Dr. Paul Leslie
Education is a community affair. To facilitate the creation of knowledge within our learning environments, we must make our own thinking visible and explicit to our community so that others may view our thoughts and feel welcome to share their own. Freire (1996) tells us that the truly reflective and liberated educator lets others see their ideas, and welcomes all reflections and differences of opinion. In this way, we create for our students and colleagues, “the possibilities for the production and construction of knowledge".
This philosophy is translated into action through my working portfolio at www.paulleslie.net where my thoughts and actions are made visible and explicit to my community. By welcoming others’ ideas into our community, I promote an environment of epistemological freedom. By making clear our community’s educational goals and aspirations, any student, from kindergarten to university, will be inspired to participate, because they will see how they can fit into the community.
I create in my educational communities and classrooms the opportunity for all participants to contribute their teaching presence to the community, which then drives the relational construction of knowledge. Teaching presence gives all community members not only permission to question each other, but demands from them that they challenge each other to push their knowledge and understanding forward.
Practically, I promote the use of technology to support our interactions, and to allow each member of our academic community to see what all other members are doing, and to contribute their own expertise and experience to the community. I believe that the use of technology as collaborative mind tools to support our interactions allows us to spend more time considering our ideas and less time simply gathering and manipulating them.
I also employ, and encourage the use of concept maps in order to let my community represent their thoughts in a non-linear manner. I try to explain all concepts that I introduce to my communities with maps to represent the interconnecting, sequential, non-sequential, concurrent and consecutive notions that make up an overarching concept.
I try to help my students, young and old, draw connections between their concrete, experiential knowledge and abstract concepts that attempt to make sense of their experiences. Relational constructionism tells us that we attach our own meaning to knowledge and in order to do so, we must be able to make connections in our own minds between experience and thought. Relational practice is reflective practice.
Each individual brings their own understanding to the world and it behooves us as educators to acknowledge and celebrate each individual and encourage them to make their thinking visible.
I use the following documents to support my applications for positions as lecturer or professor.
- EDU 4203 - Curriculum Development - Sample of curriculum document - lead author
- Professional Portfolios to Demonstrate "Artful Competency" - Sample journal article
The attached image shows the poster that advertised my PhD defense at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel on October 13th, 2015.
On October 13th, 2015, I successfully defended my PhD degree against a panel of five professors from the VUB and the Taos Institute. See the degree here.
My wife, my brother and his wife and a great friend joined me at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (The Free University of Brussels) to watch me present my findings and then defend against the panel. The defense itself took over two hours.
I am very happy to report that it was successful and that I am now able to call myself, "Dr." Paul Leslie.
This presentation has been created for the public defense of my thesis, entitled, "Narratives of Learning: The Portfolio Approach".
Narratives of Learning by Paul Leslie is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
On May 28th, 2015, the Al Darary Kindergarten held workshop for teachers on teaching methods. Prior to the workshop, while visiting the school to observe students we had placed there, I ran into a former student of mine who was now a teacher at the school.
She told me about the conference they were planning and on behalf of the Sharjah Education Program, I volunteered to coordinate some of our faculty and our Mobile Learning Unit to visit the school and participate in the conference.
In the end, I was able to bring the Mobile Learning Unit and secure the cooperation of three of our faculty to present workshops with me:
The conference proved to be a successful test of my initiative to create community workshops that can be reused and tailored to take advantage of the Mobile Learning Unit.
In May of 2015, the Sharjah Education program was asked to prepare and deliver a series of workshops to the Umm Al Quwain Education Zone. I accepted the request on behalf of the program and recruited a number of faculty to assist with the project.
Click here to see the original help page as designed in the Sharjah Mahara Portfolio Platform, that I managed during my time there. The page has been copied from the site for effect and so some of the features do not work as originally designed.
The workshops were delivered to the UAQ Education zone using the iPads on Wheels Mobile Learning Unit.
Published: Professional Portfolios to Demonstrate ‘Artful Competency’
e-Journal of Business Education & Scholarship of Teaching Vol. 8, Iss. 2, 2014, pp: 112-122. ”http://www.ejbest.org”
Paul Leslie Faculty of Education / Educational Technology, Sharjah Higher Colleges
A complaint of, and about, professionals is that they often have no way of "accounting for the artful competence" (Schon, 1983: 19) displayed in their daily work. A portfolio approach to learning (Leslie, 2012) offers educational practitioners processes through which to both demonstrate professional competencies and continue to learn from their own work. This study uses observations, surveys and interviews with teacherparticipants from a six-month project in a primary school in the UAE. It examines how the teachers begin to employ a portfolio approach in their own practice to transform the traditional portfolio into an experiential, lifelong learning process. Findings discuss how the teachers developed a greater sense of community, a range of associated skills, and allowed stakeholders including supervisors to play a much greater role in the skills development of the teachers.
Keywords: Professional portfolio; competencies; experiential; lifelong JEL
Classification: A22 ; I21 PsycINFO Classification: 3560 FoR Code: 1303; 1599 ERA Journal ID#: 35696