Your teaching responsibilities
Your portfolio should include a statement describing the teaching for which you have been responsible in the past. Here are two samples of such descriptions:
Dr. Vicki Adams, Western College of Veterinary Medicine
Jan.-April 2001 & 2000
HMT 781.3 Clinical Trial Design & Analysis
HMT 898.3 Special topics: Clinical Epidemiology
Graduate Student Advising and Consultation
I have consulted with several graduate students to help them refine their research plan, study design, and approach to statistical analysis. I have also analyzed data for a few graduate students with repeated measures data that required the use of SAS.
Details of Teaching Responsibilities: [. . . . ]
Professor Linda Ferguson, College of Nursing
Nursing 813.3 Clinical Teaching
This course is designed to assist graduate students to explore the role of the clinical teacher in nursing. I have taught this course 5 times over the last 5 years, including the 1996 offering through interactive TV (compressed video) to a combined group of 15 students in Saskatoon and Regina. In 1997, the course incorporated a teleconference approach to facilitate the participation of a graduate student from Regina.
This course explores the role of the clinical teacher and strategies that can be used to facilitate critical thinking, reflection, active learning, student empowerment, and development of professional skills. To this end, issues such as student relationships, power inequities in the teaching relationship, diversity among learners, ethics, and development of professional values are explored. Participants in this course are encouraged to explore the literature and apply the concepts to their particular areas of interest in clinical nursing. The class is structured on a seminar basis with discussion and critical thinking being the primary teaching strategies.
Students in this course are required to complete a 40hour practicum in application of the principles explored in the seminars. This practicum is structured to build on student strengths and interests in clinical teaching and has taken a variety of forms. Some examples include formal clinical teaching under the supervision of a college faculty, development of new strategies of teaching such as use of photography to facilitate development of concepts of care, use of learning circles, use of structured controversy, student use of clinical decision-making strategies, incorporation of higher level questioning skills among nursing students, use of case teaching, and tutoring of learning disabled students in clinical practice.
To facilitate participant reflection on the application of concepts addressed in the class, I journalled with all participants during their practica. The mark assigned to the practicum was a joint decision among the supervising practica faculty, the participant, and me.
The participants also submitted a major paper addressing a current issue in nursing education according to the stipulations of a targeted journal. The intent of this assignment was to encourage the participants, many of whom had extensive experience in nursing education, to publish well-prepared manuscripts. To this end, I provided editorial comments and a mark on the first draft of the manuscript. Participants were encouraged to revise the manuscripts on the basis of editorial comments and resubmit the assignment. Participants have commented that this strategy was very effective in the development of their academic writing skills. As a bonus, several of these manuscripts have been published in refereed nursing education journals.
Statement of teaching philosophy
Also see our samples of teaching philosophy statements.
The "Reflective Statement of Teaching Philosophy" is an important element of the portfolio. Many teachers, however, find it difficult to write that statement. It is not easy for them to reflect on and articulate what they do in the classroom and why they do it. Don't let the term "philosophy" mislead you. This very concrete section provides the foundation for your approach to teaching and the opportunity for you to introduce the evidence you have compiled. Be clear, concise and convincing. Structure your statement to demonstrate that you reflect on what you do and learn from it. Consider using headings as visible signs of organization.
Remember that the teaching portfolio is a scholarly project. As James Lang and Kenneth Bain have said:
It should contain a thesis statement, pieces of evidence, descriptions and analysis of that evidence, and a conclusion. . . . The statement of teaching philosophy lays out the portfolio's thesis. It anchors the portfolio and provides the scaffolding for the evidence that follows.
As you prepare your statement of teaching philosophy, remember that this section is the very heart of your portfolio. You could begin by asking yourself Critical, Guiding Questions [PDF]
- Ranking Your Teaching Goals [PDF file]
- Critical Incidents in the Formation of a Philosophy of Teaching
Think back to a learning experience you've had, in either formal or informal education. Choose either:
- Briefly note down what made the experience positive or negative for you.
- How has this learning experience affected how you teach or learn?
Can you derive a principle from your experience?
- For example: Active learning is more effective than passive learning.
- Or: High expectations encourage achievement.
- Do the same with a teaching experience.
Based on material developed by Stephen D. Brookfield, The Skillful Teacher (1990) and adapted by Barbara J. Millis (US Air Force Academy).
- A positive experience when everything fit into place and you felt a sense of achievement or affirmation
- An unsatisfactory experience when you felt afloat, disconnected, or frustrated
Evidence of your accomplishments
Some teachers compile the evidence of their accomplishments as an appendix. However you decide to compile the material, remember the following:
- Select material that is representative of the work that you have done
- Use material from a variety of sources: yourself, colleagues, and students.
