I’ve been working on a Statement of teaching philosophy that many universities require for their applicants. It’s pretty straightforward and I guess one can use it as an example.
Statement of teaching philosophy
As an instructor, my teaching philosophy is to help students learn how to learn. In the information age, it is vital for students to develop the required skills that improve their abilities to deal with the huge amount of information we have at our fingertips.
During my studies, I have been passionate about organizational psychology; therefore, the courses I would like to teach include an introduction to organizational studies, with a focus on topics like organizations, work groups and work teams, motivation, performance and cooperation. More specifically, I am able to offer an overview of organizational behavior. By the end of the course, my students will be equipped with information that will help them understand and explain what organizations are, how they function, and how they can be managed in the most effective ways.
Another course I would like to teach is leadership and management. In this course, I would focus on the management of the organizations and talk about the 4 different leadership styles: transformational, authoritarian, transactional and laissez-faire and the impact these styles have on teams, business units and the organization. By the end of the course, students will be able to identify and distinguish between the different leadership styles, to state which traits characterize which type of leader and recognize the effects that one type of leader has on the team and organization.
For the courses that I would like to teach, I set the following learning objectives for my students: engagement with the learning material, work-group activities and critical thinking. In the following paragraphs I explain how I would accomplish these objectives.
Engaging with the learning material
Students are encouraged to do the readings before class. The list of readings includes mandatory plus additional readings. The latter supplemental list makes it possible for students to be responsible for how deep they want to dive into a specific topic. During each class, I will present a short overview of the topic and then discuss case studies. The students will then be asked to identify the concepts and the theories from the readings and apply them to very concrete, specific situations. They will be trained to identify how each theory is able to explain the phenomena and where other theories might come in to play.
Students will be required to work in groups to foster collaborative learning and expose them to individual differences in understanding theories and concepts. By challenging each other, students learn to engage in productive relationships.
Another important objective of my course is to develop students’ critical thinking. I want them to be capable to identify how reliable a theory is and to what extent it can be applied to certain cases. Hopefully, my students will have no difficulties in offering an extensive number of solutions to various organizational problems and distinguishing between optimal and unfocused solutions.
One of the main challenges I have faced in the classroom is trying to get students to think in an inter-disciplinary fashion. By thinking outside of their disciplines, students are able to grasp the bigger picture and to understand the way different disciplines explain similar constructs. In order to address this challenge, I would give them assignments to talk to their roommates from different disciplines and come up with a presentation about a concept that they developed together. I have been pleased to see how such an assignment sparks not only interest but also a shift in perspective.
My research in the area in organizational trust contributes significantly to my teaching. As I am interested in how trust develops over time, I plan to apply strategies of improving and developing trust within dyad and work-groups in class. I will pay great attention to conflict resolution and to re-storing trust. My key assumption is that teaching without a solid foundation of trust cannot spark changes in students.