THE TEACHING PORTFOLIO

The Teaching Portfolio is an integral part of the Teaching Excellence Award and plays a very significant role in enabling the Teaching Excellence Award Committee to come to its decision on whom to recommend to the Senate for the Teaching Excellence Award. 

Guidance on Teaching Portfolios in general can be found from the University document on Teaching Portfolios, posted on Educational Development Centre’s website at:  https://moss.must.edu.mo/Docs/EDC/Teaching%20portfolios.pdf.  A hard and soft copy of this is available to all staff from the Director of the Educational Development Centre.  This is a large document and is for general usage rather than being targeted specifically to the Teaching Excellence Award only, so the present paper provides a more selective and focused guide on what to include the Teaching Portfolio for the Teaching Excellence Award, and how the Teaching Portfolio will be evaluated.

N.B. The Teaching Portfolio must be concise, focused and to the point.  It should avoid any superfluous material.

The Teaching Portfolio should not be more than approximately 15 pages of single-spaced text, and should be no smaller than 12 point font.  Statements of support from the nominators are not included in the page count, but all other supporting information, including letters/statements/comments of support from other parties and all other additional is included in the word count. 

What is the Teaching Portfolio for the Teaching Excellence Award?

The Teaching Portfolio is a major means by which candidates for the Teaching Excellence Award can not only present evidence of their teaching experiences, development and expertise, but of their ability to evaluate and reflect on their teaching and its development and to provide evidence of the philosophies and values which underpin their teaching.  The Teaching Portfolio should provide evidence of these philosophies and values at work in their teaching, i.e. how these are translated in practice and – centrally – in the Teaching Excellence Award candidate’s promotion of effective, high quality student learning.  

Coming out of the candidate’s reflections which are included in the Teaching Portfolio should be evidence of how these reflections have improved the candidate’s own teaching over time and have impacted on the candidate’s pursuing relevant professional development as a teacher, both in terms of the subject matter of their teaching and the teaching and learning strategies that they have developed and used.  

The Teaching Portfolio is a means for you to document, reflect on, think about and improve your teaching and your students’ learning.  It enables you to examine what you have learned from your personal experience and professional development activities, and to analyze and develop effective teaching. The Teaching Portfolio is a document of record of your development as a reflective practitioner.

A teaching portfolio is not a CV or résumé. Rather a portfolio tells a story of your performance and development in your teaching, taking into account rich contextual details (e.g. your subject matter, your experience, your students (e.g. level, experiences, characteristics, background), your class size, your timing and duration of sessions, etc.  This includes evidence, analysis, reflection, interpretation, evaluation, judgement, decision making, forward planning, evidence of action and intervention.  Its intention is to persuade the Teaching Excellence Award Committee that you are a highly effective and committed teacher who promotes high quality and effective student learning.  

Fundamentally, the effective teacher is one who promotes effective student learning, and so the portfolio should have as a main element how your teaching has addressed what students actually learn, how you know, and how effectively your teaching has promoted this, in other words the emphasis is on student learning rather than simply teacher input or transmission of facts/material.  One long-standing definition of the curriculum is what each student takes away from the teaching and learning situation rather than simply what is written in the teacher’s curriculum plan, and a key element of your portfolio is how and how effectively you have promoted effective student learning.  Your portfolio should provide evidence of this.

What should the portfolio contain?

The Teaching Portfolio should provide evidence of your achievements and performance in teaching and your ability to promote effective student learning, along with a commentary on the evidence that you present.  The portfolio is evidence-based.  It should include evidence of best practice in your teaching and the promotion of learning, your reflection and development as a reflective practitioner.  This does not mean that everything possible is included, but, rather, a selection is made of evidence on teaching activities and their effectiveness.  A portfolio often includes information on your course planning and preparation, some actual teaching examples, data on evaluation of students and feedback, and evidence that you keep up with developments in teaching and keep abreast of these.  It should particularly provide verifiable evidence of your ability to promote effective student learning.

The evidence that you include in your Teaching Portfolio can come from several sources, including yourself, your colleagues and students. The evidence base is wide and it is important to ensure that you provide evidence that you have acted on the data/evidence in respect of reflection and the improvement of your teaching over time. 

The Teaching Portfolio has no specific, required standard format, and it can be in Chinese or English.  However, it should be set out very clearly and professionally, with care taken on presentation as well as content, and you should ensure that it includes the following (further guidance on these is provided in the handbook Teaching Portfolios):

PHILOSOPHY AND VALUES 

  1. Your philosophy of, views of and values in teaching, how you have put these into practice in your teaching and how they lead to effective student learning; your pedagogical values and how you implement them. 

EVIDENCE

  2. Evidence of:

     a.      your teaching effectiveness; the educational methods you have adopted to promote effective, student-centred learning, effective teaching practices;

    b.      having promoted high quality, effective student learning, see, for example:
http://www.msche.org/publications/examples-of-evidence-of-student-learning.pdf)

    c.      strong points in your teaching and your self-identified areas for development, with future teaching objectives and corresponding plans.

    d.      your ability to evaluate your own teaching (see the Educational Development Centre’s publications: (i) Evaluating your own Teaching; and (ii) Self-evaluation for further supporting guidance);

    e.      how you have acted on your own evaluations in developing your abilities as a teacher, e.g. how your self-evaluations have impacted on your own professional development and practice. 

    f.       your positive teaching attitude and your teaching competency, how you have worked on improving these over time and with what impact on your teaching effectiveness.

    g.      Your effective student assessment and formative feedback given to students, to motivate and inspire them to learn and improve.

In other words, this includes your commentary, reflection on, evaluation of, forward planning from, and action stemming from the documentation on your teaching and the promotion of student learning.

