Beliefs and values about effective teaching and how learning occurs shape the way a course is designed.
A teaching and learning philosophy (TLP) statement is a reflective narrative that conveys your beliefs and approach to teaching and learning. It may include your purpose as an instructor, learning goals for your students, your approach to continuous improvement and your teaching and assessment methods. It can also describe how your teaching makes a difference in the lives of your students.
Whether you articulate them or not, your beliefs about teaching and learning influence many of the choices you make as an instructor. Defining your philosophy helps you to make thoughtful choices about how you approach teaching. For example, if you believe that students learn by building on prior knowledge and collaborating with each other then you may want more small group discussions and team-based activities than instructor-led lectures.
A TLP will often be required when applying for teaching jobs or tenure applications. When building a teaching portfolio, it will be the foundational document that unifies the other parts.
An effective TLP statement communicates that you are knowledgeable, reflective, able, purposeful and ultimately effective. It should offer evidence of practice, be reflective, show a student/learning-centered approach and be clear and well-written.
The statement should include the following elements:
Your beliefs about teaching come from a variety of influences such as how you were taught as a student and how you felt about that approach. They are also influenced by the knowledge in your field and what you believe is the best way to learn this type of content. The following writing prompts may help you to elicit your personal philosophy.
The following are several excellent resources to help guide you through the process of creating your own statement.
For further information about teaching and learning philosophy statements, see the following readings.