Teachers and Leaders Portfolio

Teaching or leadership portfolios are an established, professionally recognised and formal method of reflecting on your own practice and developing your strengths as a teacher or leader.  Your teaching or leadership portfolio should be more than a collection of materials; it is a document where you clearly demonstrate how well you carry out your roles and responsibilities as an educator.

A teaching or leadership portfolio can show school leaders and others who are supervisors:

⦁ Your philosophy of teaching or leadership in a concise statement;
⦁ Your ability to interpret the TSS/school leadership standards, deliver curriculum and to fairly assess your students or your progress as a leader ;
⦁ Your ability to make positive changes in your classroom and your school; and,
⦁ A range of evidence that supports your good practice.

In summary, your teaching or school leader portfolio shows:

⦁ What you teach or lead;
⦁ How you teach or lead; and,
⦁ Why you teach or lead in the way you do.

Teaching and school leadership are complex activities. Your teaching or leadership portfolio allows information from different aspects of your teaching or leadership to be brought together in one place.  It allows your work as an educator to be personalised and considered according to your unique situation. Your situation changes according to what subject you teach, year level, class size and even student ability.
Teaching is a creative profession.  As teachers and leaders, we all plan and deliver our lessons or lead our schools a little differently and we all have our own personalities and styles.  So, your teaching/leadership portfolio should reflect your individuality.

While your portfolio will be unique to you, the term ‘portfolio’ is not used loosely.   A good teaching portfolio is not a ‘filing cabinet’; it is an ordered collection of materials selected to describe you as a teacher or leader and to demonstrate the effectiveness of your approaches and the quality of your outcomes.  Portfolios collect the evidence of your good teaching and are important for your career.

Your philosophy of teaching or leadership is personal.  It is usually a short statement of about one page or about 250 – 300 words.  Some people find it useful to start out by presenting their philosophy of teaching or leadership in dot points.
Your philosophy of teaching or leadership should be a brief and clear statement expressing your beliefs, attitudes and values regarding teaching and learning and your role as an educator.  Your statement should include your goals for your students or for your school and how you see yourself helping them to achieve those goals.

In some ways, your philosophy of teaching or leadership statement is like an introduction to your portfolio.  What you say in your statement must be supported by the materials that you choose to include in your portfolio.  Your portfolio provides real examples and a demonstration of your philosophy.  It is evidence of how you teach or lead according to your philosophy.
Your philosophy of teaching or leadership is usually a ‘work in progress’ and as your portfolio develops it will change.  The development of your philosophy of teaching or leadership, like your portfolio, is a reflective process.  You will probably re-write your philosophy of teaching or leadership statement many times over the next couple of years as you fill in other sections of your portfolio.
We will be offering specialised modules in the CPD program to help you bring together all of the various aspects of your portfolio.

Reflective writing against teaching or leadership standards is an important aspect of your portfolio.  Reflection is more than a descriptive activity.  There are many models and we will share some of these with you throughout your CPD journey.
Reflection involves thinking about and learning from your own practice, and the practice of others, to gain a new perspective on the challenges of being a teacher or leader.  Reflection improves judgement and increases the probability of taking informed action when you are faced with a challenging situation in the future.  This is the sort of thinking that you are required to demonstrate to obtain an advanced diploma, or level 6 of the Pacific Qualifications Framework.

When we start out writing reflections, many of us begin by describing what happened or how it made us feel. This is alright as a starting point but we need to take that further, including discussing your ideas in the context of the research literature and adding some references to that literature.  True reflection goes beyond this step and might include answering questions like:
⦁ Why did that happen?
⦁ Why did it make me feel that way?
⦁ How and why have I changed since the last time that happened?
⦁ What have I learned and how might I react differently in a similar situation in the future?
Sometimes we reflect as we teach, reflection-in-action, thinking about behaviours and reactions as they happen.  So, we reflect and teach at the same time.
Sometimes we reflect after we teach or after we do our work as a leader, reflection-on-action, taking advantage of the distance to review, analyse and evaluate.  This helps us to understand what happened and how this might inform our future practice.
Both types of reflection are useful.

There are many different types of evidence that can be used in your portfolio.  We like to look at evidence in terms of:
student reactions – student evaluations, student interviews, informal class feedback, student logs or journals (or if you are a school leader, teacher reactions, parent interviews etc)
student learning – student pass or failure rates, parent feedback, student self-reported knowledge or skill gains, examples of student work
self-review – teaching philosophy, teaching journal, self-reflection, approaches to student learning
peer review  – lesson planning, lesson content, assessment and feedback practices, teaching and learning strategies, peer observations of classroom teaching
Generally, there are no hard and fast rules that say what you may or may not include in your teaching or leadership portfolio.  For assessment purposes, however, your teaching or leadership portfolio must demonstrate a set of standards and competencies which reflect your professional role and values, including:
⦁ a statement of your philosophy of teaching or leadership;
⦁ a statement of your teaching or leadership goals;
⦁ an understanding of each of the teacher service standards and competencies or leader standards and competencies;
⦁ lesson plans, schemes of work and teaching aids with examples of how they link to the curriculum and your approaches to teaching and learning or how you support teachers to improve in lesson planning and their classroom practice;
⦁ examples of students’ work showing a range of abilities with your feedback and marked against your assessment criteria; or how you work with teachers to help them to improve
⦁ analysis of feedback from students, parents, peers and self;
⦁ reflections from classroom observations and professional conversations; and how you support improvement,
⦁ sections from your teaching or leader ⦁ journal.
We will be offering help to bring together all of the various aspects of your teaching or leadership portfolio.
Assessment tasks are explicitly linked to your teaching portfolio and your assessment tasks will be able to be placed straight into your portfolio.  Every time you finish an assessment task you will have completed a section of your portfolio.
We are here to help you continue your journey to become the best teacher or school leader that you can be for the children and youth of Kiribati.