Teaching and Learning Philosophy Essay
Educators have fundamental beliefs that form the basis of their understanding of student-centered teaching goals, methods, and theoretical underpinnings of teaching and learning. According to Wesner et al. (2016), a teaching philosophy entails a “constantly evolving, reflective document” that allows current or future educators to identify their beliefs regarding teaching and learning, set student-centered teaching objectives and goals, and elaborate approaches for personal development. Delton et al. (2017) argue that the teaching and learning philosophy statement is one of the significant components of educators’ portfolios. Therefore, educators should understand various requirements and thresholds for developing a personal learning and education philosophy.
As a psychology educator, various concepts would inform my teaching and learning philosophy. These concepts are the theoretical underpinnings of my philosophy, role description, balancing teacher-as-dictator and teacher-as-facilitator concept, classroom dynamics, teaching style, student motivation, and collaborative efforts. These components of a teaching philosophy statement apply to teaching and learning levels, including pedagogy and andragogy.
Theoretical Underpinnings of a Personal Teaching and Education Philosophy
Teaching and learning processes obtain insights from many theoretical premises that explain how learners acquire, comprehend, retain, and analyze information regarding learned concepts. For example, my teaching philosophy for adult learners should obtain insights from Malcolm Knowles’ andragogical principles that present adult learners as self-motivated, experienced, and willing to learn through a self-directed learning approach (Loeng, 2018). It is essential to note that understanding the theoretical underpinnings of personal teaching is a profound strategy for informing the selection of teaching/learning methods and developing learner-centered instructions.
As an educator, I must understand my role in contributing to learners’ knowledge and the comprehension of learned concepts. Therefore, my role and responsibilities are imperative alongside learners to set strategic objectives for enhancing the teaching and learning processes (Swart, 2018). At this stage, educators can briefly explain their fundamental beliefs regarding teaching and the preferred approaches to achieve strategic goals. Further, describing the role of learners can form the basis of assessing their knowledge, strengths, and areas of improvement. Therefore, it is essential to consider when writing a personal teaching and learning philosophy statement.
Teacher-as-Dictator vs. Teacher-as-Facilitator
In the current teaching and learning landscapes, educators are responsible for developing conducive learning environments for highly-diverse learners. The determination to address learning disparities and inequalities prompts educators to adopt more interactive teaching methods to create equal chances for participation. Effective and participative relationships between teachers and learners narrow down to the perception that teachers can be dictators or facilitators (Lee & Kim, 2017). When writing a personal teaching philosophy statement, you must include your view on discipline, openness to negotiation, and the level of interactions you would prefer to cultivate with learners. This concept is essential in providing information regarding personal profound beliefs and standpoints about collaborative learning.
A personal teaching philosophy statement should indicate individual awareness of class dynamics and atmosphere. The concepts of class atmosphere and dynamics include learners’ strengths, educational needs, and knowledge development opportunities. Also, the statement should indicate that an educator develops a rapport with learners based on meaningful interactions. As a result, this concept can enable educators to articulate their goals and set priorities for their classes and learners.
Learners’ motivation is essential when writing a personal teaching philosophy statement. As a psychology educator, I am responsible for understanding the sources of inspiration for my learners. Although Malcolm Knowles’ andragogy theory presents adult learners as self-motivated, experienced, and self-directed, it is vital to consider interventions stimulating their desire to learn. I believe this concept consistently improved knowledge acquisition and the learner’s willingness to learn.
Another profound element of personal teaching philosophy is teaching strategies. Educators should explain these teaching methods and materials choices consistent with learners’ characteristics. These strategies should include articulating practices, teaching style, instructional techniques, performance assessment, evaluation, and desired outcomes of these approaches. I believe this concept is the basis of educators’ teaching philosophy statements because it elaborates on sharing knowledge with learners, assessing their degrees of knowledge acquisition, and improving their learning experiences.
