You’ve probably never given much thought to your teaching philosophy before you were required to write a statement of teaching philosophy for a faculty application. It’s a tricky document. Unlike a CV it has no required content or set format. That being said, a successful teaching philosophy statement usually covers the following topics.
Your statement should include your teaching goals and objectives. What do you want your students to get out of taking one of your classes? A strong teaching statement will tie these goals to your discipline and clarify what good teaching looks like in your field. How does a researcher in your field think or approach topics? What essential techniques or theories do they need to understand? You should show how your teaching helps your students to start thinking like a scholar of your discipline.
You should also include your teaching methods and strategies. Go through how you teach using specific examples from your previous courses. What are your favourite learning activities? How do you evaluate your students? Consider the university’s typical class size and teaching load when choosing your examples for this section. If the job will require you to teach large, undergraduate survey courses it doesn’t make sense to discuss your approach to small, graduate seminars. Look at what courses the department offers and make sure to include references to equivalent courses you have previously taught. Once you explain your approach to teaching, it’s important to also address why you teach the way you do. How do you justify your methods? Is there research that supports your approach?
The old adage “show don’t tell” applies to teaching statements too. Use specific examples that show the search committee how you teach. You should provide evidence that your teaching strategies were effective. This could include awards you have won, teaching evaluation scores, or student feedback. If you don’t have a lot of teaching experience (or experience as the primary instructor) to fill out this section, then focus on specific plans for your courses. What classes would you develop for this job and how would you teach them in an innovative way?
Like any application document, your teaching statement must be tailored to the university you’re applying to work at. It doesn't need to be long though; most teaching philosophy statements are no more than two pages.