Teaching ePortfolios as Evidence for One’s Practicum

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ePortfolios

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  • RUNNING HEAD: Teaching ePortfolios as Evidence for Ones Practicum 1

    Prof. Jonathan Acua-Solano

    (Infographic by The University of Edinburgh, 2008)

    Teaching ePortfolios as Evidence for Ones Practicum How practical and useful are these portfolios?

    By Prof. Jonathan Acua Solano

    Thursday, August 26, 2015 Twitter: @jonacuso

    Post 189

    Reflective self-assessment is a key competency and the most challenging aspect

    of learning to be a teacher (Jaaniten, 2013). At Universidad Latina, as part of my

    Teaching Practicum training for ELT student teachers, reflection is key to have learners

    reflect upon their teaching practice and their experiences in a classroom with real

    learners. Our student teachers, as well as any graduate instructor elsewhere, can learn

    a lot about teaching by discussing it and talking about materials and techniques but, like

    most skills, including using a language effectively, [they] cant really learn it without doing

    it (Gower, Phillips, & Walters, 2005). However, where should reflections be stored to

    attest ones teaching reflections, materials, or even lesson plans? Is a teaching ePortfolio

    the answer to the former question?

    As Jaaniten (2013) puts it, it is a constant challenge in teacher education to

    integrate theoretical knowledge with teaching practice. Student teachers or teachers in

    in-service training tend to produce lots of materials and reflect upon their particular

    teaching circumstances and challenges derived from their comprehension of theory and

  • Teaching ePortfolios as Evidence for Ones Practicum 2

    Prof. Jonathan Acua-Solano

    teaching strategies, but where is all that data going? It needs to be placed somewhere

    so others can see it. For instance, at Universidad Latina is not mandatory to keep an

    ePortfolio to store and organize thoughts and materials, student teachers are encouraged

    to keep one that can later on be used as evidence for ones teaching practicum

    experiences, especially when one lacks work experience as a language teacher with a

    tenure. By means of teaching ePortfolios that instructors can keep, the builder constructs

    meaning, makes the learning process transparent and learning visible, crystallises

    insights, and anticipates future direction (Jaaniten, 2013) in their current or future

    teaching.

    If you are still wondering what a teaching portfolio or ePortfolio is, let us point out

    some of its most salient characteristics. As it can be viewed at the Center for Teaching of

    the Vanderbilt University (n.d.), these are the most relevant characteristics of a portfolio:

    Portfolios provide documented evidence of teaching from a variety of

    sourcesnot just student ratingsand provide context for that evidence.

    The process of selecting and organizing material for a portfolio can help one

    reflect on and improve ones teaching.

    Portfolios are a step toward a more public, professional view of teaching as a

    scholarly activity.

    Portfolios can offer a look at development over time, helping one see

    teaching as on ongoing process of inquiry, experimentation, and reflection.

    Teaching portfolios capture evidence of ones entire teaching career, in

    contrast to what are called course portfolios that capture evidence related to

    a single course.

    (Vanderbilt University, n.d.)

    Student teachers learn to reflect, set personal goals, develop their teacher identity, work

    more autonomously and collaborate (Jaaniten, 2013). And the evidence of all these

    cognitive processes can be of great help for a future employer to see the potential new

    recruits can have in their school setting.

  • Teaching ePortfolios as Evidence for Ones Practicum 3

    Prof. Jonathan Acua-Solano

    The benefits for ePortfolios for language professionals or student teachers are

    many, and it is a great idea to have one of yours to be used as evidence that can attest

    ones life as a language teacher or any other kind of instructor, because through

    narrative texts, student teachers are able to express their personal voices and be heard

    by others (Jaaniten, 2013) such as their college professors, their mentors in school, their

    supervisors or coaches, and their peers. If all language teachers were into having an

    ePortfolio to validate their teaching experiences, it will be simply awesome to count with

    all this reflective journaling that can help readers understand who these teachers are,

    what these individuals aspire in their professional life, and the level of mindfulness that

    can be actually seen in their writings, planning, and so on.

    References

    Gower, R., Phillips, D., & Walters, S. (2005). Teaching Practice A Handbook for

    Teachers in Training. Oxford, GB: Macmillan.

    Jaaniten, R. (2013). Integrating Theory and Practice in FL Teacher Education. In

    IATEFL, & T. Pattison (Ed.), IATEFL 2012 Glasgow Conference Selections (pp.

    23-25). Canterbury, GB: IATEFL.

    The University of Edinburgh. (2008). What is Portfolio? [Infographic]. Edinburgh, GB,

    Scotland. http://www.scieng.ed.ac.uk/LTStrategy/eportfolio.html

    Vanderbilt University. (n.d.). Center for Teaching. Retrieved August 27, 2015, from

    Vanderbilt University: http://cft.vanderbilt.edu/guides-sub-pages/teaching-

    portfolios/