MONDAY BYTES – April 21, 2014
Working with people on their teaching philosophy statements is always fascinating because it’s typically a discovery process.
It’s all about articulating who we are as teachers–it’s through writing that we discover what we believe and who we are.
To help write an effective teaching philosophy statement, answer the following questions (from the Univ. of Michigan). Write down your answers, even if all you get are fragments of ideas.
• Why do you teach?
• What do you believe or value about teaching and student learning?
• If you had to choose a metaphor for teaching/learning, what would it be?
• How does your identity/background and your students’ identities/backgrounds affect teaching and learning in your classes?
• How do you take into account differences in student learning styles in your teaching?
• What is your approach to evaluating and assessing student learning?
By struggling with these we learn about ourselves and we typically improve our focus and effectiveness as educators.
I recently came across this from an interview with the celebrated graphic designer Milton Glaser, who has taught for many years at the School of Visual Arts in NY:
“Why do I teach? Fundamentally, I teach because it makes me feel good. It’s helped me certainly clarify my own objectives. There’s nothing more exciting than seeing someone whose life has been affected by, in a positive way, by something you’ve said. There’s nothing more exciting than seeing somebody change from a sort of condition of inertness or inattentiveness into a mind that begins to inquire about meaning. I think if you don’t do something to project into the future that way, the possibility for total self-absorption and narcissism becomes very much greater.”
- Milton Glaser
While this isn’t a formal teaching philosophy statement, it IS, however, a concise statement of Milton’s mission and motivation in teaching. Most of the teaching philosophy statements I read are nowhere near as clear and specific as this.
For help with your own statement, here are concrete suggestions and strategies, check out this helpful 12 minute video from Susan Yager at Iowa State University.
And to assess a teaching philosophy statement (yours or others’), here’s a rubric.
Consider: Think about the work you’ll do this week, teaching and otherwise. What’s your motivation (beyond the pay) and what is it you want to make happen through your work? Write it down.
As always, I’m interested in your experience with any of this and your feedback!
For info on working with me: details are HERE.
Monday Bytes archived posts are HERE.
Dream big, Plan smart, Live well!