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7 Inspirational Sites That Can Help You Express Your Philosophy of Teaching

Usually, when new teachers graduate school and start looking for a new job, they will write up a philosophy of teaching as part of their job-hunting package. A philosophy of teaching provides prospective employers with insight into the ideals and the teaching methods they can expect from a young teacher.

However, experienced teachers can also benefit from developing their own statement of teaching philosophy. Such a philosophy can help to refocus efforts in the classroom, and it can assist with organizing a long-term plan for creating lesson plans and learning activities.

A solid philosophy of teaching is usually highly customized for the beliefs and values of the teacher, but it's also tailored for the sort of students that the teacher hopes to turn out. Ultimately, a philosophy of teaching defines what the teacher would like to accomplish through classroom activities and lessons with students.

It's an "ideal path" of learning that the teacher would like to accomplish with each and every student in the class. Defining that ideal isn't always easy for teachers - new or old alike. Such a philosophy requires deep thought and careful consideration about what's most important to the teacher, as well as what's most helpful for the students.

It should come as no surprise that the greatest inspiration for creating your own philosophy comes from higher institutions of learning.

Iowa State University

At the Iowa State University, you'll find the Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching. This is the place where new teaching students spend their time learning not only how to build lesson plans and how to write a syllabi, but also how to think a little more deeply about teaching with an actual teaching philosophy.

The Center's website features links for course planning tips, classroom discussion ideas and of course putting together a teaching statement.

philosophy of teaching
Iowa State Philosophy Statement Tips

This page of the website is a four-step process that will help you develop your own statement by answering four important questions about your teaching values, starting with what end you would like to see from your teaching efforts. The page also includes links to other resources and information on the site that can help you with putting together your thoughts.

University of Washington

The University of Washington also offers a website for writing your own teaching statement. The conclusion includes a link to "Developing a Teaching Portfolio", where you'll find a long list of valuable resources to boost your portfolio as a teacher.

philosophy of teaching
University of Washington Teaching Philosophy Tips

While the teaching statement guide is a detailed and useful tool that you can use to create your own effective statement, the website is also chock-full of resources and tools from the school's Center for Instructional Development and Research. Beyond this, if you have the budget, you can also hire on the CIDR as consultants that can help you develop your teaching portfolio and teaching statement.

If you work better with one-on-one training and in-person or over-the-phone counseling, this is definitely a good resource to consider.

Washington University in St. Louis

At a University in St. Louis, you'll find a website that also offers tips on writing a teaching philosophy statement. This guide is very extensive, including a section with four important questions to ask as inspiration to develop your own statement. The rest of the guide goes into detail about understanding the audience of your philosophy, and how to format it so that it's effective and useful.

my philosophy of teaching
University of Washington Teaching Philosophy Tips

At the end of the guide, you'll also find a long list of links and resources that you can use to dig even deeper and find some additional tips to complete your philosophy. Finding inspiration for this kind of thing can sometimes come from just exploring such resources and browsing links until you find the guide and the tips that work for you.

University of Minnesota

The University of Minnesota has a Center for Teaching and Learning that offers one of the best online resources for teachers looking for inspiration when it comes to a teaching philosophy. This area of the site is divided into six areas that will walk you through the process of creating your philosophy.

These five steps include getting started, creating your draft, assessing your draft, as well as great samples and teaching philosophy resources as well.

my philosophy of teaching
Center for Teaching and Learning

The nice thing about this website is that it's well organized, allowing you to focus in on which step you are in the process. If you're creating your first draft of a philosophy, you can follow the guides specifically created for that stage. If you're just getting started and not really sure what you want to do, use the list of samples to get some inspiration.

Faculty Focus

Faculty Focus is for people that learn more easily from articles. This site is set up more like a blog than a static guide. Read through past posts and find inspiration for your own philosophy.

my philosophy of teaching
The Faculty Focus Blog

Even better, if you want to have frequent inspiration mailed to your email inbox, just subscript to the Philosophy of Teaching RSS and receive updates every time the blog is updated.

Center for Research on Learning and Teaching

At the University of Michigan, you'll find the CRLT website, which also has an entire page devoted to developing a teaching statement. This page is set up as a series of links to helpful PDF guides, and links to examples and other resources of other teaching philosophies you can use as a framework for your own.

statement of teaching philosophy
CRLT Teaching Philosophy Website

The Teaching Philosophy page itself looks relatively simple, but once you start clicking on the links and exploring, you'll find a full library of helpful tips and guides that will have you well on your way to developing your own perfect teaching statement.

University Center for the Advancement of Teaching

The Ohio State University also has its own web page devoted to the development of a teaching philosophy. The UCAT website provides a list of links for you to navigate through, including a summary of teaching responsibilities, documenting teaching effectiveness, and of course the philosophy of teaching statement.

philosophy of teaching
UCAT Teaching Portfolio Guide

The site is essentially a full guide to develop a teaching portfolio, of which creating a philosophy is but one part. The Teaching Philosophy section is very thorough, and includes links to lots of samples from both Ohio University as well as other Universities around the United States.

As you can see, developing a teaching philosophy is an important part of being a teacher and defining the very purpose of your classroom activities, but it's also just one part in developing your entire teaching portfolio. By using these resources to develop your portfolio, you'll be able to offer your students a more focused and well-rounded learning experience, because you, yourself, will be a much more focused and well-rounded educator.

Written December 3, 2012 by Ryan Dube


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