Teaching Philosophy

What is Your Teaching Philosophy?

Image of roots from a deciduous tree exposed and attached to an open book below

A teaching philosophy statement is “a systematic and critical rationale that focuses on the important components defining effective teaching and learning in a particular discipline and/or institutional context,” written in narrative form. Schonwetter et al. (2002, p. 84)

A teaching philosophy statement communicates what your fundamental values and beliefs are about teaching and learning, why you have these values and beliefs, and how you practice these values and beliefs in your everyday teaching and learning experiences. Teaching philosophy statements support your growth as an educator by providing you with an opportunity to reflect upon your teaching practice and to align your practice to your teaching philosophy. 

Teaching Philosophy Statement

A teaching philosophy statement is typically one to two pages in length. It is generally contains the following components:


How Does Learning Happen?
  • Learning Theory.
  • What occurs during an episode of learning?
  • Summarize your observations about learning.


What is Quality Teaching?
  • How do you facilitate the learning process?
  • What is the role of the teacher in a 21st century classroom?
  • What is the teacher’s role regarding content, assessment and feedback?


How Will You Foster Student Growth?
  • Goals for students: by the end of the semester, in their careers, in their lives, etc.?
  • How will you foster lifelong learning?
  • How will you motivate students?


What Will You Put Your Teaching Philosophy Into Practice?
  • What actions will you take to put your teaching philosophy into practice?
  • How have you put your teaching philosophy into practice in your classroom?


What Is Your Personal Growth Plan?
  • What professional development are you interested in? Why?
  • How will you continue to grow as an educator?

Teaching philosophy statements evolve over time – the more you teach and engage in professional development activities, the more your philosophy will mature.  communicate personal beliefs of teaching and learning; demonstrate a connection to scholarly research and literature in higher education; and show a clear commitment to continual improvement. No matter what your experience in higher education is, preparing a teaching philosophy statement can be an enlightening experience that provides direction, meaning and purpose to your teaching and learning experiences.

Identifying & Exploring Views & Perceptions About Teaching

Interested in exploring your teaching philosophy some more? Check out the Teaching Perspectives Inventory (TPI), a 45-item inventory that will assess your orientation to teaching. Once you have answered the TPI questions, you can save and print your results. 

The TPI is the result of two decades of research in several countries, including Canada. Through the interviewing of hundreds of teachers, five qualitatively different perspectives on teaching emerged and formed the foundation of the TPI (Source). 

The inventory can also help you clarify your ideas when drafting a Statement of Teaching Philosophy, to assist with applying to faculty positions at Cambrian College. 

Tool for Creating a Teaching Philosophy

Check out the Teaching Advantage’s philosophy of teaching app which helps you build your teaching philosophy from scratch.