Teaching philosophies reconsidered: A conceptual model for the development and evaluation of teaching philosophy statements
Increasingly, the requirements of applicants to academic faculty positions, promotion and tenure procedures, nominations for teaching awards, or other application processes for innovative teaching grants worldwide include a teaching portfolio or dossier or a statement of teaching philosophy. Current literature provides a spectrum of approaches to constructing a teaching philosophy statement. While these resources provide practical utility, this literature generally lacks conceptual models that provide clear operational definitions and comprehensive frameworks for the process of generating or evaluating a teaching philosophy statement. However, this literature does illustrate the complexity of the task. Each teaching philosophy statement reflects not only personal beliefs about teaching and learning, but also disciplinary cultures, institutional structures and cultures, and stakeholder expectations as well. This synergy among self, discipline, and institutional context guided the development of a conceptual model for constructing a teaching philosophy statement. Based on the authors' survey of the literature, a conceptual model was developed, and then refined in a series of three workshops that included input from graduate students, academic faculty, faculty developers, and academic managers (administrators). The resulting conceptual framework includes the six dimensions commonly found in a survey of faculty teaching philosophies: the purpose of teaching and learning; the role of the teacher; the role of the student; the methods used; evaluation and assessment of teaching and learning; and also includes two framing devices – a metaphor or a critical incident and a device for acknowledging the impact that contextual factors have on teacher decision making. This paper describes the development of this conceptual model, and provides an evaluation rubric that can be applied to assess teaching philosophy statements generated using the proposed framework.