Teaching Strategies

Teaching Philosophy Statements

These resources have been created for graduate students developing a teaching philosophy statement as part of the Apprenticeship in College Teaching Program requirements, or in preparation for applying to an academic job.

What is a teaching philosophy statement and do I have one?

On the left panel, The Socratic Method: What can we say about this phenomenon? Well, what are your assumptions? And what do you base your reasoning on? On the right panel: The Sarcastic Method: Of course it won't be on the test. I just lectured about it for no reason! I'd be happy to re-grade it. I love wasting my time! Yes, you can submit it late. You're special!

Whether you have never taught a class before or have years of teaching experience, you do have a teaching philosophy. What are your thoughts on the Socratic method? Lecturing? Re-grading assignments? Submitting assignments after the deadline? How about cold calling your students? Assigning oral exams or student presentations? Asking your students to work in pairs and groups? Your answers to these questions will reveal aspects of your teaching philosophy.

A teaching philosophy statement is a document in which you articulate the key components of your approach to teaching in a clear, succinct, and discipline-specific way. The process of drafting and revising your teaching philosophy is a chance to think concretely about your goals for student learning and the teaching methods you use, all within the context of your discipline. Bringing these underlying values to the surface will help you articulate the decisions you make in your teaching and reflect on how you see your role in your students’ learning processes.