Teaching and Learning Philosophy

Personal beliefs, values and understanding about effective teaching and learning influence how a course is designed.

On this page:

The importance of a teaching and learning philosophy

Your beliefs about teaching and learning influence many of the decisions you make as an instructor. Defining your philosophy helps you make thoughtful choices about how you design and teach your courses. For example, if you believe that students learn by building on prior knowledge and collaborating with others then you may want more small group discussions and team-based activities than instructor-led lectures. Having a clear understanding of who you are as an instructor and your preferred approaches and strategies will have profound impacts on how you design your course and how your students learn.

Preparing your teaching and learning philosophy

In general, the process for preparing a TLP will consist of the following:

  • Read examples of exemplar statements for structure, tone, and composition.
  • Review TLP components using a quality rubric.
  • Reflect on important factors such as your understanding of teaching practices and learning processes, as well examples of how you have implemented these beliefs.
  • Draft sections of your statement.

Writing your teaching and learning philosophy

1. Prepare your TLP by reviewing available resources.

a. Teaching Perspectives Inventory: a question inventory to help you understand your perspectives on teaching

b. Teaching Philosophies: examples by discipline (University of Michigan)

2. Draft your teaching and learning philosophy statement.

a. How to write your philosophy of education statement: prompting questions and statement stems to begin writing (University of Colorado, Boulder)

b. Guidance on writing a philosophy of teaching statement: review of components to include in your TLP (The Ohio State University)

3. Use a quality rubric to analyze your statement.

a. Rubric for composing and evaluating a statement of teaching philosophy. (University of Michigan)

b. Rubrics and Samples: includes a variety of rubrics (University of Minnesota)

4. Revise your TLP as needed and ask a colleague for feedback, if applicable.

Additional resources

Offers guidance to develop your statement, components to use, and examples (Western University)

Help with generating ideas and writing your draft (University of Minnesota)

Next steps

Now that you have thought more about and articulated your beliefs about teaching and learning, the next step is to determine learning outcomes for your course.