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Writing a Teaching Philosophy Statement

Examples of Structure

Look at examples of statements to get some ideas. Typically, statements are focused on themes or form a simple narrative. See below for two examples of structure.

Chism's five components(1998)


Ask yourself such questions as “What do we mean by learning?” and “What happens in a learning situation?” Think of your answers to these questions based on your personal experience. Chism points out that some teachers have tried to express and explain their understanding of learning through the use of metaphor, because drawing comparisons with known entities can stimulate thinking, whether or not the metaphor is actually used in the statement. Or you can take a more direct approach to conceptualizing learning by describing what you think occurs during a learning episode, based on observation and experience.


Ask yourself questions such as “What do we mean by teaching?” and “How do I facilitate this process as a teacher?” Again, the metaphor format can be used or a description of the role of the teacher in motivating and facilitating learning. You may also address such issues as how to challenge students intellectually and support them academically, how to respond to different learning styles, help students who are frustrated, and accommodate different abilities.


This section should describe what skills the teacher expects her/his students to obtain as the result of learning. It can address what goals you set for your classes and what the rationale behind them is; what kind of activities you try to implement in class in order to reach these goals; and how these goals have changed over time as you learn more about teaching and learning.


Your teaching philosophy statement should illustrate how your concepts about teaching and learning, and goals for your students are transformed into classroom activities. Ask yourself, “How do I operationalize my teaching philosophy in the classroom?” To answer these questions, you may reflect on how you present yourself and course materials, what activities, assignments, and projects you implement in the teaching-learning process and how you interact with students both in and outside the classroom.


It is important for teachers to continue professional growth, and to do so, teachers need to set clear goals and means to accomplish these goals. Think about questions such as “What goals have I set for myself as a teacher?” and “How do I accomplish these goals?” For instance, you can illustrate how you have professionally grown over the years, what challenges exist at the present, what long-term development goals you have projected, and what you will do to reach these goals. Chism suggests that writing this section can help you think about how your perspectives and actions have changed over time.

In summary, these are the main questions Chism suggests to consider in a statement:

  • How do people learn?
  • How do I facilitate that learning?
  • What goals do I have for my students?
  • Why do I teach the way that I do?
  • What do I do to implement these ideas about teaching and learning in the classroom?
  • Are these things working/Do my students meet the goals I set for them?
  • What are my future goals for growth as a teacher? (extracted from Ohio State University)

Goodyear and Allchin (1998)


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 teaching philosophy statement.


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.


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, can be described in a teaching philosophy statement.


These teachers can illustrate what they have done to create a supportive learning environment in their classes socially, psychologically, and physically.


Teaching philosophy statements can be used to reflect on one’s teaching practice, both past and present, as well as to illustrate how special teaching methods are alighted to their teaching philosophy.


Teachers can demonstrate here how their teaching has produced anticipated outcomes. For example, how students have learned the subject matter and able to use the knowledge learned in class to solve real-world problems. (extracted from Ohio State University)

Editing your Statement

When editing your document

Circle those words that reveal your teaching values and gauge:

  • Are these the concepts really important to you?
  • Have you measured their effectiveness?
  • Should you work for greater clarity, by giving examples?

Questions to consider

  • Have you articulated and clarified your teaching and learning beliefs and values?
  • Have you given appropriate examples and reflections on experiences that demonstrate alignment between your beliefs and your practice?
  • Is the statement demonstrably grounded in a knowledge of the teaching & learning literature?
  • Are relevant concepts, models and/or frameworks from the teaching & learning literature considered in ways that conclusively add value?

A final exercise is to think about what a reader will remember the most about this teaching philosophy statement. Is this what you want them to remember?

And when it's finished?

Finally, remember teaching philosophy statement is a dynamic document, and one that will change and grow as your academic development does.

Further Reading

Chism, (1998), “Developing a Philosophy of Teaching Statement,” Essays on Teaching Excellence 9 (3), 1-2. Professional and Organizational Development Network in Higher Education.

Goodyear, G. E. & Allchin, D. (1998) Statements of Teaching Philosophy. To Improve the Academy 17, 103-22. Stillwater, OK: New Forums Press.

Schonwetter, D.J. Sokal, L., Friesen, M. and Taylor, K.L. (2002). Teaching philosophies reconsidered: A conceptual model for the development and evaluation of teaching philosophy statements. The International Journal for Academic Development, 7(1), 83-97.

‘Writing a Teaching Philosophy Statement.’ Iowa State University

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