How to Answer “What Is Your Teaching Philosophy?”
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When you apply for a position in education, you may be asked about your teaching philosophy. If you are interviewing for a teaching position at a school, employers can ask this question to find out whether or not your teaching methods and styles will align with those of the school.
Hiring candidates with effective instructional skills in relevant roles can be of tremendous benefit to employers. As such, preparing yourself for this question in advance can help you feel prepared and provide a confident answer. To help you put your arguments together, here are some tips and examples.
Related: Teacher Resume Samples
- 1 What is a teaching philosophy?
- 2 Why employers ask this question
- 3 Examples of responses to teaching philosophy
- 4 Tips for answering “What is your teaching philosophy?” in an interview
- 5 Common mistakes to avoid
What is a teaching philosophy?
A teaching philosophy is made up of your unique teaching beliefs, ethics, and principles. Your philosophy has likely been developed over time through your hands-on teaching experience, education, observations, and research. A philosophy sums up your approach to teaching and can guide you through everyday situations that arise in the classroom or in the workplace.
If you are unsure of your teaching philosophy, consider asking yourself the following questions:
- What teachers / educators have inspired me?
- What is my approach when a student or an employee is in difficulty?
- How to reward good behavior? How to deal with bad behavior?
- What standards do I hold myself to?
- What were my most successful teaching moments?
What would my students or employees say about me?
Writing your answers to these questions can help you spot common themes and more easily identify your teaching philosophy.
Read more: 8 qualities of a good teacher (and tips for developing them)
Why employers ask this question
When employers ask this question, they are looking at how you are going to perform your duties as a teacher. Your answer to this question should relate to your teaching methods, your beliefs about the learning process, and at least one example that demonstrates your skills and abilities in a classroom or training environment.
Whether you are being interviewed for a position at an educational institution or a company that hires someone to train other professionals, employers want to make sure your methods match their organization’s goals and values.
This question is a way for employers to assess your personal skills and determine if you have the knowledge and experience necessary to perform the duties of the position. When an interviewer asks, “What is your teaching philosophy? »They look for clues as to how you will approach students or interns, address educational challenges, and ensure success for each student or intern.
Read more: Interview question: “Why do you want to teach? “
Examples of responses to teaching philosophy
Here are some examples of ways you can share your teaching philosophy statement:
When you apply for a management position
You can apply the above tips when applying for a People Manager position where you will be responsible for training new employees or educating existing employees on new tools or processes. This is best reserved for positions in companies rather than in schools.
Example: “My teaching philosophy is to make each training session as interactive as possible. I believe an interactive program is more memorable. I use tactics such as role-playing and competitive quiz games. In my role as Director of Customer Service, I am responsible for training new Customer Service Representatives. When I first started I noticed that new customer service agents made a lot of mistakes and forgot a lot of what they had learned in their first few weeks on the job. Instead of changing the program, I changed the delivery.
Now, I randomly pick interns to act as a client and agent in front of the rest of the class. I also end each session with a pop quiz and give small prizes to the trainee who answers the questions the most correctly. By gamifying the experience, we reduced errors and improved retention of training material.
When you apply for a position in an educational institution
You can also use the above approach when applying for a position in an elementary, high school, college or university as an experienced teacher. In this case, you would like to share an example of a particularly successful educational achievement.
Example: “My teaching philosophy is to focus on strengthening students’ independent study habits. Even when students are engaged in a lesson, I find that they often forget essential details because they haven’t learned how to properly review the material on their own. I think helping middle school students learn to study independently now prepares them better for the demands of high school and college courses.
In my current role as a seventh grade history teacher, I often do pop quizzes on the previous day’s lesson to make sure the students remember the information. Over the past year, I have started setting aside 10 minutes of quiet study time at the start of each class for students to review yesterday’s lesson material. Since then, pop quiz scores have increased by over 50%.
When you apply for your first teaching position
Finally, you can also apply the above when you first enter the job market or without previous experience in a teaching position. Instead of sharing examples from your professional experiences, you can share examples of teaching styles that have influenced your philosophy.
Example: “My teaching philosophy is to make the content I teach more relevant. In many cases, when a student cannot identify with the material, it is more difficult for him to grasp its meaning. As a literature teacher, my goal is to help students understand characters, places, and concepts, especially when those things are different from their own life experiences.
As a student, I found more memorable stories when my teachers helped me draw parallels. As a student teacher, I like to make comparisons between older texts, like Shakespeare, and modern events. For example, I find that comparing the events of plays to pop culture events not only helps students understand the stories, but also helps them draw their own conclusions.
When you apply for a position that requires education or training, there is a good chance that employers will ask you questions about your teaching philosophy. You should also be prepared to answer follow-up questions about the experiences you share. By preparing your response in advance, you can ensure that you highlight relevant skills, share the right example, and leave a positive and lasting impression.
Related: What Are The Job Prospects For Teachers?
Tips for answering “What is your teaching philosophy?” in an interview
There are a few things you should consider as you begin to write your answer to this question. Here are four tips you should keep in mind:
Keep it concise
Be as simple as possible. Start by identifying what you think the teaching should achieve, list the methods you use to achieve that goal, and then share a story to illustrate those methods.
Speak in the present tense
Use expressions like “I believe a teacher should …” Where “I use strategies that …” rather than referring to your beliefs and skills in the past tense, like “I learned that it is better …” Where “I helped the students achieve …” It gives your philosophy a more active tone.
Avoid unnecessary jargon
Explain your teaching philosophy using easy-to-follow, everyday language rather than complicated technical terms. This will ensure that the interviewer fully understands your answer and recognizes your strengths. It also helps them apply your response to their organization, which is especially helpful if you’re moving to another industry.
Use concrete examples
When it comes to sharing your teaching philosophy, it is important to ‘show’ as well as ‘tell’. Give the other person an overview of your teaching methods by providing detailed examples of your past experiences. Discuss how you have applied your methods and what positive results you have had with your teaching style.
As this is a common interview question, especially in the education industry, you should have this answer prepared and practiced before the interview.
Employers want to see your passion for teaching. Make sure your enthusiasm shows in your response.
Read more: The 6 main teaching skills sought by employers
Common mistakes to avoid
When it comes to answering a question about your teaching philosophy, there are a few practices you should avoid:
- Memorize your answer. While preparation is strongly encouraged, you don’t want to memorize your answer verbatim. Doing this may make you appear robotic or inauthentic during the interview.
- To appear arrogant or overconfident. Confidence is important in your response, but it’s just as important to stay humble. If it appears to employers that you are being too boastful, it may raise concerns about how you would be as an employee.
- Talking too long. Be concise in your answer: two minutes or less is ideal. If your response lasts longer than two minutes, you may lose the interviewer’s attention.