You are on page 1of 4

Teaching portfolio offers a means to promote better teaching and to document teaching

achievement. Discuss the concept of a teaching portfolio and its importance to an


I. Definition
There are various definitions of what teaching portfolio is. Fry and Ketteridge
(2003,p.242) define teaching portfolio as a personal record of achievement and professional
development as a university teacher. Fry and Ketteridge elaborate that it is a carefully
selected and structured collection of material that may demonstrate a level of attainment, a
range of skills and activity and/or progression (2003,p. 242).
Abrami, dApollonia and Rosenfield ( 20) define teaching portfolio as a
comprehensive collection of descriptive and evaluative information on individual faculty
teaching, which might include a statement of teaching responsibilities, course syllabi,
instructor self evaluations, a description of improvement efforts, peer assessments,
participation in teaching conferences, videotapes of instruction, student exams and essays,
alumni ratings and so on (p.392-393). Morss and Murray (2005,p.7) provide a short yet
succinct description of the dual functions of teaching portfolio when they describe it both as a
collection of the educators works and the evidence of the educators works.
II. Forms of teaching portfolio
There are many forms of teaching portfolios. (Seldin,Miller and Seldin (2010,p.6)
provides an example of a content page of a teaching portfolio.Such a portfolio might include
the following entries :
Teaching Portfolio
Name of Faculty Member
Table of Contents
Teaching Responsibilities
Teaching Philosophy
Teaching Methodologies
Student Evaluations for Multiple Courses
Classroom Observations
Review of Teaching Materials
Representative Course Syllabi
New Instructional Initiatives
Evidence of Student Learning
Statement by the Head of Department assessing the lecturers teaching contribution to
the department.
Teaching awards.
Teaching goals.

The forms of teaching portfolio evolve in tandem with technology. Contemporaneous

with the hard copy, written ones, teachers and educators are increasingly preparing teaching
portfolios in digital or electronic form. Teaching portfolios developed and displayed in digital
format are often called digital teaching portfolios, multimedia portfolios, electronic portfolios
(e-portfolios), e-folios and webfolios (Ndon 2010, p. 373).
III. Why the need to prepare teaching portfolio?
There are many reasons why educators prepare teaching portfolio. For example,
faculty members are invariably being made accountable to provide some type of evidence of
the effectiveness of their teaching, teaching portfolio therefore is a way in which to provide
such evidence (Bernstein, et. al., 2006 as cited in Gurung and Schwartz 2009,p.68).
Seldin,Miller and Seldin (2010,p.6) list down other reasons why teaching portfolio
should be prepared by faculty members as follow :

Portfolios can be used to determine award winners among educators in a learning


In case of retirement, portfolios serves as written repository of a professors tacit

knowledge through which the professor transfers his/her experience to faculty
members who takes over their position.

Teaching portfolios are like company profile for a learning institution whereby it
provides data on the teachers performance to persons and organizations operating off
campus, such as government agencies, boards of trustees, alumni, the general public
and advocacy groups.

However, according to Seldin,Miller and Seldin (2010,p.6), there are two most often
cited reasons for preparing teaching portfolios. The first one is to provide evidence to be used
by the management in personnel promotion decisions. The ability of a teaching portfolio to
provide the management with importance information on what individual professors do as
teachers, why they do it, how they do it and the outcome of what they do, is the central reason
why the management of a learning institutions require their professors/teachers to prepare
teaching portfolios. Because the portfolios contain various data, portfolios provide the
management with solid evidence/material from variety of sources. This material enables the
management to better recognize and evaluate the effectiveness of faculty members as
teachers inside and outside of classroom. When portfolios are submitted for personnel
promotion decisions, the focus should be on evidence that documents the professors best
work as a teacher and demonstrates that significant student learning (cognitive or affective)
has taken place. Other factors that should be focused in teaching portfolios when they are
submitted for personnel promotion decisions are the particular faculty members
achievements, awards and successes.
The second most cited reason is to improve teaching performance (Seldin,Miller and
Seldin 2010,p.6). Teachers and lecturers are hired by institutions with the expectation that
they will deliver first-class performance.The teaching portfolios will assist the teachers and

lecturers in this respect. A portfolio is a valuable aid in professional development of teachers

and lecturers for three important reasons : (1) the level of personal investment in time,energy
and commitment is high (since teachers/lecturers prepare their own portfolios) and all these
personal investment/sacrifice is a necessary condition for change; (2) preparation of the
portfolio moves many teachers/lecturers/professors to reflect on their teaching in an
insightful,refocused way; and (3) teaching portfolio is based on discipline-based pedagogy
i.e. the focus in a particular teaching portfolio is on teaching a particular subject to aparticular
group of students at a particular time in a particular institution(Seldin,Miller and Seldin
IV. Conclusion
As discussed above there are many benefits of preparing teaching portfolios both to
the lecturers/teachers and also to the learning institutions which employ them. On the
teachers/lecturers part, the portfolios will act like a map which guides them through the up
and downs of their teaching experience. It will also act like a reservoir of written experience
which enable them to reflect on what they have done rightly and wrongly. On the institutions
management part, teaching portfolios will make the task of deciding who merits a promotion
becomes easier and less arbitrary. As such this short paper submits that teaching portfolios is
something that cannot be dispensed with by the teaching profession.

Abrami, P.C., dApollonia, S. & Rosenfield, S.( 2007) The dimensionality of student ratings
of instructions : An update on what we know and what we do not. In, Perry,R.P. &
Smart,J.C. (Eds.) The scholarship of teaching and learning in higher education: an
evidence-based perspective (p. 385-445). The Netherland : Springer
Fry,H. & Ketteridge, S. (2003) Teaching portfolios. In Fry,H.,Ketteridge,S. &
Marshall,S.(Eds.) Handbook for teaching and learning in higher education (p.242252). London : Kogan Page Limited
Gurung, R.A.R. & Schwartz, B.M. (2009) Optimizing teaching and learning: practicing
pedagogical research. West Sussex : John Wiley & Sons Limited.
Morss,K. & Murray, R. (2005) Teaching at university: a guide for postgraduates and
researchers.London : Sage Publication Ltd.
Ndon,U.T.(2010) Hybrid-context instructional model: the internet and the classrooms: the
way teachers experience it.USA : Information Age Publishing Inc
Seldin,P., Miller, J.E. & Seldin, C.A. (2010) The teaching portfolio: a practical guide to
improved performance and promotion/tenure decisions.San Francisco : John Wiley &
Sons Inc.