- 2. REFLECT, COLLECT, SELECT
The next step in the process is to brainstorm the 'HOWs' and 'WHATs' that emanate from your 'WHY'. In the Activity below, you'll find links to a selection of websites and documents with plenty of questions to get you started.
It's good to keep a few things in mind as you do this:
- “You are not meant to answer all these questions in a teaching philosophy” (Dunne, Memorial U., p.1). As soon as you begin to feel themes and connections emerging, focus on questions that will help you either expand these ideas or gain clarity about what you want a potential TPS reader to know about your teaching.
- "Avoid making generalizations." The more specific and personal your answers, "the more valid and compelling ... [your TPS] will be because you are not asking the reader to agree to universal claims" which anyone could make (DePaul U.).
- This is the time to read sections of the institution &/or division’s mission statement, strategic plan, and other documents that pertain to teaching and learning. You'll want to note where your practice aligns with the priorities on your campus (or the one offering the job you'd like to get) and select a few quotations you might want to use.
A TPS is a "narrative that offers concrete examples of the ways in which [you] enact your beliefs in the classroom. ... As appropriate, draw from scholarly literature [correctly cited] to help ground the approaches you take and beliefs you hold" (UBC, n.d.). Your TPS should show that your pedagogical decisions are evidence-based and that your choice of content and design of learning experiences reflect best practices in your discipline. You'll also want to gather examples of student work as well as data and comments from course evaluations or peer observations.
Given that you have a maximum of 2 properly formatted pages, you must be selective. Highlight recurring and connected ideas, experiences, and evidence to find what is really important to you. Those 'HOWs' and 'WHATs' will reveal the values -- the 'WHYs' -- you most cherish as an educator. That's what a reader of your TPS will want to find in those pages -- your best, authentic, teaching self.