By Cooper Nelson
A teaching philosophy statement identifies your beliefs about teaching and learning.
Creating a teaching philosophy statement offers a chance to reflect on your classroom experiences and articulate your beliefs based on your observations.
Teaching philosophies map to educational learning theories such as constructivism, behaviorism, humanism and critical pedagogy. These learning theories provide a framework for understanding, interacting, and making sense of human behavior with regard to learning. They also influence how teachers instruct students.
A strong teaching philosophy statement can help a teacher become more effective by helping to identify what works and what doesn’t while providing a logical framework for adjusting an approach. It also provides a concise description of your professional approach to education to share with students, parents and colleagues.
A teaching philosophy should include the following components:
Let’s explore these elements in depth so you can create your own teaching philosophy statement.
Beliefs about teaching and learning belong in a teaching philosophy statement because they are the foundation of how you approach your work as a teacher. When you teach, it’s important to know what you’d like your student outcomes to be and whether they’re realistic for your students.
Teaching isn’t just about imparting knowledge; it’s about leading and helping students learn how to learn. This means understanding where they’re coming from and what they need moving forward. That knowledge can then guide you in planning and instruction.
A good teaching philosophy will help you stay focused on what’s most important in the classroom: students’ learning experiences.
A teacher’s philosophy statement is a chance to showcase an instructor’s preferred teaching methods — and there are numerous teaching methods.
The most common is direct instruction, when instruction is mostly teacher-lead. Lecturing, one form of direct instruction, allows students to focus on processing information without the distraction of having to contribute, collaborate, question or challenge. Done too often or too poorly, however, and a lecture can become a dull experience that loses students’ attention.
Another common teaching method is project-based learning, when students work together to learn about a subject. This method encourages collaboration among peers and provides hands-on experience with real-world problems. The drawback? Students who lack strong research skills or who work better on their own may fail to learn essential lessons or skills.
Additionally, some teachers combine methods, such as lecture and discussion groups with hands-on activities sprinkled throughout the day. This method ideally allows students to experience the benefits of both types of instruction while mitigating the drawbacks. The trick is knowing which method to use and when for maximum efficacy.
One of the most important things a teaching philosophy addresses is the need to help students develop a love for learning. Stating how you approach this goal is a great way to describe your teaching methods and creativity.
Another goal may be to help students become critical thinkers. Critical thinking involves analyzing information and coming up with conclusions based on what you’ve learned. Critical thinking is an essential skill students use throughout their lives to make well-informed decisions.
Finally, another goal might be to help students learn how to read critically. Critical reading means more than just reading words — it’s asking questions about what the author is saying, and it involves thinking about other ways of interpreting what’s written.
It’s important to have a clear vision for your teaching philosophy and to be able to share it with others. Here are some resources where you can find examples of teaching philosophy statements:
Online education programs and master’s degree programs in education help teachers develop their teaching philosophy by allowing them to learn from mentors who have experience in crafting such statements.
These programs also provide opportunities for students to explore new ideas and reflect on their experiences relating to educational practices.
A teaching philosophy statement is an important part of applying for most teaching jobs. A good philosophy statement will show the interviewer that you have thought carefully about your teaching style and what you hope to bring to the classroom. Here are some tips for writing a successful one.
Teaching philosophy statements are personal and should be powerful. Do not copy anyone else’s but do use the following as a jumping-off point for how to craft your own.
As a teacher, your greatest asset is your ability to connect with your students. Keep this in mind as you write your teaching philosophy statement. Put your students at the center of your statement — they are unique individuals who deserve respect and every effort to help them succeed.
Writing a teaching philosophy statement can be challenging. It’s hard to distill your beliefs and values into just a few sentences. Keep the following key things in mind to help make the process easier.
When writing your teaching philosophy statement, be genuine. Communicate your beliefs about teaching and learning, and avoid imitating someone else’s style. Be clear and concise about those beliefs.
The best teaching philosophy statements are simple, direct and easy to understand. Avoid technical jargon, acronyms, similes and metaphors in your statement, as they might be difficult for readers to interpret.
One of the most important aspects of writing a teaching philosophy statement is to provide concrete examples to illustrate your points. Doing so makes your beliefs more relatable and easier for others to understand.
Reflect on your personal beliefs as an educator. Avoid trying to guess what you think others want you to say.
You’re not alone! The following resources are available to help you get started on your philosophy statement:
A bachelor’s or master’s degree in education may help you better understand what it means to be an educator and how to approach the challenge of teaching students. This knowledge will also give you more confidence as you write your teaching philosophy statement. If you’d like to learn more about an online degree, here are a few options University of Phoenix offers:
About University of Phoenix
As pioneers in online higher education since 1989, University of Phoenix is an accredited online university for working adults. We are proud to offer quality educational pathways through flexible, career-focused online degrees, certificates and professional development courses that fit into your life and options to save you time and money. Our students are supported every step of the way, including career services for life.
Let us help you take the most direct path to your future career goals. We’re ready when you are.
More than 100 online programs aligned to 300+ occupations.
Online courses and certificates
Explore professional development and earn credentials.
Ways to save
Learn ways you can save as you pursue your goals.