Teaching Perspectives Inventory (TPI) and Reflective Teaching



One of the activities we do in GMCTE’s Introductory Instructional Skills course is the Teaching Perspectives Inventory (TPI) to help participants define what “good teaching” looks like to them.

Five different perspectives related to teaching are reflected in the TPI. Most people hold one (maybe two) dominant teaching perspectives; many also have a “back-up” perspective. The five perspectives are not necessarily mutually exclusive, but represent very different and sometimes opposing beliefs about teaching.

The five perspectives in the TPI are:

  • Transmission – Content is king (or queen) in this perspective. Teachers are responsible for presenting the subject matter correctly, systematically, memorably and efficiently.
  • Apprenticeship – This perspective reflects a belief that good teachers are skilled practitioners in their disciplines; they not only “know about” what they teach but can break down ordered tasks in order to lead students toward mastery of skills.
  • Developmental – Teachers with this perspective plan and teach “from the learner’s point of view”; they first must understand how their students think and learn in order and then adapt the subject matter in order to make it accessible and meaningful.
  • Nurturing – Caring about, encouraging, challenging and supporting students in a safe environment is the hallmark of this perspective. Teachers consider the individual growth and development of students, as well as student performance and achievement, in their approaches to teaching and assessing the subject matter.
  • Social Reform – The goal of teaching in this perspective is to encourage students to develop commonly held values and ideologies within their disciplines, in order to ultimately change collective society rather than only the individual learner.

The inventory also includes sub-scores for Beliefs (what you believe about teaching), Intention (what you intend to accomplish), and Actions (kinds of activities you actually use) within each of the five perspectives. This can help to highlight incongruities between your beliefs, intentions and actions in teaching.

The TPI is an excellent way to help you clarify your own particular orientation to teaching.  You can take the TPI online for free at http://www.teachingperspectives.com/drupal/take-survey, as well as print out specific information about each of the perspectives.

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