Self assessment

Self-reflective statements prepared by the candidate to describe and reflect upon their personal approach to teaching

Self-reflective statements prepared by the candidate to describe and reflect upon their personal approach to teaching

Focus of statement
The likely focus for self-reflective statements for each of the levels of teaching achievement defined in the framework are provided below.
Effective teacher
Reflection on their educational approach and its development over time, identifing how it supports effective student learning in the context of the cohort, discipline and institution
Skilled & collegial teacher
Reflection on their personal teaching philosophy and its development over time, as well as the role they play in nurturing an academic environment that advances collective educational excellence
Scholarly teacher
Reflection on their personal teaching philosophy, describing how evidence-informed approaches are used to contribute to both student learning and pedagogical knowledge
Institutional leader
Reflection on how their leadership in teaching and learning has helped to create an inclusive, supportive and aspirational learning environment that advances student learning
National & global leader
Reflection on their national and global influence in teaching and learning, and their impact on advancing educational knowledge, collaboration and/or excellence
Sphere of focus: the sphere of focus of the candidate’s self-reflection increases with each progressive level of the framework, moving from the students taught and tutored (at the ‘effective teacher’ level) to the national and global higher education community (at the ‘national and global leader in teaching and learning’ level).
Structuring your statement
The content of self-reflective statements will vary by institutional context and individual role. However, many of the experts consulted for this study recommended that self-reflective narratives which focused on teaching and learning in the ‘classroom’ (i.e. those prepared by candidates at the ‘effective teacher’ level) should adopt a broad structure similar to that proposed by Nancy Chism (1998), and comprise four key components:
  • Goals for student learning: a description of the candidate’s overall goals for their teaching, including the desired learning outcomes (knowledge, skills and attitudes) for their students and an assessment of how this varies by course, level and context
  • Personal teaching philosophy: a discussion of the teaching strategies employed by the candidate to achieve these goals and how the approaches adopted reflect their understanding of how learning occurs
  • Approach to assessment and evaluation: a rationale for why particular assessment/evaluation processes were adopted, in light of the candidate’s teaching philosophy and the intended learning outcomes of their course/s
  • Plans for development in the future: a discussion of how and why the candidate’s teaching has developed over time, with relevant evidence as appropriate, along with a statement of their goals for the future
Chism, N. V. N. (1998). Developing a philosophy of teaching statement. Essays on Teaching Excellence, 9(3), 1-2.
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Writing your statement
Successful promotion candidates and pedagogical experts interviewed as part of this study offered a number of suggestions to guide preparation of a self-reflective personal statement:
  • Candidates often report that reviewing other self-reflective statements generated within their own discipline and institution is an important first step in reflecting on their own teaching and preparing their own statement. Candidates should therefore consider asking for good practice examples from their university teaching and learning office (or equivalent) that had been prepared for successful promotion cases.
  • The statement should begin with contextual information about the candidate’s teaching responsibilities as well as the disciplinary and institutional context.
  • Statements should be clearly structured, so that the focus of each section is immediately obvious to the reader.
  • When articulating their teaching approach, candidates should draw on real examples from their own experience. If prepared as part of a ‘teaching portfolio’, the self-reflective statement should contextualise all other evidence of teaching achievement, using these data to demonstrate impact and substantiate the narrative.
  • Candidates should share and discuss their statement with others from within and beyond their own discipline to gather feedback before submission.
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Case study
Dr Constanza Miranda, Pontifical Catholic University of Chile
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In 2013, Dr Constanza Miranda successfully applied for an Associate Professorship in the Mechanical Engineering Department at the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile (PUC). Returning to Chile from post-graduate study in the US, she brought extensive experience of delivering hands-on multi-disciplinary design experiences for both engineering students and industry professionals.

Her application for appointment at PUC included a teaching portfolio in which Dr Miranda described her approach to teaching design and reflected on how and why this had changed in recent years. In particular, she highlighted her growing desire to offer alternatives to the conventional “master and apprentice” model of design teaching, where the pedagogic approach was highly dependent on the personality of the instructor and often left students frustrated by “the lack of a formal rubric, not knowing how their learning outcomes or how their performance will be measured”.

Influenced both by the teaching certificate programme she had taken during her doctoral research at NC State University and her interactions with the design education community, she described how she had started to develop “a more systematic and goal-oriented learning model that can be replicated successfully by different professors”. Drawing on materials from her recent design courses and on examples of student feedback she had received, Dr Miranda highlighted the benefits of this shift in teaching approach. She noted in particular how it had helped to provide students with a clear framework through which to structure their learning experiences without constraining “the space for creativity and self-decision to happen”.