Teaching Toolkit

The teaching toolkit contains resources and materials to support your teaching endeavors…

Current listing:

Book Recommendations

The staff at the Center for Teaching Excellence and Innovation and the Teaching Academy have compiled a list of our favorite books that promote evidence-based teaching and learning practices in higher education.

Click to view our current recommendations and contact your university library, preferred local bookstore, or an online book retailer for current stock and/or pricing of titles.


Center for Integration of Research, Teaching and Learning - a consortium of colleges and universities - is committed to enhancing STEM education. CIRTL is committed to providing STEM doctoral students and post docs with a rich array of professional development opportunities on pedagogy, teaching, and creation of research-informed instructional resources.

Teaching Observation Partners

Teaching Observation Partners (TOPs) aims to help instructors improve their teaching skills and foster formative teaching development through classroom observations.  Receiving feedback on teaching is an important component of professional development in that it identifies potential improvement and growth areas, while also increasing instructor’s confidence in areas in which they already excel. In turn, observing teaching and providing constructive feedback provides a mechanism in which instructors learn from their peers and develop through engaging in teaching evaluation.

TOP participants benefit from participating in a number of ways.  Through TOPs, instructors,

  • Learn about their own practice by watching their peers
  • Value engaging with like-minded peers that share a belief in the value of good teaching
  • Develop a sense of equity, trust, and mutual support
  • Feel safe to ask questions, make mistakes and try new things through a supportive peer group that focuses on teaching development
  • Feel open to being observed and decrease their fear of failure, judgement or punitive outcomes as they engage in a supportive process of teaching development
  • Adopt a “growth mindset” towards their own teaching development
  • Identify their own and their partners strength and improvement areas in teaching
  • Rely on their TOPs partners as a resource and source of support in their teaching development

An ongoing commitment to one’s teaching development results in instructors that,

  • aim to continuously improve and adapt their teaching in response to students' needs and contextual factors,
  • proactively look to improve their teaching, adopt new practices, change ineffective habits, and innovate in their classrooms,
  • engage in additional teaching development to improve and increase their teaching skills,
  • engage with other instructors and faculty members to discuss teaching practices,
  • appreciate receiving constructive formative feedback on their teaching,
  • experience an increase in confidence in their ability to teach their courses well,
  • see improvement in their teaching evaluations, and
  • develop a sense of community among faculty and instructors across the institution that are committed to improving their teaching to improve their students’ learning outcomes.

Interested in participating?

Below are the steps to guide you through the classroom observation process.

Step 1. Find a Teaching Observation Partner(s)

The Teaching Academy recommends receiving a minimum of two observations so that instructors receive feedback from two different perspectives, thus aim to form a triad in which you will give and receive two classroom observations. Consider whether you prefer to partner from within or outside of your discipline area - there are benefits to both!

Step 2. Pre-observation Preparation

Instructor: complete this form.

The instructor receiving the observation should complete this form which will automatically email the observer in advance of (ideally 1-week prior to) the scheduled observation appointment.  Some of the information included in this form and in the email communication include the following:

  • A copy of the course syllabus and any other relevant course materials (e.g., slides and readings for the to-be observed class). 
  • 2-3 goals that the instructor is hoping to achieve through the observation (e.g., indicate aspects of the course that the observer should pay particular attention to or certain teaching skills that the instructor aims to improve).
  • Class logistics: if the class is meeting in person, be sure to include directions for parking, classroom location and directions to the building.  If the class is meeting remotely, be sure to include the Zoom link or directions on how to connect to the online class.

Step 3. Conducting a Classroom Observation

Observer: use this form for your teaching observation.  

This teaching observation protocol has been especially developed for you to use to document student and teacher activities and dynamics during and immediately following your observation.

Step 4. Post-observation Feedback

Instructor and Observer: Meet to discuss!

This is a very important final step! The instructor and observer should schedule a time after class to debrief, this can be done in-person or remotely (e.g.. via zoom). The completed observation form will automatically be emailed to the instructor. If additional notes were handwritten, the observer may choose to scan or take a photo of the notes to share them electronically if not meeting in person. 

