Teaching Philosophy- Assessment Rubric

By the time you are ready to assess your statement of teaching philosophy, you should have already measured it against the questions listed in my prior post “Teaching Philosphy- How Strong is It?”. It is assumed that it has gone through numerous revisions in order to make it as strong as possible.

Now is the time to assess the statement using the following rubric, which was adapted by Vicki Daiello, Assistant Professor of Art Education at the University of Cincinnati, from an original devised by the Center for Teaching and Learning at the University of MInnesota.

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Teaching Philosophy- How Strong is It?

You’ve made a stab at writing your statement of teaching philosophy for your job application, but have no idea of how effective it is. Now is the time to start asking yourself questions that can help you begin to evaluate what you have written.

Vicki Daiello,Professor of Art Education at the University of Cincinnati, has adapted a series of questions originally developed by the Center for Teaching and Learning at the University of Minnesota that will help you to do this, and I am reproducing them here with her permission:

Evaluating the Teaching Philosophy: Questions to Consider
Purpose & Audience
Is there a clear focus or theme(s)?
Are the language and tone appropriate for the intended audience without
relying on trite phrases, clichés, or lofty jargon?
Would it hold a reader’s attention?
Writer’s Voice
Is it “authentic” – do you have an idea of who this person is as a teacher (or
who they aspire to be)?
Does the teacher reveal self and personal/political/pedagogical
commitments?
Is enthusiasm for teaching evident?
Does it sound as though the teacher cares about the beliefs expressed and
the arguments being made?
Would you like to take a course taught by this teacher?
Beliefs/Arguments/Claims & Illustrative Support
Does it convey what the teacher believes in a way that is engaging, specific,
and easy to understand?
Does it express why these beliefs are held?
Does it tell how these beliefs came to be held?
Does it communicate the teacher’s goals for and expectations of learners?
Discipline-Specific Knowledge
Are the beliefs/arguments/claims grounded in the teacher’s discipline?
Does the organization/structure support the arguments/claims being made?
Are the beliefs/arguments/claims backed up by evidence, examples,
anecdotes, etc.?
Are there specific examples of strategies, methods, or theories used to achieve
teaching and learning goals and to help students meet or exceed
expectations?
Conventions
Are headings, transitions, and paragraph design appropriate to the content?
Are length and thematic structure appropriate to the content?
Are there any distracting grammatical, typographical, or spelling errors?

Next up: A checklist that can also help you assess the quality of your statement of teaching philosophy.

Teaching Philosophy- How to Begin?

You know that you need to write a statement of teaching philosophy as part of your job application, but how in the world do you go about writing one? Or, if you’ve already written one, how can you make it stronger?

Vicki Daiello, Assistant Professor of Art Education at the University of Cincinnati, has these recommendations:

How to begin?
Especially if you’ve never done one before, perhaps the hardest thing about writing a
philosophy of teaching statement is figuring out how to begin. I recommend looking at a
number of sample teaching philosophy statements and then brainstorming or free-writing
in response to one of these prompts:
What is important to you in your teaching? Or,
Being an art educator means . . . ?
Also, it helps to produce a list of words or ideas – I encourage you to create your own list,
marking or highlighting the items that are most important to you and trying to think of
examples of ways in which these ideas are implemented in your classroom teaching. As
you brainstorm, try responding to some of the following questions:
• Think of an activity that you believe is a good example of successful
teaching and a good reflection of you as the kind of teacher you want to
be. What was it about the activity, and the way you implemented it, that
made it so?
• How do you establish rapport in your classes?
• Think of an activity that bombed in the classroom. Why do you think it
didn’t work? How would you change it and/or the way you presented it?
Why?
• How do you go about motivating students?
• How do you feel about assessment and grading?
• What do you think are important attributes of successful art students?
• What do you think makes an excellent teacher (in general)? an excellent
art teacher?
• How do you feel teachers can get better at what they do?
• What do you think is the most important issue in art education today?
• As an art teacher, what are some of your main concerns? What can you
do (or what can be done) about them?
• How do you think people learn art (successfully)? How does instruction
help? How can materials help?
• If I were to ask your students about your teaching, what would they say? (if
you were one of your students, what would you say about your teaching?)
• If I were to ask your supervisor about your teaching, what would they say?
(if you were your supervisor, what would you say about your teaching?)
Philosophy in motion. . .
Keep in mind, your philosophy of teaching statement will undergo changes and
refinements over time. Since you are changing and growing as an art educator, it is only
natural that your philosophy of teaching will grow and change along with you. Also, you should expect to adapt your philosophy of teaching statement to meet varying needs of
particular audiences. For example, the philosophy of teaching statement you present in
an employment application may differ in length and/or content from the philosophy of
teaching statement you include on your website.

Next up, how to evaluate the statement you have written.

Teaching Philosophy- What is It?

One of the items that is required in an application package for a teaching position in higher education is a statement that outlines your philosophy of teaching. This is one of those documents that most people hate to write, for a variety of reasons. One may be that you  have hardly any teaching experience, and so haven’t really had the kind of time to really figure out who you are as a teacher. Another might be that you have lots of experience and have the teaching thing down, but just don’t want to articulate your thoughts about it in writing.

Regardless of your reasons, the Teaching Philosophy statement carries a lot of weight with search committees. It can provide clues as to the role that you play in the classroom (ex. dictator, collaborator, facilitator, etc.), how you treat students, what your course content might emphasize (ex. technical skills, concept-driven work, theory, etc.), and the value you place on teaching.

Vicki Daiello, Assistant Professor of Art Education at the University of Cincinnati, spends considerable time teaching her graduate students how to effectively compose a statement of teaching philosophy. Professor Daiello, who won the 2011 Award for Outstanding Teaching in the College of Design, Architecture, Art & Planning, has generously given me permission to share this brief summary on how to begin writing one:

Your Philosophy of Teaching
A Philosophy of Teaching essay is a statement of your ideas and beliefs about teaching
and learning art, and perhaps also about education in general. Most sources
recommend that you keep your teaching philosophy statement between one and two
pages in length, covering what you believe, why, and brief examples of how you
implement it in the classroom.
Often, people do not include every single aspect of their philosophy of teaching in such
statements but instead focus on its core elements, the ones that are most important to or
indicative of them as a teacher.
While philosophy of teaching statement is an important item to include in your teacher
portfolio, it also performs other important functions: It guides and informs you as you
prepare other teaching portfolio items; it helps you prepare for a job interview; and it can
help you ensure that you are consistent in the way you answer job interview questions.
Possible Teaching Philosophy Components
• theoretical underpinnings of your belief system and how your belief system affects
decisions such as materials selection, teaching strategies, and classroom
management
• a description of what you actually do in the classroom, why doing things that way
benefits your students, and how you know when teaching strategies are working
well
• teaching as a form of activism (how does teaching art mesh with your world
views?)
• content (what it is you’re teaching)
• meaningfulness (drawing on students’ ideas, interests and concerns)
• classroom dynamics and class atmosphere
• affective and emotional components of teaching and learning
• evaluation and assessment
• being flexible (working within the needs and constraints of the institution, the
students, and your beliefs as a teacher)
• collaborating with other teachers (sharing and developing ideas)

In my next post on this subject, I will share with you Professor Daiello’s thoughts on how to begin writing a statement of teaching philosophy.