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Writing a Statement of Teaching Philosophy 

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Many academic and educational jobs require applicants to submit a statement of teaching philosophy (also sometimes referred to as a teaching statement). This document outlines a teacher's beliefs about teaching and how they put those beliefs into practice in their pedagogy. 

A good teaching statement demonstrates what a teacher brings to the classroom—not only their qualifications and personality, but also specific examples of how they make their teaching align with their values. In addition to presenting a picture of what someone’s teaching looks like to a reader who’s never seen it, teaching statements also offer an opportunity for teachers to reflect and critically engage with their own pedagogy. 

So, what does a statement of teaching philosophy entail? Teaching statements should be between one to two pages in length, written in the present tense using language that gestures to a teacher’s specific discipline but avoids jargon. The more specificity, the better—good teaching statements avoid empty, generalized statements about what teachers should or shouldn’t do. Instead, they present examples of individual teachers’ practices, and how those align with that teacher’s values and beliefs about educational best practices. And in making connections between theory and practice—in other words, in giving the what, how, and why of teaching—good teaching statements also avoid simply rehashing the contents of a CV. 

In terms of content, teaching statements should outline: 

  • What beliefs and values a teacher holds regarding education, learning, and teaching 
  • What goals that teacher has for their students  
  • How that teacher implements readings, activities, discussions, assignments, etc. to help students meet those goals 
  • How that teacher evaluates and assesses student work 
  • How that teacher creates an inclusive teaching environment 

Remember that the goal of a teaching statement is to explain a teacher’s overall vision using specific examples. The document should explain what a teacher believes, what a teacher does, as well as why their actions reflect what they believe.

In other words, a statement of teaching philosophy should ground pedagogical action in values—and explain how values contribute to pedagogy. For example, a teacher should explain how their goals for students, activities, and assessment methods reflect their values and contribute to an inclusive classroom. Making these connections will justify a teacher’s beliefs and practices to their colleagues and potential employers—and writing a statement of teaching philosophy can help teachers better understand those beliefs and practices themselves.  

Looking for more on teaching statements? For a detailed breakdown of how to address these and other points, including examples of Dos and Don’ts and tips for making your teaching statement stand out, check out our Statement of Teaching Philosophy presentation