Site: SCoPE - BCcampus Learning + Teaching
Group: FLO MicroCourse: Write your teaching philosophy statement OER
Book: Activity
Printed by: Guest user
Date: Tuesday, 16 April 2024, 1:49 PM

The task

Annotated version of Sinek's golden circle diagram

The goals of this activity are for you to (1) write one or more 'WHY' statements and (2) share them in the Open Forum. A tweet is about the right length. You can also comment on how you arrived at that 'WHY' or how it shapes your work as a teacher.

If you're ready to do this now or already have a 'Why' statement from a previous TPS, you can jump to the last step where you'll find a template with some writing prompts and a few real tweets shared under #teachingphilosophy in Twitter. 
If  you prefer to try the rest of the activity, work through as much or as little as you need to get those 'WHY' thoughts flowing. Then complete the task. 

Self-assessment Inventories

There are 3 websites you can use to clarify your values with respect to teaching and learning. Each uses a long list of multiple choice questions to ascertain your preferences. They all provide feedback and guidelines about how to interpret your scores. 

  1. Angelo & Cross’s Teaching Goals Angelo Inventory (1993)
  2. BC’s Teaching Perspectives Inventory (2001) 
  3. Grasha & Riechmann’s Teaching Style Survey (1996, first developed 1976) 

When I tried them, I found completing the questionnaires time consuming without an equivalent return in terms of insight. I ended up with a lot of information but few clues to help me integrate the details into a cohesive, useful picture of myself as a teacher.

As a work-around, I’ve created 2 self-assessment grids using major categories of teaching activities and learning goals found in these inventories.  Grid 1 crosses Angelo & Pratt’s teaching goals (1 above) with Grasha’s teaching styles (3). Grid2 crosses Pratt & Collins' teaching perspectives (2) with Grasha’s teaching styles (1 again).  

The idea is to consider to what extent various teaching styles and perspectives are effective when it comes to working towards your and your students' learning goals.

View the grids

The .docx files are available for download. See below. grid 1

grid 2


1. Each cell is the intersection of particular teaching style or perspective with a category of learning goals. 
2. As you look at a cell, ask yourself what percentage of your time is given to that mode of work. 
3. Record your percentages in their cells. It's OK to have empty cells. 
4. To finish, EITHER add up the columns OR circle the individual cells with the strongest scores.

Think of a specific teaching situation. Do both grids with that same context in mind. Try to choose ‘honestly’ rather than ‘ideally’ so you’ll get a picture of yourself as you are not as you think you should be or wish you were.

If you don’t have much or any teaching experience yet, experiment. Imagine yourself in past classes e.g. with your most effective former teacher and then again with the least effective teacher you ever had. Use your responses to create a profile for the teacher you want to be.

Interpret your results

High column totals or the cells with the greatest scores will reflect how you actually spend a lot of your teaching time. You should be able to recall, or find in your portfolio, examples of actual experiences, assessment data, and/or student feedback to work into your TPS later on.

Ask yourself: Why these choices? Why do they result in stronger learning by the students? Why do I devote most of my time to working with students in these ways? What is most important to me as a teacher?

Caveat:  You may discover gaps between what you do and what you value. DON'T WORRY. You can can use that information to create a GPS route to the future in the conclusion of your TPS. What steps will you take to move from where you are to where you want to be? 

Note: if this activity doesn't work for you, try doing one or more of the actual inventories instead. You can  use their feedback as your starting point for recalling and noting illustrative examples and evidence to weave into your statement.

Last steps

Goals reminder: (1) write one or more 'WHY' statements and (2) share them in the Open Forum. A tweet is about the right length. You can also comment on how you arrived at that 'WHY' or how it shapes your work as a teacher.

If you're stuck for words, below you'll find a template with several prompts as well as a few tweets under #teachingphilosophy. When you've completed both goals, you're ready for the next step: brainstorming!

Prompts to help formulate a 'WHY' statement

sample tweets


A. FOR GRIDS 1 & 2

Goals for Students (left column; both grids)
• Angelo, Thomas A. and Cross, K. Patricia (1993). Teaching Goals Inventory. Reprinted from Classroom Assessment Techniques. Retrieved on 20 Jan. 2016 from  [Note: I have omitted Grasha’s 6th ‘goal’ – providing a role model – because I don’t feel it’s truly a goal for the students.]

Teaching Styles categories (1. Teaching Styles x Goals for Students; top row)
• Grasha, Anthony. (Fall, 1994). A Matter of Style: The teacher as expert, formal authority, personal model, facilitator, and delegator. From College Teaching, Vo. 42, No. 4, pp. 142-49. Retrieved 20 Jan. 2016 from . Quotations in the table are from p. 143.

Teaching Perspectives categories (2. Teaching Perspectives x Goals for Students; top row)
• Pratt, Daniel D. and Collins, John B. (2001-14). Teaching Perspectives Inventory. Retrieved 20 Jan. 2016 from


Discovery Education webinar for a deeper dive into 'WHY' (begins just after the 9:30 mark) found at 

This blogger suggests working from “generative writing to clarifying and naming essential messages or statements about knowing, learning, and thinking”.
“When students know their ‘why’ they are empowered to make big life choices. … If you are very clear about your ‘why’ … it … gives you the courage … to fight through when sometimes it can be very easy to give up. This is because you’re seeing the bigger picture.”
For the instructional designers in our groupThis writer's advice is to begin the collaborative process by determining the ‘WHYs’ of clients or colleagues and their learners. He poses 3 useful questions: “Why do you want to design this course? What is the goal of this course? Who is the learner?”