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Developing a Philosophy for Teaching English as a Foreign Language

Why have a teaching philosophy?

Teachers who have a clear purpose will find themselves more focused, rejuvenated and excited. Through the various highs and
lows, a teaching philosophy or mission statement helps an educator stay true to ones core beliefs.
Writing a teaching philosophy statement may take some time, as Crookes notes, but most start by thinking about what drew them to
this field in the first place. Reflecting on core values and beliefs about education and the role of educators can bring life and
direction to any statement. (adapted from:

What to include in a teaching philosophy?

Why is teaching important to you?
Explain the intrinsic value of teaching for you. To effectively demonstrate your enthusiasm for this discipline,
consider describing your own pathway from language learner to that of becoming a language teacher, as well as
your understanding of some of the global issues surrounding EFL and your stance on those issues.
The knowledge, skills, or attitudes you seek to foster in your students.
Describe learning outcomes you would expect for students in terms of content knowledge, communicative
competence, affective development, and acculturation, among other outcomes.
The teaching approach, methods, and strategies you use to promote student learning.
An imbalance between philosophy and methodology is a common pitfall identified in teaching statements.
Describe the general instructional approach that you most align with, as well as the primary method(s) you aim to
employ to help students achieve the outcomes listed above.
The learning environment you seek to create in your classroom.
This includes your expectations for the teacher-student relationship as well as student-student interactions; how
you create a safe, comfortable environment for students; and what actions you take to create connections
between students. It might also be appropriate to discuss how you ensure active participation from beginning
level or otherwise reluctant students.
Your approach to assessment.
Another common pitfall identified in teaching statements is a lack of objective evidence of student learning and
teaching effectiveness. Ideally, your statement will illustrate how you enable students to demonstrate their
knowledge in diverse ways, and how you use assessment to contribute to their learning as well as improve your
The role of teaching in the context of career or lifelong goals.
Here, you may describe the role teaching plays in your professional growth and development, and how you want
to grow as a teacher.

Examples specific to second language teaching:

Instructions for this activity:


Spend about 20 minutes brainstorming ideas within each of the boxes on the following page. We will only
look now at some features of the learning outcomes, the teaching approach, and the learning environment,
and add other features as we go.

With a partner or group no larger than 3 people, share your ideas. Add more to each category as you get
ideas from others in your group.

If you would like, include these ideas in your reflective post for Week 3.

Work out the ideas you generate today more concretely over the next two weeks, especially as you spend
more time in front of the classroom. Manyif not allof these ideas can be incorporated into the narrative
of your final instructional unit, as well as the teaching philosophy tab of your professional portfolio.