DEVELOPMENT

  3. Activities and scholarly activities that you have undertaken to develop and improve your teaching, and evidence of your development and improvement over time as a teacher, including evidence of your professional development as a teacher and your participation in teacher development activities.

  4. Reflections on your teaching and your development as a reflective practitioner in teaching.

LEADERSHIP AND DISSEMINATION

  5. Evidence of your contribution to the teaching profession and/or your institution in respect of developing teaching and your participation in improving the teaching quality of the Faculty.

FACTUAL STATEMENTS

  6. Documentation on your teaching experiences/courses and supervisions (which can be placed in an Appendix, with a commentary provided in the main text of your Teaching Portfolio).

  7. A summary of your publications on teaching.

  8. The teaching curriculum for courses taught (which can be placed in an Appendix, with a commentary provided in the main text of your Teaching Portfolio), teaching methods, blended learning and supplementary teaching tools, methods for enhancing students’ knowledge acquisition and communication.

 

You may find the following suggestions helpful:

  • Highlight your strong points: Give a full description of teaching achievements;
  • Perform self-reflection: Clearly state personal issues which you feel will benefit from further development;
  • Be clear and concise: The teaching introduction should be clear and concise
  • Be practical and realistic. Achievements should be presented with examples;
  • Be organized: Minimize the usage of subtitles and state all cases with clear organization.
  • Keep a balance: Read assessment regulations carefully and display teaching performances from varied aspects.

 

The Evaluation of the Teaching Portfolio by the Teaching Excellence Award Committee.

The Teaching Excellence Award Committee awards a mark for the Teaching Portfolio, but also compiles qualitative data that it brings to discussions of the overall assessment of each candidate.  

The Teaching Portfolios are marked on their contents alone.  What is evaluated is not only the Teaching Portfolio itself but the teaching performance (teaching attitude and teaching competency) as demonstrated in the portfolio, and its coverage of how you have promoted effective student learning. Focus should be on evidence of effective teaching and its impact on student learning (rather than, for example, the writing or presentation style), i.e. how your teaching has promoted effective student learning, and what evidence you have of this.  

Claims/espoused conceptions should be supported by evidence drawn from multiple sources, e.g. if a student-centered conception is espoused in the statement of teaching philosophy, the teaching and assessment materials should reveal vigour and rigour in the use of active learning and more open-ended assessment while student feedback is also expected to include comments on learning activities other than didactic presentation.  Further, the reflections included in the Teaching Portfolio should be evidence based, and provide evidence of leading to efforts in continual professional development in your teaching.

It is impossible to have ‘blind’ assessment of the portfolios, indeed knowledge of the candidate, as included in the Teaching Portfolio, benefits from rich contextual detail being provided by the candidate on his own teaching practices, constraints, class sizes, subject matter etc., as this can provide important information for the Teaching Excellence Award Committee to come to an informed judgment about each candidate.  

 

CRITERIA FOR MARKING THE TEACHING PORTFOLIOS

MARKS OUT OF /10

Excellent, comprehensive and rich coverage of the areas of the Teaching Portfolio, providing extensive, reliable, verifiable (i.e. not simply self-declared), strong and clear evidence of outstanding achievement in teaching and the promotion of learning, and a very clear commitment to teaching and learning.  Evidence of being up-to-date with developments in, and good practice in, teaching and learning, and of a high ability for self-evaluation and reflection leading to improvements and professional development, and of a high ability to translate philosophy of, or values for, teaching into highly effective practice in the promotion of student learning.

 

 

 

A-, A, A+

 

Outstanding coverage of the areas of the Teaching Portfolio, providing persuasive reliable, verifiable (i.e. not simply self-declared) and persuasive, clear evidence of positive achievement in teaching and the promotion of learning, and a clear commitment to teaching and learning.  Evidence of being up-to-date with developments in, and good practice in, teaching and learning and of a moderate to reasonably high ability for self-evaluation and reflection leading to improvements and professional development, and of a moderate to reasonably high ability to translate philosophy of, or values for, teaching into effective practice in the promotion of student learning.

 

 

 

B-, B, B+

 

Reasonable coverage of the areas of the Teaching Portfolio, providing some reliable, verifiable (i.e. not simply self-declared) and evidence of positive achievement in teaching and the promotion of learning, and some commitment to teaching and learning.  Some evidence of being up-to-date with developments in, and good practice in, teaching and learning, and of some ability for self-evaluation and reflection leading to improvements and professional development, and some ability to translate philosophy of, or values for, teaching into effective practice in the promotion of student learning.

 

 

 

C-, C, C+

 

Some, but limited coverage of the areas of the Teaching Portfolio, or coverage of only or predominantly one area, providing some, but limited or poorly verifiable/unverifiable evidence of positive achievement in teaching and the promotion of learning, and little evidence of any real commitment to teaching and learning.  Little evidence of being up-to-date with developments in, and good practice in, teaching and learning, or of an ability for self-evaluation and reflection leading to improvements and professional development, or of an ability to translate philosophy of, or values for, teaching into effective practice in the promotion of student learning.

 

 

 

D-, D, D+

 

Scant, poor coverage of the areas of the Teaching Portfolio, or coverage of only or predominantly one area, providing very little or no real persuasive evidence of positive achievement in teaching and the promotion of learning, and very little or no evidence of commitment to teaching and learning.  Very little or no evidence of being up-to-date with developments in, and good practice in, teaching and learning, or an ability for self-evaluation and reflection leading to improvements and professional development., or of an ability to translate philosophy of, or values for, teaching into effective practice in the promotion of student learning. Very little or no evidence of being up-to-date with developments in, and good practice in, teaching and learning, or an ability for self-evaluation and reflection leading to improvements and professional development., or of an ability to translate philosophy of, or values for, teaching into effective practice in the promotion of student learning.

 

 

E-, E, E+