Consider meeting in the library, a café or on Zoom.  The Teaching Academy can provide a coffee/tea coupon to the Brody Daily Grind or a $5.00 Starbucks gift card. Email teachingacademy@jhu.edu to request one!
Tips for the instructor
  • Remember to send (use the form provided) a copy of the course syllabus and any other relevant course materials to the observer before the scheduled appointment, but ideally at least one-week before the observation.  If the class is meeting in person, share directions for parking, classroom location and directions to the building.  This serves as a helpful reminder and provides you the opportunity to communicate your goals for the observation to your observer (e.g., are there certain things about the course you’d like your observer to pay particular attention to or are there certain aspects of your teaching that you are currently looking to improve).
  • Most students are curious about the presence of a visitor in the classroom, be it in-person or a synchronous online class.  It is good form to introduce the observer using their name and to explain the purpose for their visit.  Most students are typically impressed to learn that their instructor is participating in a program to help improve their teaching skills.
  • Keep in mind that it is a good idea to avoid classes in which there is little interaction between the instructor and the students (e.g., a test day). 
  • Please be aware that your observation data will not be used for any formal evaluation of the individual instructor and will be kept completely confidential. However, we may use information collected to help us validate and improve the Teaching Observation Partners program and protocol.

Tips for the observer

  • Resist the urge to participate in the class activities.  Focus on observing to provide the instructor feedback.
  • Class times vary considerably. Observing an entire class session from start to end offers the best and least disruptive experience for the instructor and the students. If scheduling conflicts prevent observing the entire class, discuss with the instructor the least disruptive means of entering/leaving the class. 
  • Plan to arrive 10 minutes early to check in with the instructor and be introduced at the beginning of the class.
  • Please contact the Teaching Academy with any questions or concerns about how to document classroom activities and provide your constructive feedback.
  • Arrange to meet with the instructor(s) to provide feedback.  This is an opportunity to provide more detail and give context to the written feedback and to learn from each other!  Consider meeting in the library, a café or on Zoom.  The Teaching Academy can provide a coffee/tea coupon to the Brody Daily Grind or a $5.00 Starbucks gift card. Email teachingacademy@jhu.edu to request one!

Questions? Kelly Clark, kelly.clark@jhu.edu

Teaching Philosophy and Statements

A teaching philosophy statement helps instructors reflect on their own path to teaching and empowering students. These statements are often used to help teachers define their philosophy, track their growth, and reflect deeply on their teaching theory and practice. They also are used to apply for an academic positions.

A Teaching Philosophy Statement should describe an instructors:

  • conception of how learning occurs,
  • approach to facilitating student learning,
  • beliefs about why they teach the way they do (reflection questions are provided below),
  • goals for themselves and for their students,
  • teaching practices and how they support their beliefs and goals,
  • approaches for creating an inclusive learning environment,
  • strategies for assessing student learning, and
  • interests in new techniques, activities, and types of learning!

Below are some resources to help guide the development of your teaching philosophy and write your teaching statement. If you would like feedback on your teaching statement, please email your request, along with an electronic copy, to teachingacademy@jhu.edu. 

Teaching Philosophy Statement Guide
A short guide to developing a teaching philosophy and writing the teaching statement. 

Educational Philosophies Overview
There are many different types of philosophies in education. In this brief overview, only the four main types of philosophies are summarized - Perennialism, Essentialism, Romanticism and Progressivism.  Understanding educational philosophies can help inform your teaching philosophy and write your teaching statement.

Educational Philosophy Self-Inventory
To find out which teaching philosophy to ascribe to, take this brief self-inventory!

Rubric for Teaching Philopsophy Statements
Assess your statement using this helpful rubric (Kaplan, O’Neal, Meizlish, Carillo, & Kardia, 2007).

Additionally resources:

Cornell University

Presentation on "How to Write a Teaching Statement"
Dr. Megan Sampley Bohn, Assistant Director, School of Medicine Office of Postdoctoral Affairs, Johns Hopkins University

Annotated Teaching Statement example
Dr. Richard Brown, Krieger School of Arts and Sciences, Johns Hopkins University

Vanderbilt University Center for Teaching

Washington University of St. Louis

4 Steps to a Memorable Teaching Philosophy

Improve Your Teaching Skills

Johns Hopkins Medicine's Institute for Excellence in Education (IEE) has compiled a series of valuable resources in this website with a goal to provide practical teaching tips, promote self-reflection, network and share ideas. Visit here: https://improveteaching.med.jhmi.edu/

Teaching Assistant Manual

The Teaching Assistant Orientation has developed a manual for TAs called “Making the Difference.” The manual lists general teaching resources available at Hopkins – e.g., TA-specific services offered by the library, services offered to students with disabilities, faculty responsibilities in working with such students, etc. Printed copies of the TA Manual are distributed at the TA Orientation in September and are available from the CTEI throughout the year.

Teaching Assistant Training Videos