Collaborative and Inclusive Learning Environment
The rubric for composing and evaluating a statement of teaching philosophy requires educators to portray coherence when elaborating strategies for creating inclusive and collaborative learning environments. At this point, it is essential to demonstrate awareness of equity issues and sensitivity to learners’ diversity. Livingston-Gollaway & George (2020) suggest some options when developing an inclusive and collaborative andragogical learning environment, including problem-based, reciprocal, resource-based, and jigsaw models. These strategies promote peer group learning, critical thinking, and information literacy.
What changes will I make in personal learning endeavors based on what I learned in class?
Throughout the class lessons, I have learned multiple concepts regarding adult learning, including assumptions and instructional and learning methods. Examples of assumptions of adult learning are self-concept, role experience, readiness to learn, orientation, and Internal motivation (Bengo, 2020). Regarding ideal instructional methods for adults, I realized that educators could use active learning strategies such as small group discussions, case studies, laboratory tests, self-directed learning, debates, practicum, and case studies to Improve learners’ ability to acquire knowledge.
As an adult learner, understanding these instructional methods and learning approaches forms the basis of personal development and improvement in my learning endeavors. For instance, I will change various aspects of my learning styles regarding instructional methods and learning approaches. Firstly, I will emphasize active learning strategies, such as group discussion and technology-mediated learning approaches.
Secondly, I will shift from the traditional learning approaches, such as relying on educators’ materials, in favor of learning interventions like self-driven and problem-based. Finally, I will endeavor to incorporate aspects of higher-order thinking to enhance my cognition, critical thinking, evaluation, and reasoning skills. These changes are consistent with the determination to promote personal and professional development.
What are questions or issues related to adult learning, active learning approaches, or Higher-Order thinking?
Although adult learning theory, active learning approaches, and higher-order learning support critical thinking, problem-based, and experience-oriented learning, many issues manifest when ascertaining these strategies’ effectiveness. Examples of concerns that hamper andragogical theories’ effectiveness are time constraints and financial barriers. In this sense, it is vital to consider how adult learners balance work, studies, and family commitments. Does adult learning complicate an individual’s capacity to balance family life and work?
When considering the plausibility of active learning in improving knowledge acquisition for adult learners, the key concerns are the lack of a focal point and multiple distractions that can compromise their learning activities. For instance, they require educators to be the focal points during class discussions and avoid distractions.
Finally, the higher-order learning approach supports reflection, self-regulation, critical thinking, information synthesis, and applications. At this point, it is possible to introduce time constraints and a lack of motivation as the significant issues that compromise the effectiveness of this teaching and learning approach (Ainin, 2021). Andragogical educators are responsible for understanding these concerns and developing measures to improve the applicability of the three aspects of learning and teaching.
Ainin, Moh. (2021). Challenges in applying higher order thinking skills assessment in the teaching of Arabic in Indonesia. KnE Social Sciences, 413–420. https://doi.org/10.18502/kss.v5i3.8564
Bengo, N. M. de A. (2020). Managing instructional strategies in classrooms with adult learners. The Journal of Continuing Higher Education, 68(2), 71–83. https://doi.org/10.1080/07377363.2020.1712578
Dalton, C. L., Wilson, A., & Agius, S. (2017). Twelve tips on how to compile a medical educator’s portfolio. Medical Teacher, 40(2), 140–145. https://doi.org/10.1080/0142159x.2017.1369502
Lee, J.-A., & Kim, C.-J. (2017). Teaching and learning science in authoritative classrooms: Teachers’ power and students’ approval in Korean elementary classrooms. Research in Science Education. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11165-017-9659-6
Liu, J., Ma, Y., Sun, X., Zhu, Z., & Xu, Y. (2021). A systematic review of higher-order thinking by visualizing its structure through Histcite and Citespace software. The Asia-Pacific Education Researcher. https://doi.org/10.1007/s40299-021-00614-5
Livingston-Galloway, M. & George, J. (2020). A theoretical perspective of culturally responsive andragogy for international English learners in American higher education institutions. Journal of the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning for Christians in Higher Education, 10(1), 35-52. https://digitalshowcase.oru.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1070&context=sotl_ched
Loeng, S. (2018). Various ways of understanding the concept of andragogy. Cogent Education, 5(1), 1–15. https://doi.org/10.1080/2331186x.2018.1496643
Swart, A. J. (2018). Developing a comprehensive teaching portfolio — A scholarly personal narrative. 2018 IEEE Global Engineering Education Conference (EDUCON). https://doi.org/10.1109/educon.2018.8363204
Wesner, A., Jones, R., Schultz, K., & Johnson, M. (2016). Impact of the use of a standardized guidance tool on the development of teaching philosophy in a pharmacy residency teaching and learning curriculum program. Pharmacy, 4(1), 9. https://doi.org/10.3390/pharmacy4010009
Teaching and Learning Philosophy Essay Week 8 DB
Do a fairly quick review of the main topics of the class and the core content from the readings. Then, answer the following. Use APA headings and in-text citations using the class content as support.
