Creating your teaching philosophy

What is the value of writing a teaching philosophy? And why is a teaching philosophy required in most faculty job applications and teaching award nominations?

Even experienced teachers say that writing a teaching philosophy can be difficult. Writing a teaching philosophy would be more challenging for graduate students, most of whom have been teaching for only a year or two. So why are teaching philosophies a required part of one’s teaching career?

During my faculty career at the University of Florida, I was fortunate to teach a pedagogy course for graduate students in the College of Journalism and Communications. I really enjoyed working with the graduate students to help them develop and expand their teaching competencies and their outlook on teaching and learning.

As a major assignment for the course, the students developed a teaching portfolio to be used in applying for faculty positions. The portfolio included their created instructional materials, a syllabus, and a teaching philosophy.

As a current member of UF’s Graduate Student Teaching Awards Committee, I’m reading some very effective teaching philosophies that are part of their nomination portfolios.

Writing a teaching philosophy can help you look at the big picture

Developing a teaching philosophy can help determine how you view your students, structure your course, and present as a teacher.

Let me share a few examples from some of the candidates (and some winners) for the Graduate Student Teaching Award.

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5 resources to help you be more effective in college teaching

by Julie Dodd

A major part of Mass Communication Teaching is having each class member teach class on a topic related to teaching, such as multiple-choice testing, learning styles, and incorporating discussion into class.

McKeachie's Teaching Tips provides great advice and strategies for planning your syllabus.Each of those teaching topics is a big issue, but each teaching presentation is only 30 minutes. So a key part of developing the lesson plan is determining what are the most important aspects of the topic to talk about.

Another key part teaching class is demonstrating what we’ve been reading about in “McKeachie’s Teaching Tips” and “What the Best College Teachers Do” – which is promoting active learning and not just lecturing.

Part of the process of developing a lesson plan is doing research on your teaching topic. Here are five resources:

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