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Teaching & Learning Center

Personal Teaching Philosophy

DUE:  IN STAGES

Based on your experiences in learning and teaching, both from your own career as a student and teacher and from our discussions in Principles of College Teaching, you are to think about and write your own personal philosophy of teaching.

The philosophy must reflect your viewpoint, your basic theories about learning and teaching. You may certainly borrow and adapt ideas from others ... just be sure to credit them when that seems appropriate.  Take your time with this.  You will be submitting three different versions during several weeks during the semester.  

For yourself: (Due: February 17th) You will  begin with an introspective teaching philosophy -- by describing in detail the general ideas and concepts you want to include in your own teaching philosophy. At this stage, it's best to include more ideas than you may actually use in a version written for others to read.  In other words, do not begin by limiting yourself.  We will give you written feedback, ask questions, make suggestions -- which you may decide to incorporate or not.  There is no page requirement for the philosophy for yourself, but we expect you to put thought and effort into your description of you philosophy. This is your personal teaching philosophy, so take pride in it and please be sure to be descriptive so that we can understand where you are coming from as a teacher.     

For colleagues: (Due: March 5th) The second version is prepared for your professional colleagues.  This statement of your personal teaching philosophy should be a more polished document that you might share as part of a job application, for example. When writing this version of your teaching philosophy, remember to address the "8 Pitfalls of a Teaching Philosophy Statement" that we discussed during class (this is part of how you will be graded for this assignment). We will ask you to share your philosophies with each other and provide each other with pertinent feedback. You will have a chance to read what others write in their personal teaching philosophies and will have the benefit of reactions from your peers. You may decide to incorporate others' feedback or not. 

For students: (Due: April 7th)  The third version is one that could be shared with students on a course web site or a course syllabus. This version has to be in language that students will understand, and it probably will be different in emphasis from the colleague version. It may also be a lot shorter. Students will not spend much time reading your teaching philosophy, even if they would learn a lot about you as a teacher if they did. You will also get feedback from your classmates about this version and have the opportunity to revise.

Class Discussion:  Finally we'll spend some time in class considering what you have learned from writing all of these versions of you own teaching philosophy.