Philosophy of Education
Teaching philosophies express your values and beliefs about teaching and learning. They are personal statements that introduce you, as a future teacher, to your reader. As such, they are written in the first person and convey a confident, professional tone. When writing a teaching philosophy, use specific examples to illustrate your points. You should also discuss how your values and beliefs about teaching fit into the context of your discipline.
Below are categories you might address with prompts to help you begin generating ideas. Work through each category, spending time thinking about the prompts and writing your ideas down.
- Definition of teaching- Your concept of teaching: discuss the relationship between teaching and learning by defining teaching and learning, providing examples, and drawing on personal experiences and views as well as those of colleagues, and/or mentors.
Note your values, beliefs, and aspirations as a teacher. (For example, do you wish to encourage mastery, competency, transformational learning, life-long learning, general transference of skills, critical thinking, etc.) What does a perfect teaching situation look like to you? Why do you consider this “perfect”? What is your role as a teacher?
- Your view of the learner and student development: Extending the discussion on teaching and learning you should focus now on your personal beliefs about learner and the learner’s characteristics (learning styles, learning environment, cognitive structures, learning strategies and student motivation) and their influence on student success in the learning environment.
- Goals and expectations of the student-teacher relationship: What skills should students obtain as the result of your teaching? Think about your ideal student and what the outcomes of your teaching would be in terms of this student’s knowledge or behavior. Address the goals you have for specific classes or curricula and the rationale behind them (i.e., critical thinking, writing, or problem solving). What are your attitudes toward advising and mentoring students? How would an observer see you interact with students? Why do you want to work with students?
- The methods you will use: What methods will you consider to reach these goals and objectives? What are your beliefs regarding learning theory and specific strategies you would use such as case studies, group work, simulations, interactive lectures, etc.? You might also include any new ideas or strategies you have used or want to try. Specific examples: How are the values and beliefs noted above realized in classroom activities? You may discuss course materials, lesson plans, activities, assignments, assessment instruments, etc.
- Assessing learning: How will you assess student growth and learning? What are your beliefs about grading? Do you grade students on a percentage scale (criterion referenced) or on a curve (norm referenced)? What different types of assessment will you use: traditional tests, projects, portfolios, or presentations?
- Professional growth: How will you continue growing as a teacher? What goals do you have for yourself and how will you reach them? How have your attitudes toward teaching and learning changed over time? How will you use your student evaluations to improve your teaching? How might you learn new skills? How do you know when you have taught effectively?