How to Develop a Philosophy Statement

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Developing ideas for a philosophy statement takes time, patience and thought. A philosophy statement is an important personal document that may help open the door for a graduate school program or land a position in teaching or business. Artists use philosophy statements to give the viewer a deeper appreciation and insight into their work. The first step in writing a philosophy statement is developing your thoughts and ideas in an organized manner.

  • Write down thoughts and ideas about your past experiences and background, your present work and future career goals and aspirations.The writing process helps to engender and clarify your thoughts. Concentrate on the past experiences, educational as well as personal, that were significant for your development. Make a list of the values that are central to your work and that shape your philosophical perspective. Make another list of the important mentors and influences that helped to shape your philosophical perspective.

  • Shape your statement around three topics -- why, what and how. Explain to the reader why you do what you are doing. For example, if the philosophy statement is intended as a teaching philosophy statement, explain the reasons why you chose teaching as a profession. Present the general reasons but then give specific examples as well. Talk about why the age group you are interested in teaching is significant to you. The "what" portion of the statement allows you to present your credentials -- professional and personal -- that make you an attractive candidate. Explain what you teach and what you offer to a school, the children and your colleagues. Finally, the "how" part of the statement should give specific teaching methods, objectives and goals. If the philosophy statement is intended as a philosophy of art statement, cater the why, what and how topics to the reader and audience interested in learning about your approach art in general and about your art in particular.

  • Summarize your philosophical viewpoint and perspective in one to two paragraphs. Asking to put your philosophical viewpoint in a nutshell is a difficult task. Refer to the lists that you have made as you thought about and reflected on your work. Determine what the most important elements in the list are in regards to your values, influences and experiences. Find an eloquent way to convey a summary of your philosophical perspective to the readers. Your statement should appeal to the readers and make them interested in you and your work.

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