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Teaching Portfolios

Writing a Teaching Statement

The teaching statement, which is also sometimes called a philosophy of teaching statement, can be seen as the executive summary of your portfolio.  In 1-2 pages, you can give the reader a sense of your goals in teaching, the strategies and methods you use to reach those goals, and how you assess the effectiveness of your teaching.  A statement should also give the reader a glimpse of who you are as a teacher and what it would be like to be in your classroom.

For promotion and tenure review at Otterbein, they suggest responding to questions such as:  

  • What  does  the  documentation  gathered  reveal  about  the  faculty member’s  goals  and  values  as  a  teacher?   
  • What  changes  have  been  made  in  the  faculty member’s  teaching  since  the  last  review  or  in  response  to  feedback  from  students  or colleagues?
  • What  are  the  most  important  learning  outcomes  the  faculty  member  has established for students?   
  • What are the faculty member’s future goals for teaching? 

Prompts to Get Started Writing a Teaching Philosophy Statement

Writing a philosophy from scratch can be a daunting process.  These writing exercises are intended to help you begin exploring ideas an possible approaches.  DO NOT WORRY about making these beautifully written.  They are draft ideas, explorations, experiments to help you find a way in to your philosophy.

Everyone's philosophy statement is different. Some people start with a personal narrative about an important moment they've had as a student or teacher.  Some connect their approach to teaching to skills they have from their discipline (e.g., what skills might a counselor or an extension agent bring to teaching?).  There are many, many options. 

Prompt 1: Let's begin to explore how your background (academic, personal, professional, etc.) may influence your teaching philosophy. Take a few minutes to reflect on your own background, experience, and knowledge that you bring to teaching and write a paragraph or so about that which you think is most important and/or influential to shaping who you will be as a teacher.


Prompt 2: What are the 1-3 most important things you want students to leave your courses with?  Not specific course goals, which will change from class to class, but things you want any student who takes a class from you to know, to be able to do, to care about.


Prompt 3: What are some examples of things you do as a teacher that represent the kind of teacher you are?  Are there particular assignments, teaching methods, activities that demonstrate your beliefs about teaching?

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