Creating a philosophy of education (or teaching… I use the words interchangeably) is a very daunting task! If you have been teaching for any amount of time then you already have a philosophy whether you know it or not. A philosophy of teaching is the beliefs you base all of your teaching on. You will be asked to include a philosophy of teaching (or education) in some of your applications. You will also be required to describe your philosophy in words during some interviews. Therefore, it is best to have it written out ahead of time.
Thankfully, most grad programs require that students write a philosophy of education before students can graduate so you already have one in place. However, sometimes schools want it to be a certain word length (500-1000 words wouldn’t be uncommon), while other schools require that it only be 300 words, or maybe you will enroll in a second masters program and be required to write a three page version of it. It is best to become very comfortable with your personal teaching philosophy and to have versions of different length on hand.
It also isn’t a bad idea to revisit your statement periodically because it is sure to change over time. This is where I’m at now. I wrote my philosophy of education in early 2010 and now I find myself in my last course of a second masters degree, and I need to write a new one. I thought I would share some resources I have found along the way, because writing this is hard work!
I would normally share my philosophy statement, but I have been working on it on and off for the past five years but I am still not happy with it!
Here is a list of resources you can use to work on your philosophy statement so you are ready for those applications!
http://moodle.technion.ac.il/file.php/1298/yanai/report_16.pdf- includes actual philosophy statements
http://cetalweb.utep.edu/sun/cetal/resources/portfolios/writetps.htm – this also includes great information about creating a teaching portfolio (which is also helpful at job fairs and during interviews)
http://www.crlt.umich.edu/sites/default/files/resource_files/CRLT_no23.pdf This is a bit more of an in depth walk-through of a philosophy statement that is great for getting you started
http://cet.usc.edu/resources/academic_resources/docs/questions_re_outcomes.pdf Great list of questions (with answers) that you could address in your statement
http://chronicle.com/article/4-Steps-to-a-Memorable/124199/#top Some nice tips for a more memorable statement
http://cet.usc.edu/resources/academic_resources/docs/statements_of_teaching_phil.pdf This PDF has some activities and questions that might help you refine your statement
http://www.uwo.ca/tsc/resources/selected_teaching_topics/teaching_dossiers/guide_to_constructing/teaching_philosophy_examples.html This page has a few examples listed
http://www1.umn.edu/ohr/prod/groups/ohr/@pub/@ohr/documents/asset/ohr_78174.pdf A nice rubric to help evaluate your statement