- Make sure that the material supports the claims that you have made in your statement of philosophy
- Refer to the material in your statement of philosophy
This section contains the exemplary documents and evidence that support the claims made in the portfolio. For example, if you list creating a collaborative learning environment as an important part of your teaching philosophy, those reading your portfolio will expect to see evidence of that collaborative approach in this section.
The evidence you select should include student and peer evaluations of your teaching and course syllabi.See the University of Saskatchewan, Standards for Promotion and Tenure, February, 2002, on the Collegial Processes section of the Provost's web site.
The items that you choose will reflect your unique philosophy of teaching and your own teaching activities. As you choose the items to append to your portfolio, consider the following: variety of sources, consistency of evidence, breadth of scope, and specificity of reference.
Above, we list The Canadian Association of University Teachers' (CAUT) choice of 49 items that could be included in a teaching portfolio. Which items would you choose to include? Which do you have already? For those that you would like to include but do not have, how can you acquire them?
Look at examples of materials that other teachers have included in their portfolios (as organized on their tables of contents).
List of Possible Items for a Teaching Dossier (from CAUT)
- The products of good teaching
- A list of past and current responsibilities and practice
- Description of self-evaluation and improvement
- Information from others
- Students' scores on teacher-made or standardized tests, possibly before and after a course has been taken as evidence of learning.
- Student laboratory workbooks and other kinds of workbooks or logs.
- Student essays, creative work, and projects or field-work reports.
- Publications by students on course-related work.
- A record of students who select and succeed in advanced courses of study in the field.
- A record of students who elect another course with the same professor.
- Evidence of effective supervision of Honours, Masters or Ph.D. theses.
- Setting up or running a successful internship program.
- Documentary evidence of the effect of courses on student career choice.
- Documentary evidence of help given by the professor to students in securing employment.
- Evidence of help given to colleagues on teaching improvement.
- List of course titles and numbers, unit values or credits, enrollments with brief elaboration.
- Description of course materials prepared for students.
- Information on professor's availability to students.
- Report on identification of student difficulties and encouragement of student participation in courses or programs.
- Description of how films, computers or other non-print materials were used in teaching.
- Steps taken to emphasize the interrelatedness and relevance of different kinds of learning.
- Maintaining a record of the changes resulting from self-evaluation.
- Reading journals on improving teaching and attempting to implement acquired ideas.
- Reviewing new teaching materials for possible application.
- Exchanging course materials with a colleague from another institution.
- Conducting research on one's own teaching or course.
- Becoming involved in an association or society concerned with the improvement of teaching and learning.
- Attempting instructional innovations and evaluating their effectiveness.
- Using general support services such as the Education Resource Information Centre (ERIC) in improving one's teaching
- Participating in seminars, workshops and professional meetings intended to improve teaching.
- Participating in course or curriculum development.
- Pursuing a line of research that contributes directly to teaching.
- Preparing a textbook or other instructional materials.
- Editing or contributing to a professional journal on teaching one's subject.
- Student course and teaching evaluation data which suggest improvements or produce an overall rating of effectiveness or satisfaction.
- Written comments from a student committee to evaluate courses and provide feedback.
- Unstructured (and possibly unsolicited) written evaluations by students, including comments on exams and letters received after a course has been completed.
- Documented reports of satisfaction with out-of-class contacts.
- Interview data collected from students after completion of a course.
- Honors received from students, such as being elected "teacher of the year."
- Statements from colleagues who have observed teaching either as members of a teaching team or as independent observers of a particular course, or who teach other sections of the same course.
- Written comments from those who teach courses for which a particular course is a prerequisite.
- Evaluation of contributions to course development and improvement.
- Statements from colleagues from other institutions on such matters as how well students have been prepared for graduate studies.
- Honors or recognition such as a distinguished teacher award or election to a committee on teaching.
- Requests for advice or acknowledgment of advice receive by a committee on teaching or similar body.
- Statements about teaching achievements from administrators at one's own institution or from other institutions.
- Alumni ratings or other graduate feedback.
- Comments from parents of students.
- Reports from employers of students (e.g., in a work-study or "cooperative" program).
- Invitations to teach for outside agencies.
- Invitations to contribute to the teaching literature.
- Other kinds of invitations based on one's reputation as a teacher (for example, a media interview on a successful teaching innovation).
Shore, Bruce M., Stephen F. Foster, Christopher K. Knapper, Gillis G. Nadeau, Neill Neill, Victor W. Sirn, and with the help of faculty members of the Centre for Teaching and Learning Services, McGill University. The Teaching Dossier: A Guide to its Preparation and Use, Ottawa: The Canadian Association of University Teachers.