The Reflective Teaching Statement
Self statements that are “reflective” have been helpful to review committees. These reflective statements are most useful when they are not exhaustive but are illustrated with specific examples, and they describe how you assess and revise your practices over time. A few sentences (2-3) of teaching philosophy and commitment to diversity may be included, but should not be the bulk of this type of statement.
A solid example of a reflective statement (1-2 pages total) could include some or all of the following:
A reflection of a change in your classroom teaching.
Focus on specific examples, how you assessed effectiveness, and modified strategies as appropriate.
- Define your primary goal: what learning outcomes were you trying to achieve in this course?
- Describe your previous methods: detail one or two practices you used before and why you chose those.
- Describe changes made: a new strategy and how you implemented it. This can be simple such as requiring reading guides, or complex like creating a flipped class. Include if changes were based on workshop you attended, pedagogy paper read, or consultation with teaching expert.
- Assessment: how did your measure the effectiveness of the new practice? This could include results of a midterm survey, comparisons to exam questions from previous years, or making a simple rubric to track student skill in specific area. The new technique does not have to be a success, but a thoughtful informed effort toward improvement.
- Adjust goals: how will you adjust your next course after reflecting on the assessment?
Discussion of graduate and undergraduate mentoring, research lab supervision
- Describe different types of mentoring/supervisory activities you are involved in
- Provide evidence of student success including awards, honors, publications, current positions achieved
- Can also include contributions to a course and/or curriculum redesign as appropriate
New to teaching?
If you have not yet been an instructor of record, utilize what teaching or presentation experience you have had for a reflective teaching statement.
Some examples of past submissions may be helpful. Below are snippets of past reflective statements that contain elements of the recommended formats.
|Perhaps the single greatest change in my undergraduate teaching results from my recognition that some students worry about implicit bias in grading—and indeed, that they have good reason to do so. Even if instructors were entirely free of common racial and gender biases, we would still tend to be biased in favor of students who have done good work in the past and against those who have done poor work in the past. The best way I have found to address this problem is to require that students include only their ID numbers, not their names, on papers and exams. Anonymized submissions, however, are simply the “default mode” in my classes, not an unbreakable rule. When students ask me to discuss a paper in progress or to comment on a draft, I am always glad to do so||A nice example of teaching well in a diverse classroom.|
|In my introductory class students need to be able to define the structure and function of a number of basic elements in our field including….... To help students master the basic vocabulary I created a set of lecture notes that could also be used as flashcards. The students were able to write their own notes and examples on these cards in addition to my notes. These were designed to help students review materials quickly and regularly for the class. In a midterm evaluation 70% of the students reported that they used the cards at least once a week. This was successful in that they were much more able to respond correctly when I asked them about the fundamentals, for example…… Therefore I was able spend more time in class working on higher order problems. Student from previous classes have contacted me and indicated the cards were a great resource when studying for standardized tests for professional school.||Clear explanation of method, with a mid-term assessment of its effectiveness.|
|This is also a highly interactive, hands-on course. I told the students at the outset that my goal is not to make them a master of (program X).. My goal, rather, was to teach them how to think like a programmer and to give them enough of a foundation in (program X) that they would then be able add whatever else they needed into their toolkit so that they could develop tools to help their own research. |
The course was based on both in-class and at-home problem sets. Given X, write a routine to do Y. In class, I could share my code or students’ code on the screen and we’d break often to discuss what challenges people were having and how others might have solved them. I’d also go around to check in and help out one-on-one, trying to get them to understand whatever concept they were struggling with. Of course, students often paired up to work on issues together as well.
As this was a new course, I had a lot of unknowns in terms of pacing and even how to objectively measure success. My only evidence for it comes from the students themselves. At the end, one of them said to the class that (s)he was frustrated at first as I wouldn’t lay out exactly what they should do and how they should do it and that learning to “think like a programmer” was entirely too vague. But, about two thirds or so of the way it totally clicked and made sense and that I was right – there wasn’t any way to get to the end without going through that challenge first.
|Good explanation of common difficulty students have / goal of the course. Uses specific examples.
The assessment is anecdotal
|In addition, I take my student evaluations – especially my home-made midterm evaluations – very seriously. I have found that students respond well when they can see adjustments in the second half of the quarter because of input concerning the first half. For example, last year during my (course X) course a few students suggested that I take the last 5-10 minutes of class to review the key points of the day. I began to implement this useful suggestion in our next class period and have done so in other courses since that time. Providing extra practice problems for my (course Y) students was another very helpful midterm student suggestion.||No information about particular teaching techniques, but good use of midterm evaluations|
|I believe in the value of mentoring students, and this is most obvious in my engagement with honors undergraduate students and my graduate students. I have offered multiple opportunities for joint collaboration/authorship to my graduate students, as I believe this is one of the most effective and rewarding ways of mentoring. I try to effectively communicate expectations, and provide timely feedback and structure for their progress in the program. I also try to provide psychosocial support. I am open about my own successes and setbacks. |
In the 2013-2016 review period, ___ students for whom I served as chair, co-chair or dissertation committee member received their Ph.D.s. (if one or more of the students has obtained a subsequent fellowship, notable position etc. this can also be highlighted).
I am currently advising __ students ( __ at the dissertation and ___ at the pre-dissertation level). I served on __ advancement to candidacy committees, and was sought out as an oversight member from other departments in my school. Increasingly, doctoral students I meet in other capacities (such as professional roles), ask me for advice and guidance, and I informally mentor a few junior women at other institutions.
|A thorough example of the mentoring section.
It provides specific examples of mentoring behavior.