Reflective practice is aided by the use of a professional portfolio. A teaching portfolio is a record of a teacher’s classroom performance, development as a teacher, and building of coherence through reflective practice.
Functions of a teaching portfolio
To allow a teacher to track personal development
To document teaching practice for performance review
To illustrate teaching approach for potential employers
Contents of a teaching portfolio
Section 1: Background and philosophy
- professional biography: a narrative description of your professional history and the major influences on your teaching
- teaching philosophy: a description of how you teach and why, the theoretical and philosophical foundations of your approach
- information about the environment(s) where you have worked and any relevant details about courses you have taught
Section 2: Documentation of performance
- classroom materials and assignments
- professional development activities
- teaching-oriented professional service
Section 3: Evaluations
- student evaluations
- supervisor reports
- letters of support about your teaching
A teaching portfolio can be a valuable tool for you as a language instructor. The reflective work that goes into producing it will encourage you to clarify for yourself what you are doing and why. It will also help you understand the professional value of teaching.
Your teaching portfolio will allow you to present both your language teaching philosophy and the best or most interesting examples of its application in the classroom. Your portfolio should not be a static collection that you develop once and never revise; you should review and update it every year so that it reflects your growth as a language teaching professional.