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What is a Teaching Portfolio?

Whether it's called a dossier (Canada), portfolio (Canada & United States), or profile (United Kingdom), the concept isn't new. The Canadian Association of University Teachers first published its Guide in 1980, and it is still the authoritative resource in Canada. The teaching portfolio as an effective way for teachers to reflect upon, describe, and document their teaching philosophy, goals, and achievements.

Our Standards for Promotion and Tenure at the University of Saskatchewan make it a requirement that all candidates create promotion and tenure case files. In all but name, these files are teaching portfolios that document and describe your philosophy, activities, achievements and plans in teaching. - University of Saskatchewan, Standards for Promotion and Tenure, October 2001, D2.

A Portfolio is:

  • A personal record drawn up and compiled by the teacher, often according to institutional, departmental, or college guidelines.
  • A structured means of reflection on one's work, a process of self-evaluation and goal setting.
  • An approach to teaching enhancement whereby a teacher can gauge successes, opportunities for improvement, and means for their fulfillment.
  • A means of presenting information for job search or career enhancement, such as promotion, tenure, job application.  In short, creating a portfolio involves reflection, collection, selection, and connection.

Six Steps are Involved:

  1. Clarify your teaching responsibilities.
  2. Reflect on your teaching goals, philosophy and style. Consider using the Teaching Perspectives Inventory (available in the Teaching Porfolio Resources section).
  3. Organize the material to support your purpose and the evaluators' guidelines or needs.
  4. Write the statement of philosophy.
  5. Select and append your best evidence, connecting it to your statement of philosophy. You want to provide enough evidence to convict you of the charge of excellent teaching.
  6. Show your draft to a colleague or instructional developer.


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