University of Minnesota
Office of Human Resources
http://www.umn.edu/ohr
612-625-2016

Prompts for Starting Your Teaching Philosophy

Other questions you might consider when developing your teaching philosophy:

  • Why is teaching important to me?
  • What do you fundamentally believe about how people learn?
  • What do you think "good teaching" (teaching that promotes learning) is?
  • What resonates with your experience as a student?
  • How do you maintain positive relationships with your students and colleagues?
  • If you have taught, what resonates with your experience as a teacher?
  • How does this connect to your basic beliefs about learning?
  • How does what you believe about good teaching enhance, resonate with, or flow from the basic content, theory and skills required for learning in your discipline?
  • What does good teaching look like in practice, i.e., what do you do in and out of the classroom to make it happen?
  • How would your students describe your teaching?
  • How do you assess student learning?
  • How do you assess your teaching effectiveness?
  • How have you modified your teaching in response to student feedback?
  • How do you put your philosophy of teaching into practice?
  • What metaphor would best describe your teaching?
  • What is a method of teaching you rely on frequently? Why don't you use another method? Imagine what would happen if you changed. What does this tell you about the outcome of your teaching?
  • How would you describe the ideal outcome of your teaching in terms of a student's behavior? What should the student know or be able to do? How does this tie specifically to your discipline?
  • What do you feel you need to change in how you teach? What difference will this make? Could you express this in terms of desired outcomes, then re-express this in terms of underlying values?
  • What makes you feel good about teaching? What gives you reward? What are the reasons behind the feelings?
  • As a Teaching Philosophy written for hiring purposes, how will you tie your philosophy directly to your discipline by the second paragraph?