In teaching and education, portfolios are documented statements of the teaching objectives, responsibilities, and accomplishments of an instructor that are useful in many ways depending on the teacher’s interests and needs. In essence, a portfolio can be a flexible and wide-ranging collection of information or narrower in focus and scope. The basic structure of a portfolio encompasses three principal parts: teaching responsibilities, the instructor’s philosophy and objectives, and evidence of the effectiveness of applied teaching approaches. The teaching responsibilities part outlines the teacher’s actions and responsibilities, offering a supportive narrative concerning the size, level, content, special circumstances, and other appropriate elements for the period under discussion. The goals and philosophy section addresses the “why” element and the specific outcomes that the instructor anticipated among students and personally (Seldin, Miller, & Seldin, 2010). Portfolios offer a valuable opportunity for the instructor to learn from practice through a review of personal approaches in teaching and the effectiveness of outcomes in the context of teaching objectives, and hence improve and develop experience for greater productivity in future practice.
I believe that creating and maintaining an electronic portfolio is essential to facilitate convenient and structured documentation, description, and reflection on an instructor’s progress in teaching practice. By creating and maintaining e-portfolios, an instructor can benefit immensely from participation in communities of practice, which enhances situated, distributed, professional, mediated, and social learning and knowledge based on communication and feedback from others. E-portfolios afford instructors an open environment in which they can publish their experiences and approaches and benefit from formative assessments by teacher educators (Granberg, 2010; Mackrill & Taylor, 2008). I concur with the assessment that collection, selection, and reflection on content are essential in development of portfolio because these processes yield primary information on the teacher’s practice – philosophy, approaches, actions, outcomes, objectives, and rationale (Seldin, Miller, & Seldin, 2010). Educators can utilize and assess such information to provide feedback and evaluations that can enable the instructor to improve productivity in teaching practice.
Granberg, C. (2010). E-portfolios in Teacher education 2002-2009: the Social Construction of Discourse, Design, and Dissemination. European Journal of Teacher Education 33(3): 309-322.
Mackrill, D., & Taylor, S. (2008). Flashport – the Next Generation in E-portfolios? The Use of Portable applications as e-portfolio Tools in Teacher Education. Journal of Systemics, Cybernetics, and Informatics 6(6): 80-85. Retrieved from: http://www.iiisci.org/journal/CV$/sci/pdfs/QE051HT.pdf
Seldin, P., Miller, J., & Seldin, C. (2010). The Teaching Portfolio: a Practical Guide to improved performance and promotion/tenure Decisions. New York: John Wiley and Sons