How To Answer, "What Is Your Teaching Philosophy?"

Indeed Editorial Team

Updated 9 July 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

During an interview, the recruiter may ask you questions that reflect your personal beliefs and values about teaching. Many employers focus on hiring teachers with great teaching philosophy and teaching skills, as it improves the reputation of their organisation. Understanding the ways to answer such questions can help you deliver a confident response during the interview. In this article, we learn how to answer, “What is your teaching philosophy?” and why employers ask this question.

Why do employers ask, “What is your teaching philosophy?”

Many employers ask, “What is your teaching philosophy?”, because they may want to know if a candidate is compatible and able to maintain the institute's teaching philosophy. This helps them understand your ability to approach and handle students with different types of behaviours. Many employers may ask this same question using different types of phrases, such as, “How can you describe your teaching philosophy?” or, “Provide us with your teaching philosophy statement”.

Candidates with higher and effective teaching skills benefit the institution to a great extent. This is the reason why employers focus on knowing more about a candidate's teaching philosophy. Getting prepared for this question before the interview can help you answer it with more confidence. For candidates, this question may work as an opportunity to showcase their skills, knowledge and experience with teaching.

Read more: 10 Important Skills Of A Teacher And How To Develop Them

What is a teaching philosophy?

A teaching philosophy is your personal values, beliefs and concept about teaching. It reflects your objectives about teaching and how you can use your ideas to improve teaching in the classroom. Writing your own teaching philosophy can help you analyse how you approach students and what new ideas you can implement to get better at your skills. Teaching philosophy includes the methods you are going to implement in the classroom for providing students with ideas and values, intellectual skills and knowledge about the course.

Many schools, colleges and institutions have their own teaching style preferences and hire teachers who are comfortable with their teaching philosophy. Candidates who are having trouble in writing their teaching philosophy can consider asking themselves the following question:

  • What are your most favourite and least favourite things about teaching?

  • What challenges do you face while teaching?

  • Which teachers have inspired you to teach?

  • What is the most important thing for you while teaching?

  • How do you measure success and failure in this field?

  • How do you deal with bad behaviour?

  • What is your approach to encourage good behaviour?

  • How do students learn effectively according to you?

  • How can you help struggling students?

Answering these questions and writing the answers honestly can surely help you find some common links between all of these questions and help you understand your teaching philosophy.

Read more: 10 Common Teacher Interview Questions And Answers

Teaching philosophy sample answers

Here are a few examples of how you can present your answer about teaching philosophy:

Examples for a leadership job role

The primary duty of a leadership job, such as an educator or a manager, is to teach and train other professionals. When applying for a leadership job, you can respond in such a way that it reflects your potential for training others.

Example: My teaching philosophy focuses on making the training session as interactive as possible because I believe that interactive training sessions are easy to memorise. I use quiz games to make the teaching session more enjoyable and relatable to the students. My belief is that using concrete and relatable examples can help students to learn things more efficiently. Over the years in my teaching career, I noticed this way of teaching helps students to retain knowledge for a long time.

My main goal is to help students to expand their knowledge and unlock their full potential. In order to do so, I help each individual student with a wide range of knowledge, assistance, tasks and skills. When I notice students are not learning the topic and keep forgetting it, I change the way of delivering the content rather than changing the curriculum. I try to understand the mental approach of the students and teach them accordingly.

Read more: How To Write A Teacher Profile: A Guide With Examples

When applying for a position with an educational institution

Candidates can also use the above example for a job role as an experienced teacher at primary, secondary and higher schools. During the interview process, you can try making a strong and impactful statement about your teaching philosophy.

Example: My goal is to encourage and train students to build study habits at school and at home. I include discussions during my class and try to build cooperation between the students so that they can exchange their own ideas and understand different perspectives of the same content. With time students create a bond between themselves and that is very good for the overall growth of the class. This slowly builds a student's ability to review the classroom work on their own.

The younger generation is our future and it is my honour to help them in shaping their future with everything I can inside the classroom and outside as well. I frequently take small classroom tests and quizzes depending on the previous day's lesson. This helps me to understand if the students are retaining the lessons. In case the students are unable to retain the lessons, I try to shift my approach of teaching which is easily understandable for all the students.

When applying for your first teaching job

Employers may ask for your teaching philosophy even if it is your first job. You can be fully prepared and confident about what you are going to say if they ask about your teaching philosophy. Candidates without any teaching experience who want to apply for their first job can also share examples of teaching styles that influence them.

Example: In my opinion, if a student is unable to understand a lesson it can be difficult for them to gather the meaning and remember the lesson for a long time. As a student, I found it easier to remember the lessons in the form of a story. I use this principle to find out the nature of the students and how they can learn the lessons effectively and easily.

For me, education is the foundation upon which we as a teacher shape the future of our students. It is my duty to give them proper teaching and help them to understand and remember every lesson I teach. I try to create a healthy learning environment in my class so that they can grab as much knowledge as they can.

Read more: How To Answer the Interview Question: “What Are Your Career Goals?” (With Examples)

Tips for answering this question

There are a few tips to follow while answering, “What is your teaching philosophy?”, during an interview:

Provide natural answers

Researching common interview questions can help you sound more prepared and professional. Be patient and naturally develop genuine answers to the questions. Try to avoid memorizing answers to ensure you sound more natural and relaxed.

Read more: Video Interview Guide: Tips for A Successful Interview

Offer brief and concise answers

Keep your answers short, effective and relevant to the questions the employer asks you during the interview. Offering concise and relevant answers can keep the employer's attention throughout the interview as well. The ideal duration for addressing the asked questions can be around two to three minutes.

Read more: Interview Question: “What Are Your Strengths And Weaknesses?"

Remain confident and polite

Be sure and confident about everything that you are saying and address the interviewer in a very polite manner. Employers know that the overconfident and arrogant candidates are unable to cooperate well with their institution. Many employers prefer hiring teachers who are authentic and knowledgeable of the subjects they're teaching students.

Use simple terminology

Explaining your teaching philosophy in everyday language can make your answer easier to follow. This can help interviewers completely understand your answer and recognise your strengths. Keep your answers concise and straightforward. You can use a story to explain any technical terms or concepts. Sharing stories and examples can help you provide more details to allow employers to better picture you performing in the role.

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