Simply put, your teaching statement is a concise description of the central ideas behind your teaching. It describes the experience you have gained through teaching, and explains your teaching practices. When writing your teaching statement, make it clear how and why you teach. It is not an article on teaching and learning, nor is it a list of courses you have taught (that's for your CV). Keep in mind potential readers and the questions they're likely to have as they read your statement (follow instructions in job descriptions carefully, and be aware of the specific expectations for teaching statements in your discipline). Absent of any other direction, your teaching statement should be one to two pages in length (single-spaced). Here are four components of your teaching that you'll want to address in your teaching statement:
- Your goals for student learning. What do you want your students to be able to do or learn? Do you want students to learn the fundamental concepts, develop life-long learning skills or problem-solving strategies? What should they be able to do after they've taken a class from you? You can speak to a specific course or talk more generally about student learning. Do you have different goals for freshmen, for majors or non-majors?
- The methods you use to achieve these goals. Talk about the teaching strategies you use and explain why you use them. How do you actively involve students in their own learning? You should be able to connect learning theory and curriculum design, give examples of specific strategies or learning exercises you have used, discuss group work or collaborative learning techniques, and propose new ideas you have for teaching in your area. You might discuss how different learning environments or students' preferences influence your teaching.
- The methods you use to assess student learning. How do you know students are learning what you want them to learn? How do you assess and evaluate student learning? What evidence do you have? How do your assessment methods relate to student learning and your stated learning objectives? How do you use student evaluations to inform your teaching?
- Your plans for developing or improving your teaching. Why is teaching important to you? What do you get out of it? How do you assess your teaching?