Friday, 05 September 2014 15:57

EPC 3403 - Week 2 - Portfolio Approach to T&L

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Review of Portfolio Approach

3 spheres portfolio 2Leslie,P. (ND)

Although I will be editing this diagram, we can have a look at how it will support your work in the classroom and in the wider school community. 


This is you. This is you saving your work in places where you can easily access it in order to be able to access it not only later, but right now, or in the next few hours or days.

I have been pursuing a portfolio approach to my own work for a number of years. One significant finding from the span of time involved is the accumulated wisdom and access to ideas that is absent and from which even experienced practitioners have not benefited. In a recent conversation with a colleague about the process of developing portfolios with students, the colleague commented that, “Even I can't exactly remember what I did last semester so how can I expect my students to remember?” This perhaps is one of the best advertisements for the approach.

Similar to the concept of the time span of discretion discussed in a previous article, the longer the span of time a practitioner can capture and access through their own portfolio of work, the more beneficial will be that work and portfolio. As Ishmael (2007) notes, “It isn't until a network pf pathways is set up between pockets [of information] that the full potential of the additional structure is realized.” (p. 5).

Reflexive representations and non-reflexive representations of ourselves

How do we combine the view we have of ourselves with the view that others have of us? Ismael (2011) discusses the difficulties that we have of trying to reconcile the two views. A portfolio of one’s work can take the practitioner a long way towards being able to represent one’s work to their colleagues.

These benefits extend well beyond the individual practitioner as well. Despite being a personal sphere, this area extends outwards to our community and into a demonstration of competency for our stakeholders as practitioners. From a passive sharing perspective, the fact that this practitioner is not collecting demonstrations of competency for the rest of us to share is in someway irresponsible, especially when considering that the practitioner is an educator.

Community Sphere

How does the concept of cognitive apprenticeship help to focus social construction of knowledge? In terms of the community, the apprentice is a part of the community. In a more traditional version of an apprenticeship, the apprentice and the master may form the extent of the community however with the use of 21st century tools, that community can be greatly expanded. And indeed, as Leslie (2013) notes, the teaching presence, which in the traditional model would come from the ‘master’, can also come from the other apprentices as they solve problems and share the answers with their colleagues. The discussion board format is one way in which this can occur. With the proper tools the discussion board contents can be preserved and shared through an individual’s portfolio to contribute to a demonstration of competency and can also serve as a record for the person themselves or for other apprentices or students. Another similar tool is the journal and daily reflections. For practice teachers out on a placement, the journal should be viewed as an indispensible part of the experience. As many experienced will tell the less experienced, teaching can be an isolating experience and if you are in a school by yourself, this effect is significantly compounded.

Similarly to the concept of the situated self and the reflexive and non-reflexive representations of ourselves we also have the idea that through our portfolio and collection of work, we can present information actively that is intended for study or for projects in which the students may be engaged. However there is also a strong element of passive presentation as others may come to our work without our knowledge and learn from our work. 

Tasks for week 2

In our two hour session, we will review the various tools we are going to need to complete our tasks effectively and successfully.

  • Presentation tools
    • ___________________
    • ___________________
    • ___________________
  • Assessment and monitoring tools
    • ___________________
    • ___________________
    • ___________________
  • Administrative tools
    • ___________________
    • ___________________
    • ___________________
  • Reflection Tools
    • ___________________
    • ___________________
    • ___________________

Next, we will begin to review our portfolios and prepare them for vigorous and continuous use.


Ismael, J. (2007). The situated self. New York: Oxford University Press.

Leslie, P. (2013). Discussion Boards for Assessment.

Read 4205 times Last modified on Sunday, 07 September 2014 13:40
Dr. Paul Leslie

Associate of Taos Institute:

Education is a Community Affair. 

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