Mary Jo Wimsatt

EDTP 301 General Methods

For her Part-time Faculty Learning Community project, Mary Jo Wimsatt elected to revise the teaching philosophy assignment she uses in her General Methods class at the School of Education. Wimsatt defines a teaching philosophy as “a self-reflective statement of beliefs about teaching and learning. The teaching philosophy is an authentic document in process; as the student’s teaching changes, their professional identify grows.” As such, the teaching philosophy offers a perfect opportunity for metacognition which, at its most basic level is “thinking about one’s thinking to improve it.”

In developing an evaluation rubric for the assignment, Wimsatt focused on several of the Elements of Thought from the Paul Elder Model for Critical Thinking. Beginning with “purpose and audience” – Wimsatt asked the students to reflect on their work as teachers from the perspective of those who would be reading their teaching philosophy, namely future employers. She then asked students to make observations about their own teaching, including thought processes, for developing and deploying assignments, and perceptions of themselves as future teachers.

Wimsatt provided the students with extensive guidelines, and the evaluation rubric via the course Blackboard shell. She also provided information about starting a teaching philosophy, ways to organize and create a draft, suggestions for assessing the draft, and several sample teaching philosophies as guides. Students were given five weeks to complete the assignment. In evaluating the results of this assignment, Wimsatt reported that of the 25 students, 17 received a 90% or above.

For the future, Wimsatt would like to simplify the rubric and guidelines for her undergraduates, while keeping the essential components the same.

Regarding her experience in the Part-time Faculty Learning Community, Wimsatt notes: “I have always believed that great teachers help create great students and a teachers should always endeavor to be a great student.”

“It is critical for veteran teachers to have ongoing and regular opportunities to learn from each other. This specific PT-FLC opportunity was deeply enriching for me, mostly because of the long-term commitment and the teacher observation component.”

Mary Jo Wimsatt

Download Wimsatt’s assignment and rubric. [PDF]

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