For your last assignment, I would like you to write a short statement of your teaching philosophy. I realize that this is an onerous task, and I suspect a frustrating task doomed to failure. At the outset you should know that I find these statements generally preposterous, ponderous or just plain perplexing. Furthermore, I believe it is a terribly unfair thing to ask a student who has probably only just begun teaching to frame his or her philosophy of the practice. It is akin to asking a newly licensed teenager to articulate the art of driving. Yet, it is a thing that will be asked of you either in your job search or on award applications. So, it may serve some good to write one with the potential for feedback. Moreover, I think it will serve as a fitting capstone for our course, split as it has been between the ideal and the practical.
That said, let us abide by these guidelines in order to benefit from the exercise.
1) We will all write one; we will all read them. Please post them to the discussion board.
2) The statements will be mercifully short (no more than 300 words).
3) The statements will be philosophy – not practice. See definitions below.
4) We will seek to avoid jargon and explain ambiguous or trendy phrases, such as “student-centered,” “the pedagogy,” etc.
5) The statements will reflect our ideals and ourselves not merely a prescribed practice.
From American Heritage Dictionary, the following definitions of philosophy seem relevant:
1. A system of motivating concepts or principles: the philosophy of a culture.
2. A basic theory; a viewpoint: an original philosophy of advertising.
3. The system of values by which one lives: has an unusual philosophy of life.