Woman on computer screen

Lesson 2: State your teaching philosophy

Identifying your beliefs

Begin your teaching philosophy statement by reflecting on and articulating your key beliefs about teaching and learning.


By the end of this activity, you should have 2-3 beliefs that will be the foundation of your teaching dossier. Hint – if this is the first time you are writing a philosophy statement, 2-3 beliefs are enough.
You can succinctly state your beliefs by completing the statement “I believe students learn best by..."


Read the article Six Questions That Will Bring Teaching Philosophy into Focus – it will help you focus on developing your philosophy statement – why you teach the way you do.

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Complete the following worksheet to identify your own key beliefs. Hint – try freewriting (your first thoughts) and edit later.


Draft your teaching philosophy statement

You have reflected on and identified your beliefs about teaching and learning and now it is time to start drafting your teaching philosophy statement.

After completing the worksheet above and identifying your beliefs, start filling in the "Framework for aligning a teaching philosophy statement" worksheet below to write a rough draft or outline of your teaching philosophy statement. Remember, writing is an iterative process and you will likely need to edit your statement several times.

If necessary, revisit the philosophy statement examples and after you have a draft of your philosophy statement, connect with a peer, supervisor, or book a consultation with a Taylor Institute staff member for feedback.


Haave, N. (2014). Six questions that will bring your teaching philosophy into focus. Faculty Focus, https://www.facultyfocus.com/articles/philosophy-of-teaching/six-questions-will-bring-teaching-philosophy-focus/

Kenny, N., Berenson, C., Jeffs, C., Nowell, L., & Grant, K. (2018). Teaching philosophies and teaching dossiers guide. Calgary, AB: Taylor Institute for Teaching and Learning. https://taylorinstitute.ucalgary.ca/sites/default/files/Teaching%20Philosophies%20and%20Teaching%20Dossiers%20Guide.pdf

Schonwetter, D., Sokal, L., Friesen, M., & Taylor, KL. (2002). Teaching philosophies reconsidered: A conceptual model for the development and evaluation of teaching philosophy statements. International Journal for Academic Development, 7(1), 83-97, http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13601440210156501

Lesson checklist

  • Recognize the role of the philosophy statement in the teaching dossier
  • Identify your beliefs about how students learn and how these beliefs inform how you teach
  • Complete the first draft of your philosophy statement

More lessons

People standing in front of books

Lesson 3: Situate your teaching context

Man holding a book

Lesson 4: Identify the components of your dossier

Woman holding a book

Lesson 5: Exhibit evidence of teaching effectiveness