13 Feb 2020

7-Word VIPErPit Challenge: TEACHING PHILOSOPHY Edition

Submitted by Jeffrey R. Raker, University of South Florida

Who among us hasn't filled up one to two (or more) pages with a teaching philosophy statement???

Whether for job, tenure, promotion, or award applications, preparing a teaching philosophy statement is a time honored tradition in academia. Buzz words are incorporated, descriptions of what we and our students are doing are included, and each statement is tailored in some way to the application guidelines.

But what if there were extreme contraints on the statement?

What if you had to capture the essence of your approach to teaching?

The IONiC Leadership Team recently challenged our community to condense our teaching philosophies down to seven words or less. Here is a selection of what we came up with:

  • "Learning is a team effort" (Kate McCusker - ETSU)
  • "Which model to use for this application?" (Adam Johnson - Harvey Mudd)
  • "Be clear, give opportunities for practice" (Kyle Grice - DePaul)
  • "We are all getting smarter together" (Kari Young - Centre)
  • "Talk less, listen more" (Joanne Stewart - Hope)
  • "You can do this (with practice)!" (Barb Reisner - JMU)
  • "Chemistry is difficult, I'm here to help!" (Justin Pratt - USF)
  • "Let's have fun (and do neat things)!" (Lori Watson - Earlham)
  • "How cool is this?" (Brad Wile - ONU)
  • "Make many mistakes when they don't count" (Anthony Fernandez - Merrimack)
  • "You can do hard things" (Sheila Smith - UM-Dearborn)

Notice the importance of action, motivation, challenge, support?

One community member reported sharing their seven words with students on the first day of class; Wow!, I'm adding my seven words to my syllabus next fall!

When we get down to the essence of our teaching philosophies, it is exciting to see that doing and inspiring are at the heart of what we do in the classroom!!!

To join us on the VIPErPit and participate in our next challenge and ongoing discussions about inorganic chemistry, lecture and lab courses, and to seek advice on how to be our best as educators, CLICK HERE!


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