Teaching Philosophy

What is a Philosophy of Teaching Statement, and Why is it Important?

Philosophy of teaching statements are concise statements of what you believe about the teaching and learning of languages or literature, and possibly also about education in general. Most sources recommend that you keep your teaching philosophy statement between one and two pages in length, covering what you believe, why, and brief examples of how you implement it in the classroom.

While a statement of your philosophy of teaching is an important item to include in your teacher portfolio, it also serves a much more important role. It guides and informs you as you prepare other portfolio items, it helps you prepare for a job interview, and it helps you to ensure that you are consistent in the way you answer job interview questions.


Philosophy of teaching statements – “Let the brainstorming begin!”  (revised 2016)


Bullock, Ann Adams, & Hawk, Parmalee P. (2001). Developing a teaching portfolio: A guide for preservice and practicing teachers. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Merrill Prentice Hall.

Murray, John P. (1997). Successful faculty development and evaluation: The complete teaching portfolio. Washington, DC : Graduate School of Education and Human Development, George Washington University.

Schönwetter, Dieter. J., Sokal, L., Friesen, M., and Taylor, K. L. (2002). Teaching philosophies reconsidered: A conceptual model for the development and evaluation of teaching philosophy statements. The International Journal for Academic Development, 7(1), 83 – 97.

Seldin, Peter (1991). Teaching portfolio: A practical guide to improved performance and promotion/tenure decisions. Bolton, MA : Anker Pub. Co.

Vick, J. M., Furlong, J. S., & Lurie, R. (2016). The academic job search handbook. Philadelphia, PA: University of Pennsylvania Press. [This excellent book is available online for University of Hawaii at Mānoa faculty, staff, and students.]


Teaching Statements, Vanderbilt University Center for Teaching.

A useful website that provides guidelines and strategies to help you write your philosophy of teaching statement.

Montell, G. (2003). How to Write a Statement of Teaching Philosophy.

A handy article from the Chronicle of Higher Education.

Office of Faculty and TA Development, The Ohio State University. Writing a philosophy of teaching statement.

This site takes a comprehensive look at a philosophy of teaching, including definitions, the purpose of developing a philosophy statement, common major components, different ways of developing a statement, and benefits of having put one together. It also gives a number of sample statements. The authors try to provide multiple perspectives on the topic, as well.

Chism, Nancy Van Note (1998). Developing a philosophy of teaching statement.

This article on developing a teaching philosophy statement is often cited on other sites. A concise guide to the task of writing your statement.

Center for Teaching Excellence in Learning & Teaching, Iowa State University. Writing a teaching philosophy statement.


The websites that follow were found via an internet search and are designed for you to review and learn from. As you look at some of these statements, here are a few things to look for:

  • Do you get a clear idea about this person as a teacher?
  • Do you get a clear idea about what the teacher believes about learning? About teaching?
  • Do aspects of teaching that are not included feel like they were omitted as a result of informed choices or as a result of a careless oversight that you feel should be rectified?
  • Are there examples of how the teachers implement their philosophy?

Examples of OSU Graduate Associate Teaching Award winners (philosophy of teaching statements)


For those of you needing to write a philosophy of research statement, here are some helpful resources:

Research Statement, Duke University

Writing Your Research Statement, Cornell University

Sample Teaching and Research Statements, Career Services, University of Pennsylvania

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.