Documenting Your Teaching: Creating a Teaching Portfolio
·What is a teaching portfolio?
It's a collection of materials documenting your strengths and accomplishments as a teacher. Peter Seldin, author of The Teaching Portfolio , says, "The portfolio is to teaching what lists of publications, grants and honors are to research and scholarship." As such, a teaching portfolio is an important asset while you are on the job market. But more importantly, the teaching portfolio is an invaluable tool for on-going professional self-development.
·What should my portfolio include? There is no one formula for preparing a teaching portfolio. However, portfolios typically include a brief table of contents, a personal statement, evidence of effective teaching, and supporting materials from others. Your portfolio is not an exhaustive compilation of everything that reflects your teaching performance. It's a selective compilation making the best case for your effectiveness as a teacher.
Personal statements are generally 2-4 pages long and may include the following items: 1) an overview of your pedagogical philosophy, strategies, and objectives; 2) a summary of your past and present teaching experiences; 3) a description of steps you have taken to evaluate and improve your teaching, including changes you have made along the way; and 4) an outline of the appended supporting materials (such as syllabi, exams, and handouts) that you are including in your portfolio.
·Evidence of Effective Teaching
You may wish to submit: 1) syllabi of courses you have taught ; 2) sample tests, lab exercises, and fieldwork assignments; 3) sample class notes and handouts you have used; and 4) an audio or videotape of you lecturing or leading a discussion section. (Videotapes made by CTL can be purchased at cost.)
You may include: 1) statements from professors with whom you have worked as a teaching assistant*; 2) statements from professors, other teaching assistants, and colleagues who have observed you in the classroom*; 3) student evaluations of your teaching (forms available at CTL); 4) documentation of teaching/development activity with CTL staff, including written results of student small group evaluations and video consultations.
*Please note, however, that professors may prefer to write a confidential letter for your CDC file or to an institution considering you, since a confidential letter usually carries more weight.
There is no one way of compiling a teaching portfolio but teaching portfolios are often best prepared in consultation with others. As you put your portfolio together, seek the advice of your academic advisor, other TAs, and members of the CTL consulting staff. One great benefit of assembling a teaching portfolio is that it helps you become more articulate about your teaching strategies as you review and reflect on your work, consult with others, and clarify your pedagogical aims. And remember, your portfolio is not set in stone. The contents will change as your teaching experience and insight grow.
For more detailed information and sample portfolios, consult the following resources in the CTL library (4th Floor Sweet Hall): Peter Seldin's The Teaching Portfolio (Anker, 1991) and Russell Edgerton et al., The Teaching Portfolio: Capturing the Scholarship in Teaching (American Association for Higher Education, 1991). CTL staff members are also available to discuss your portfolio plans.
Call us at 3-1326 or e-mail us at TeachingCenter@stanford.edu. And check out the full array of resources available to you on the CTL Website: http://www-ctl.stanford.edu/.