The Research Digest, October 2015, Issue Number 49

The Research Digest highlights new research in learning and teaching. This month, we are highlighting recent work on the development and benefits of statements of teaching philosophy. This issue was developed in conjunction with October’s issue of Best Practices on Designing Your Dossier. If you’re interested in learning more about this topic, or have any suggestions for us, please send an email to lto@ryerson.ca. To access past issues of the Research Digest, visit the LTO website.

New research on the use of statements of teaching philosophy:

Using a Student-Directed Teaching Philosophy Statement to Assess and Improve One’s Teaching
Journal of Faculty Development, 2014
Faculty members traditionally develop a teaching philosophy statement (TPS) as part of the job application process, for tenure reviews, or to encourage reflection. In this paper, we propose an alternative approach–to develop the TPS with students as the primary target audience, distribute it to students at the beginning of a course, and collect evaluative data from students about its accuracy at the end of the course. Data are reported from three faculty members who used this student-directed TPS approach. We present implications for faculty development and for the creation and use of teaching philosophies.

Teaching philosophies reconsidered: A conceptual model for the development and evaluation of teaching philosophy statements
International Journal for Academic Development, 2002
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.

A Content Analysis of Teaching Philosophy Statements of Award Winning Colleges of Agriculture Professors
Journal of Agricultural Education, 2012
As our economy calls for improved employment skills, educational institutions must provide quality teaching to prepare students for success. Researchers purport that an important factor in determining student learning is the teacher, and that one of the most prominent factors in student achievement is teacher quality. The search for the attributes, dispositions, knowledge, and instructional skills that define effective teachers continues as scholars seek to discover the teacher variables that lead to student achievement. The purpose of the descriptive research was to identify themes present in the teaching philosophy statements of the United States Department of Agriculture Excellence in College and University Teaching in the Food and Agricultural Sciences award recipients. Content analysis technique was utilized in reviewing the provided espoused philosophy statements of award winners from 2000–2010. Findings include identification of eleven emergent themes. Future recommendations would include a study to determine if a disconnect exists between the stated teaching philosophy of award winning professors and their actual teaching practice. Further application would be to analyze the classroom practice of award winning professors and the impact had on student learning.

Guiding Reflective Practice: An Auditing Framework to Assess Teaching Philosophy and Style
Journal of Marketing Education, 2010
Growing as an educator takes hard work and commitment. It requires the educator to engage in regular, objective self-examinations of instructional beliefs and behaviors. Although this task can be daunting, and unwieldy, due to the complexity of the teaching-learning exchange, it can also be undertaken in a systematic manner. This article proposes a framework of five elements that appear essential for assessing instructor beliefs and behaviors: content, learner, educator, social setting, and physical environment where the instruction takes place. A teaching-style audit is demonstrated to show how the systematic and thoughtful assessment of an educator’s teaching philosophy and style can be undertaken. This research contributes to the professional development of marketing educators by (a) providing a unifying framework to guide reflective teaching practice and (b) proposing that an auditing approach should be used to reveal incomplete or underdeveloped areas of instructional belief and identify inconsistent or incongruent teaching styles.

Pedagogical Declarations: Feminist Engagements with the Teaching Statement
Journal of Geography in Higher Education, 2014
To produce a teaching statement, current and aspiring teachers undertake the ostensibly straightforward task of putting their teaching philosophy onto paper. But upon close examination, the teaching statement–a seemingly simple object–is much more complex. The teaching statement is full of dual functions, many of which can be conceived of as working at cross-purposes. This paper draws on the teaching statement’s history along with a collaborative and feminist mentorship methodology to highlight these dual functions. We discuss how teaching statements can be negotiated and inhabited from our perspective as early career scholars.

Framing the Teaching Philosophy Statement for Health Educators: What It Includes and How It Can Inform Professional Development
Health Educator, 2012
Teaching philosophy (TP) statements are increasingly required within academia for hiring and promotion purposes. For health educators, a TP can be a valuable resource for academicians as well as practitioners, linking educational theory with teaching techniques, philosophy with practice. The process of formulating a TP statement provides the opportunity to fully reflect on who you are as an educator and what you hope to accomplish in the learning process. The brief statement is intended to be a written reflection of your instructional and practical philosophy in both learning and the discipline of health education/public health. As an educator, the TP statement provides a roadmap for you throughout your career, documenting where you are and where you hope to grow, identifying both your pedagogical strengths and weaknesses. This paper is intended to provide insights gained through the preparation of TP and from professional and teaching experiences.

Resources and Practices to Help Graduate Students and Postdoctoral Fellows Write Statements of Teaching Philosophy
Advances in Physiology Education, 2011
Students and postdoctoral fellows currently encounter requests for a statement of teaching philosophy in at least half of academic job announcements in the United States. A systematic process for the development of a teaching statement is required that integrates multiple sources of support, informs writers of the document’s purpose and audience, helps writers produce thoughtful statements, and encourages meaningful reflection on teaching and learning. This article for faculty mentors and instructional consultants synthesizes practices for mentoring graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and junior faculty members as they prepare statements of teaching philosophy. We review background information on purposes and audiences, provide writing resources, and synthesize empirical research on the use of teaching statements in academic job searches. In addition, we integrate these resources into mentoring processes that have helped graduate students in a Health Sciences Pedagogy course to collaboratively and critically examine and write about their teaching. This summary is intended for faculty mentors and instructional consultants who want to refine current resources or establish new mentoring programs. This guide also may be useful to graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and junior faculty members, especially those who lack mentoring or who seek additional resources, as they consider the many facets of effective teaching.

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