Personal Teaching Philosophy Essay

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My Teaching Philosophy - With A Free Essay Review

The first time I heard these word from a popular song I thought finally someone have stated what I always believed. “I believe that children are our future, teach them well and let them lead the way; Show them all the beauty they possess inside, give them a sense of pride…” I believe that in order for someone to provide this type of opportunity for students of all ages, they have to be “called” to the education field. A “calling” is the point where you define who you are both intellectually and spiritually through the profession you serve. When I entered my first education class as an undergraduate there was no question that I was entering a field that I was called to do.

My philosophy of education is grounded in the belief that an important aspect of Education is to provide students with knowledge and skills that they will need to become productive, confident citizens. The success of each student is the goal of every aspect of my teaching. An important part of establishing that success is by providing students three essential elements: (1) a positive learning environment, (2) allow students to develop their own learning, and (3) encourage respect for others.

Students are successful in an environment where they are comfortable with the content they are learning, but also with the manner in which it is delivered. Piaget says that learners should experience disequilibrium in order for learning to occur. I do believe that we have to provide students with this culture of learning, but with support. An environment where each student’s voice can be heard in a judicious approach encourages students to feel free to express their ideas and ask questions. It is only through this process can we develop citizens who become critical consumers of knowledge.

Allowing students to develop their own learning is another important element of education. The words of the song say “teach them well and let them lead the way”. Students can only lead when they have been given the opportunity to learn how to lead. The Chinese Proverb, “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime”, defines what education should exemplify. The teaching strategies that I employ in my classroom are purposively designed so that students are actively engaged in the learning process. I have taught preservice teachers in the manner that they will need to work with students in the near future. To develop teachers that will lead the way, means allowing them to practice the skills they will need to provide that environment for their own students.

When students respect themselves, it is the beginning of their ability to respect others. As a teacher I have always found that helping students to feel confident is as important as the content that I teach. I am a cheerleader for my students, encouraging, challenging and supporting them to take the steps necessary to become a confident, productive citizen. My classroom provides a model for future teachers, fair and consistent policies, effective modeling of class time and respect to them as individuals. In turn they are learning how to respect themselves, others and how to model these behaviors in their own classroom.

Each time a new school year begins I have the same exhilaration that I had the first year I started teaching. Teaching provides me with the opportunity for continual learning and development. But, it also provides me the opportunity to share something that I am passionate about and I know that I was called to do. I can only hope that each year that I provide my students with not only a solid education, but also with the opportunity to continue to develop a sense of pride



I don't really see the point in invoking trite lyrics or hackneyed proverbs to help communicate your thoughts on teaching. You are writing a philosophy of teaching, not promulgating teaching soundbites or sentimental cliches about children, and you don’t want to risk not being taken seriously. The philosophy ought to be your own, or at least communicated in your own words, but if you want to quote something, quote something that is the product of serious thought.

The purpose of such a statement is to explain how you teach and why you teach that way. In talking about how you teach, you can address such things as goals, methods, and policies. The "philosophy" part of a teaching statement is, in the first place, the logical foundation for those goals, methods, and policies, but you can also add more properly philosophical ideas about the task of teaching. While it is possible to talk about goals, methods, and policies in general terms, as you do both in your three-part delineation of what is required of a successful pedagogy and in your penultimate paragraph, your essay will be more effective if it also includes a few concrete examples of the actual stuff that happens in your classroom. Providing an example of how you model a good practice, or how you challenge your students, for instance, is more compelling than claiming that you model a good practice or challenge your students. You could also devote a little space to explaining concretely how you encourage participation, or what kinds of material or activities you prepare for your class, or what kind of assignments you develop and how you respond to them, and so forth. Needless to say, the examples ought to be in agreement with the philosophy itself.

Beyond the obvious purpose, however, your teaching statement will also serve as a writing sample; it will give the reader an idea about how accurately and effectively you communicate your thoughts. For that reason, it is important to avoid ambiguity, vagueness, opacity, and error. Here are a few examples of problems to be avoided:

"I believe that in order for someone to provide this type of opportunity for students of all ages, they have to be “called” to the education field." Syntax and grammar suggest "students" is the antecedent of "they," whereas logically the antecedent is "someone"; use "one" or "she or he" instead, or rewrite the sentence.

"An important part of establishing that success is by providing students three essential elements"; delete "by."

"My classroom provides a model for future teachers, fair and consistent policies, effective modeling of class time and respect to them as individuals." It's not clear what "effective modeling of class time" means (effective use of class time? effective modeling of how to use class time?); "them" has no referent.

"I do believe that we have to provide students with this culture of learning, but with support." The sentence that precedes this cited one does not give an example of a culture of learning, and the meaning of phrase itself is vague.

Best, EJ.

Submitted by: drchrishyp

Tagged...pedagogical statement, philosophy of teaching statement, essay feedback, essay critique

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Description · Purpose · Formatting · Return to writing a philosophy statement · Major Components · Guidance · Links · References

What is a Philosophy of Teaching Statement?

A philosophy of teaching statement is a narrative that includes:

  • your conception of teaching and learning
  • a description of how you teach
  • justification for why you teach that way

The statement can:

  • demonstrate that you have been reflective and purposeful about your teaching
  • communicate your goals as an instructor and your corresponding actions in the classroom
  • provide an opportunity to point to and tie together the other sections of your portfolio

What is the Purpose of Developing a Philosophy of Teaching?

Faculty and graduate teaching assistants are increasingly being asked to state their philosophy of teaching. This request may be in conjunction with the submission of a teaching portfolio for seeking academic positions, or as a regular component of the portfolio or dossier for promotion and tenure. Philosophy of teaching statements are also requested of candidates for teaching awards or grant applications.

