scholarship, research and professional activity for more about critical reflection

A teaching philosophy is a personal view of what it means to be a good teacher. Since a teaching philosophy is personal, each teacher's philosophy of teaching will be expressed in a unique fashion. Writing a teaching philosophy can  help you to think about how and why you teach. Reflecting on your teaching philosophy can help you in your personal and professional development and lead to improvement/enhancement in teaching practice. A teaching philosophy is an important part of a teaching portfolio and or application for a teaching award. It may also strengthen an application for continuation or promotion.

The statement below is one example of an expression of a teaching philosophy.

My view is that good teaching is a lot like good coaching. It is my role as an educator to encourage students and to coach them for success. I believe that being friendly, approachable, and encouraging is key to success as a teacher. I encourage students to approach and interact with me. I like to celebrate student successes. Enthusiasm is contagious in a positive classroom environment. I believe that an effective learning environment includes goals, group activities, interactive discussions, hands-on exercises, regular feedback, and peer evaluation. This kind of atmosphere engages participants and breeds motivation, which is key to a successful learning experience. As an educator, it is my role to provide these tools for success - which include a realistic set of learning goals, a positive and encouraging environment for learning, effective feedback, and opportunities for hands-on practice...

Joanne, UBC - http://www.joannealisonfox.com

Write Your Own Teaching Philosophy

If you can connect with your passion for teaching, you'll find writing your teaching philosophy to be a real joy. Once you have written your teaching philosophy you will want to re-visit it periodically because your teaching philosophy will change as you learn more about teaching and learning. This means that a teaching philosophy is a "live document" that changes as you change.

If you want some help with writing a teaching philosophy, visit the University's Centre for Learning and Research in Higher Education - they have a web page on writing a teaching philosophy that includes many useful resources. The first link on the page - to Ohio State University - is a good place to start. 

You may also like to complete the teaching perspectives inventory to help you reflect on and get an insight into your teaching philosophy and how you approach teaching. 

Colleague's view

Tony Fernando talks about developing his own personal teaching philosophy


Portfolio possibility

Write your own teaching philosophy


Check

  • Do I have a personal philosophy of teaching?
  • Do I know what to include in a teaching philosophy statement?
  • Am I able to clearly articulate my teaching philosophy?
  • Do I revise my teaching philosophy regularly and update it as my teaching experience develops?

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