Teaching Philosophy Statement: Definition & Examples

Instructor: Clio Stearns

Clio has taught education courses at the college level and has a Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction.

Often, teaching job applications will ask you to include a statement of philosophy. This lesson will explain what a teaching philosophy is and offer you some examples of how to go about writing one.

What Is a Teaching Philosophy?

Have you ever applied for a teaching job that has asked to see a statement of your philosophy? Your future supervisor wants to know what your core beliefs and values are when it comes to teaching and learning. It can be confusing to figure out where to begin when writing your teaching philosophy, but the process of putting one together can also be educational and illuminating. When you write your teaching philosophy, you are compiling a description of the things you hold to be most theoretically important about teaching.

While your teaching philosophy does not need to describe your techniques for classroom management or your strategies for planning curriculum, it does need to express what underlies your construction of these procedures. What do you hold to be true about teaching? What are your most fundamental beliefs, and what do you care about when you define what teaching is to you?

In terms of formatting, a teaching philosophy statement is rarely longer than one page and can be as short as a meaty paragraph. It can be written from the first person and need not include direct citations. Your philosophy statement does not include anecdotes or even evidence to back up your beliefs, though an interviewer may ask you to elaborate. Rather, your teaching philosophy states and briefly explains what you believe in clear but general terms.

Examples of a Teaching Philosophy Statement

The examples in this section are not meant to take the place of your personal philosophy, since of course no one but you can articulate your particular belief system. However, these paragraphs give you some examples of how an excerpt from a teaching philosophy might sound.

Elementary School Teaching Philosophy Excerpt

My strongest belief as an elementary school teacher is that all children are capable of learning, and it is the job of the teacher to get to know children as whole individuals so as to facilitate their growth. I maintain that children all have unique attributes including strengths and areas of struggles. If I as a teacher can learn about their strengths, then I can draw upon these strengths to help them when they struggle. I also believe that cooperative learning is often the best way for children to grow. By learning to work alongside one another, children come to understand what it means to be part of an intellectual community. They also learn to take themselves seriously as thinkers and workers.

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