If you were developing your own philosophy of teaching/learning, what did you learn from the class readings that would most inform your philosophy? Incorporate elements of higher-order thought in your response, which should be at a doctoral level depth of reflection. Elaborate on 7-10 specific concepts. Why did you choose those concepts?
What changes will you make in your own learning endeavors based on what you learned in class? Again, draw broadly from the class sources in a way that indicates a solid understanding of class content.
What questions or issues were raised in your mind related to adult learning theory, active learning approaches, or higher-order thinking?
The teaching philosophy (or teaching statement) is becoming a more common part of academic life for both faculty and graduate students. Graduate students report that colleges and universities often request statements from applicants for faculty positions. Faculty at an increasing number of institutions must develop a teaching statement as they approach tenure and promotion. Instructors at all levels find that writing their statement helps them develop as teachers, since it entails making their implicit views on teaching and student learning explicit and comparing those views to actual teaching practice.
Please also see:
- Teaching Portfolios and Course Portfolios
- Schedule a CRLT consultation about your teaching philosophy & statement
RESOURCES FROM PEER INSTITUTIONS
The Ohio State University
- Teaching Portfolio Development Guide (The page includes purpose of teaching portfolio, getting started, content to include, and narrative components)
- Writing a Philosophy of Teaching Statement (The page includes descriptions, purpose, major components, and examples across disciplines)
University of Iowa
- Components of a Teaching Philosophy Statement (Link to PDF)
- Teaching Philosophy Checklist
- Teaching Philosophy Rubric
- The Job Market offers descriptions, recommendations and goals of teaching statements for current and future faculty. Includes links and exercises to help readers reflect upon their teaching philosophy.
- Tip sheet: Instructions for a Teaching Statement Peer Review Workshop (Google Doc)
- James M. Lang, “4 Steps to a Memorable Teaching Philosophy,” The Chronicle of Higher Education (29 August 2010)
University of Saskatchewan
University of Minnesota
FURTHER READING ON TEACHING STATEMENTS
- Corrall, Sheila (2017) Developing a Teaching Philosophy Statement. In: Workshop on Developing a Teaching Philosophy Statement, 19 June 2017 – 19 June 2017, Technological Higher Education Association (THEA), Dublin, Ireland.
- Dalton, C. L., Wilson, A., & Agius, S. (2018). Twelve tips on how to compile a medical educator’s portfolio. Medical teacher, 40(2), 140-145. https://doi.org/10.1080/0142159X.2017.1369502
- Grundman, H. G. (2006). Writing a teaching philosophy statement. Notices of the AMS (PDF), 53(11), 1329-1333.
- Hegarty, N. C., & Silliman, B. R. (2016). How to approach teaching philosophy statements as career mission statements. Journal of Business and Educational Leadership, 6(1), 103.
