Teaching ePortfolios as Evidence for One’s Practicum

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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/


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