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Writing a statement of teaching philosophy

A statement of teaching philosophy conveys your teaching values, beliefs, and practices as an educator. It can also be very useful for your professional growth and development such as applying for teacher education programs, international field placements, and local school boards. Generally, a teaching philosophy should focus on key components of your personal approach to teaching and learning within a particular educational context.

Here’s a list of questions you may want to ask yourself when crafting your statement of teaching philosophy:

  • What is your teaching experience?
    • Tip: Make a list of all your teaching experiences, including information about the students and develop a narrative describing your experiences.
  • Describe a successful teaching/learning experience (either a teacher or learner). What made this a positive experience?
  • Under what conditions do you think students learn best? Why?
  • Describe three essential qualities that you feel you must possess to be an effective teacher.
  • What general attitudes, values, and beliefs do you have about teaching and learning?
  • What is your main message for your teaching philosophy?

Using these questions as a guide, write a draft of your teaching philosophy in narrative form:

  • Describe your identity as an educator
  • Reflect on your teaching values and beliefs
  • Describe your teaching context (e.g., students)
  • Discuss your teaching methods, including assessment and evaluation methods using concrete examples
    • Tip: Review your teaching materials (e.g., daily lesson plans)
  • Articulate your goals for improving your own professional practice (e.g., professional development courses, seminars, workshops)

When you have drafted your statement of teaching philosophy:

  • Remember to print out your teaching philosophy to proofread it
  • Make an appointment with a SLC Writing Facilitator or Peer if you would like further feedback on your teaching philosophy

Additional resources:

  • Goodyear, G. E., & Allchin, D. (1998). Statements of teaching philosophy. In M. Kaplan & D. Lieberman (Eds.), To Improve the Academy: Resources for Faculty, Instructional, and Organizational Development, Vol. 17 (pp. 103-122). Stillwater, OK: New Forums Press.
  • University of Toronto (Statement of Teaching Philosophy

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Content by Angelpreet Singh, SFU Graduate Writing Facilitator, 2015