- Montell, Gabriela (2003). How to Write a Statement of Teaching Philosophy (PDF), from the Chronicle Manage Your Career section of the Chronicle of Higher Education.
- Swart, Arthur James. “Developing a comprehensive teaching portfolio—A scholarly personal narrative.” In Global Engineering Education Conference (EDUCON), 2018 IEEE, pp. 26-31. IEEE, 2018. https://doi.org/10.1109/EDUCON.2018.8363204
- Wesner, A. R., Jones, R., Schultz, K., & Johnson, M. (2016). Impact of the Use of a Standardized Guidance Tool on the Development of a Teaching Philosophy in a Pharmacy Residency Teaching and Learning Curriculum Program. Pharmacy, 4(1), 9. https://doi.org/10.3390/pharmacy4010009
RESOURCES ON WRITING A DIVERSITY STATEMENT
Along with teaching statements, many colleges and universities now consider diversity statements during faculty hiring and promotion. As this practice becomes more commonplace, we offer a selection of resources to help guide professionals interested in writing and improving their own statements on diversity.
- University of Michigan Rackham Graduate School workshop: Writing a Diversity Statement (see Rackham website)
- Golash-Boza, Tanya (June 10, 2016). The Effective Diversity Statement. Inside Higher Ed.
- Reyes, Victoria (January 25, 2018). Demystifying the Diversity Statement. Inside Higher Ed.
- Schmaling, K. B., Baker, D. L., Blume, A. W., & Trevino, A. Y. (2018). Applicant responses to diversity selection criteria in academic staff position descriptions. Journal of Higher Education Policy and Management, 1-16.
- UC San Diego Center for Faculty Diversity and Inclusion. Contributions to Diversity Statements
Further Reading on Integration of Faith and Learning
My teaching philosophy embodies my faith, learning experiences, and teaching beliefs. Cognitive Development Theory, Conceptual Level Theory, Deliberate Psychological Development (DPD) and Integration of Faith and Learning provide the framework. As a Christian and counselor educator, I believe my role in the learning environment extends beyond transmitting knowledge to mentoring and disciplining. Subsequently, I believe my role as a Christian educator is to create an empathic and nurturing environment that facilitates the holistic development of students through harmonious integration of faith and learning, critical thinking, creativity, collaborative risk-taking, and student empowerment.
Generally, leading human sciences courses at the graduate and college level involves teaching theories, facilitating independent thinking, and promoting professional development. It emphasizes a conceptual shift resulting from psychological and cognitive development. Thus, students need a complex cognitive structure to organize volumes of information into a comprehensive, integrated, differentiated, and meaningful explanation to solve societal problem. Moreover, the learning process is fundamentally self-directed and extremely collaborative. Furthermore, the research shows psychological growth leads to cognitive development, which is the consequence of cognitive structures (Sprinthall, Peace, & Kennington 2001).
However, cognitive structures evolve along a hierarchy, from a less complex to a more complex structure. Thus, cognitive transitions occur when new concepts are integrated into existing cognitive framework. Following this understanding, I facilitate students’ exposure to new information, critical examination of the merits of the new information, information-processing skills development, and creativity to enhance their integration of faith and learning experiences.
Thus, I encourage students’ freedom of choice for learning goals, content and process. In doing this, I focus on establishing an environment conducive to learning, creating collaborative systems for planning syllabi, assessing and identifying students’ learning needs. In addition, I collaborate with students to formulate interventions to meet their learning needs. These design patterns of learning experiences reflect the disparate learning styles of students, and implement these learning experiences with suitable techniques and materials. I conclude the process of evaluating the learning outcomes and re-diagnosing students’ learning needs based on the various learning style.
Also, Dewey (1956) posited that students learn better when educators are able to incorporate ecological experiences that resonate with them into the course content. I strive to understand students’ learning experience from a broader context, including multicultural context, and incorporate it into my interaction with them. Taken together, these theories help me facilitate scholarly and professional development by constructing a learning environment that supports and challenges students.