Why do teachers need to articulate their philosophy of teaching? What purposes does a philosophy of teaching serve? It has been recognized by many teachers that the process of identifying a personal philosophy of teaching and continuously examining, testifying, and verifying this philosophy through teaching can lead to change of teaching behaviors and ultimately foster professional and personal growth.

In his book The Skillful Teacher (1990), Stephen Brookfield points out that the development of a teaching philosophy can be used for several purposes:

Personal purpose: ” . . . a distinctive organizing vision — a clear picture of why you are doing what you are doing that you can call up at points of crisis — is crucial to your personal sanity and morale.” (p. 16)

Pedagogical purpose: “Teaching is about making some kind of dent in the world so that the world is different than it was before you practiced your craft. Knowing clearly what kind of dent you want to make in the world means that you must continually ask yourself the most fundamental evaluative questions of all — What effect am I having on students and on their learning?” (pp. 18-19)

Gail Goodyear and Douglas Allchin, in their study of the functions of a statement of teaching philosophy (Goodyear and Allchin, 1998), identify another purpose:

“In preparing a statement of teaching philosophy, professors assess and examine themselves to articulate the goals they wish to achieve in teaching. . . . A clear vision of a teaching philosophy provides stability, continuity, and long-term guidance. . . . A well–defined philosophy can help them remain focused on their teaching goals and to appreciate the personal and professional rewards of teaching.” (pp. 106–7)

General Formatting Suggestions

There is no required content or set format. There is no right or wrong way to write a philosophy statement, which is why it is so challenging for most people to write one. You may decide to write in prose, use famous quotes, create visuals, use a question/answer format, etc.

It is generally 1–2 pages in length. For some purposes, an extended description is appropriate, but length should suit the context.

Use present tense, in most cases. Writing in first–person is most common and is the easiest for your audience to read.

Most statements avoid technical terms and favor language and concepts that can be broadly appreciated. A general rule is that the statement should be written with the audience in mind. It may be helpful to have someone from your field read your statement and give you some guidance on any discipline–specific jargon and issues to include or exclude.

Include teaching strategies and methods to help people “see” you in the classroom. It is not possible in many cases for your reader to come to your class to actually watch you teach. By including very specific examples of teaching strategies, assignments, discussions, etc., you are able to let your reader take a mental “peek” into your classroom. Help them to visualize what you do in the classroom and the exchange between you and your students. For example, can your readers picture in their minds the learning environment you create for your students?

Make it memorable and unique. If you are submitting this document as part of a job application, remember that your readers on the search committee are seeing many of these documents. What is going to set you apart? What about you are they going to remember? What brings a teaching philosophy to life is the extent to which it creates a vivid portrait of a person who is intentional about teaching practices and committed to his/her career.

“Own” your philosophy. The use of declarative statements (such as, “students don’t learn through lecture,” or “the only way to teach is to use class discussion”) could be potentially detrimental if you are submitting this document to a search committee. You do not want to appear as if you have all of the answers, and you don’t want to offend your readers. By writing about your experiences and your beliefs, you “own” those statements and appear more open to new and different ideas about teaching. Even in your own experience, you make choices as to the best teaching methods for different courses and content: sometimes lecture is most appropriate; other times you may use service–learning, for example.


The following samples are written by winners of the Graduate Associate Teaching Award at OSU, and are examples of various formats you may choose to use.


Tim Jensen, English
Spencer Robinson, Slavic and East European Languages
Diana Ruggiero, Spanish and Portuguese


Glené Mynhardt, Biology
Mahesh Iyer, Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering
Elizabeth Riter, Civil Engineering
Joshua Eckroth, Computer Science and Engineering
Bora Bosna, Mathematics

Social Sciences

James Collier, Communication
Monali Chowdhury, Psychology
Kristin Edwards Supe, Psychology
Szu-Hui Lee, Psychology
Leslie Wade, Psychology
Robert M. Anthony, Sociology

Samples of teaching philosophy statements from other universities:
Don Rodney Vaughan, Mississippi State University

Major Components of a Philosophy of Teaching Statement

Each statement of teaching philosophy is very personal by nature. Therefore, it should be up to instructors to decide what components to include in their own statements. However, there are a number of excellent resources to get you started with the writing process at Guidance for Writing a Philosophy of Teaching Statement.

Other Sites with Information on Philosophy of Teaching Statements

What’s Your Philosophy on Teaching, and Does it Matter? Article from The Chronicle of Higher Education
Center for Excellence in Teaching at the University of Southern California
Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching at Iowa State University
Teacher Portfolio and Preparation Series at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, Second Language Teaching and Curriculum Center (includes philosophy of teaching statements written by language teachers).


Brookfield, S. (2006). The skillful teacher. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Chism, N. V. N. (1998). Developing a philosophy of teaching statement. Essays on Teaching Excellence, 9(3), 1-2. Professional and Organizational Development Network in Higher Education.

Fuhrmann, B. S., & Grasha, A. F. (1983). A practical handbook for college teachers. Boston: Little, Brown and Company.

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

Grasha, A. F. (1996). Teaching with style: A practical guide to enhancing learning by understanding teaching and learning styles. Pittsburgh, PA: Alliance Publishers.

O’Neil, C., & Wright, A. (1993). Recording teaching accomplishment: A Dalhousie guide to the teaching dossier. (4th ed.). Halifax, Nova Scotia, CA: Dalhousie University.

Seldin, P., & Associates. (1993). Successful use of teaching portfolios. Bolton, MA: Anker.

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