As part of my approach to creating a learning environment, I start a new class with a mini-performance assessment and information-gathering exercise. In the performance assessment, I provide students with various scenarios related to the course. Students provide answers based on their existing knowledge about the course. This assessment exercise combined with an information gathering exercise—including their life experiences, career goals, learning style, cultural background and significant cultural experiences—helps me understand students from a broader context.
It also helps me identify students who may need a structured learning environment and those who may not. Additionally, I have observed that when students perceive the professor as approachable, available to answer questions, and genuinely invested in their academic and personal success, they tend to pursue their learning with enthusiasm, and their development is pronounced. As a result, I strive to be student-focused, competent, flexible, and aware of the uniqueness amongst my students, including cultural differences.
Culture and Diversity Issues
As cultural beings, students often hold attitudes and beliefs that can detrimentally affect their perceptions of and interactions with individuals or clients who are ethnically and racially different from them. However, as the multicultural literature suggests, when educators deliberately model cultural sensitivity in the classroom, students feel safe and comfortable to talk to about cultural and diversity issues (Aasheim, 2009).
Therefore, I encourage students’ multicultural awareness by challenging students to confront their cultural biases at the front end of the learning relationship. For example, I start my first class session by sharing my personal cultural experiences, biases, and spiritual struggles. In doing this, I focus on critical multicultural sensitivity/responsiveness issues and how to deal with them.
This exercise often allays the discomforts of students in sharing their own multicultural experiences. Throughout the course, I also encourage students to consider every case from a diverse cultural and biblical lens. This approach challenges students to think beyond their preexisting knowledge and beliefs, which often enriches class discussions.
Instructional Planning & Assessment
At the core of the teaching process is curriculum and instructional planning. From the DPD model, active learning engenders students’ growth and cognitive development. Moreover, active learning involves a curriculum that emphasizes experiential learning, critical thinking and critical reflection (Sprinthall, 1978). The DPE model outlines five elements of instructional planning: role-playing, guided reflection, balance, support and challenge, and continuity.
My teaching approach emphasized role-play, peer-to-peer feedback, educator-student feedback, and guided reflection. My approach also emphasizes weekly reflective journal posting that highlights students’ learning experience. Along with this, I use a variety of small and large group discussion formats, including think-pair-share activities, jigsaw groups, fishbowl, and concentric circles, to enhance students’ critical reflection processes. During my co-teaching experience, I observed that these activities significantly promote critical thinking and case conceptualization as noted by many of my students.
Fostering critical thinking skills involves engaging students in new ways of thinking and feeling that often create cognitive disequilibrium. I have observed that providing the appropriate amount of support and challenge is essential. This requires the ability to quickly and creatively adjust to the disparate learning style of students (Lucas & Marry, 2002). Also, I have learned from my teaching supervisors not to overemphasize grades but adopt a flexible grading approach.
Thus, offering students different ways to demonstrate course material comprehension helps accommodate the different learning styles of students. In other words, I will ensure students understand course objectives and expectations by providing rubrics to aid students’ writing exercises and class presentations, distributing them to students, and promptly posting grades with detailed feedback.
Research shows that people behave differently when they are in a group (Diana, 2000). My approach to classroom management depends on the students. However, I lean towards minimum to low control classroom management protocol (Diana, 2000). Thus, I want a classroom where I am both a facilitator and a member. I want to foster students’ ability to take responsibility for their actions and learn how to manage their own classroom learning in the future (McKeachie, 2011).
As a new educator, I continue to learn and improve my work to increase my classroom effectiveness. For this reason, I undertake regular assessments of my own teaching method. I use feedback from students to help me improve my teaching style after each semester. Teaching and learning both require hard work. They both consist of iterative and reciprocal processes that never cease to challenge and inspire all those involved, which draws me to teaching.