Clinical Experiences Handbook
Professional teaching portfolio
What is a professional teaching portfolio?
“A teaching portfolio is a structured collection of evidence of a teacher’s best work that is selective, reflective, and collaborative, and demonstrates a teacher’s accomplishments over time and across a variety of contexts” (Edgerton, et. al, 1991). Unlike a resume, a portfolio captures the complexities of teaching and demonstrates your professional and personal growth. A portfolio is a living document that constantly evolves with the maturation of your teaching style and philosophy of teaching.
Why should I create a professional teaching portfolio?
Many initial licensure programs at the University of Minnesota will require you to create a professional teaching portfolio centered around the Minnesota Standards of Effective Practice for Beginning Teachers. Creating this portfolio will allow you to demonstrate how you meet these standards through examples of your course work, classroom experience, and work or volunteer experience. The process of compiling your portfolio will help you become aware of areas in which you are particularly strong, as well as those in which you need further development. In this way, it is an excellent tool for self-assessment. As you work on strengthening all areas of your teaching practice, your portfolio will evolve to reflect that growth.
The process of portfolio development provides an opportunity to reflect on your personal development and to illustrate the strengths and skills that are unique to you. It may also motivate you to create goals that will direct your professional future.
A portfolio is also a tool for you to use when looking for a teaching position. Your portfolio will show prospective employers your best work, giving them a much better picture of who you are as a beginning teacher, and expanding on the information that can be found on a resume and transcripts. An employment portfolio can be assembled separately, or can be assembled using relevant pieces from your professional teaching portfolio.
How do I construct a portfolio?
Your portfolio may be kept in a three-ring binder or filing system so that you can easily upgrade the materials to reflect your growth as a teacher. You may also consider creating an electronic portfolio. More information about e-folio, an electronic portfolio, is included in this appendix. It is recommended that you use the Minnesota Standards of Effective Practice for Beginning Teachers as the framework for your portfolio. Below is an outline containing some examples of items you may want to include in your portfolio. Remember, these are just ideas to help get you started — this is a chance for you to be creative and express your personal uniqueness, skills, and abilities.
- Title page
- Table of contents
- Letters of recommendation – These could differ from the letters in your credential file.
- Teaching philosophy – What are your beliefs about teaching and learning, and how have you tried to put these beliefs into action?
The bulk of your portfolio will include exemplars demonstrating your ability to meet each of the ten Minnesota Standards of Effective Practice for Beginning Teachers. It is recommended that you include a section, clearly labeled, in your portfolio for each standard. Be choosy – select your finest work so as not to include too much information. Each section may include:
- Lists of pertinent coursework along with brief descriptions of the courses whenever possible. These courses can be from your undergraduate or graduate level courses. The same courses may appear in several different sections of your portfolio since most will address more than one standard.
- Projects and assignments from coursework, such as papers, projects, curriculum, and lesson plans.
- Narratives or descriptions of work or volunteer experiences.
- Published reports/documents.
- Certificates, awards, and honors.
- Narratives of paid and non-paid experience.
- Audiotapes, videotapes, and photographs from your classroom.*
We recommend eFolio Minnesota. There are many electronic portfolio products available including the University of Minnesota’s portfolio system for students, faculty, and staff: https://portfolio.umn.edu/portfolio/index.jsp. Licensure candidates are encouraged to select the electronic portfolio product that best meets their needs. The next section describes how to get started with eFolio Minnesota and apply the University of Minnesota teaching standards template.
Getting Started with eFolio Minnesota
- Go to eFolioMinnesota and select the sign-up button on the efolio home page to create your account. This account will provide access to your Web (portfolio) site.
- eFolio Minnesota allows you to create three types of Web
Here you are asked to enter a custom code in order to define the design for your portfolio. The University of Minnesota has provided custom codes for your convenience.
Custom code: “umteacher”
- Complete the eFolio signup form by providing your name,
e-mail address, birth date, username, password, etc.
Retrieve your efolio account information from the email address you specified on the form. The e-mail will contain your Web site address, username, and password. Your Web site address will look as follows: http://janedoe.efoliomn.com.
How do I use my portfolio in a job search?
While it is becoming more and more common for prospective employers to use portfolios as part of the interviewing process, your professional teaching portfolio as a whole may not always be appropriate for the job search. You may choose to create a smaller, more concise version for an interview situation. Prior contact with the hiring official may help you determine exactly how much information you should present in your portfolio. Here are some suggestions for what you may include:
- The introductory section from the professional teaching portfolio, including resume, transcripts, letters of recommendation and your teaching philosophy.
- A classroom management plan.
- One or two examples of your finest lesson plans.
- One or two examples of assessments you have used.
- Letters and/or evaluations from students or parents.
- Pictures of special events, bulletin boards, and your classroom.*
- A reflective piece.
For additional information on creating a portfolio, you may refer
to the American Association for Employment in Education’s Job
Search Handbook for Educators. If you do not already have this
resource, you may pick up a copy at CEHD Career Services in 40 Ed
Sciences Building [map]
56 East River Road.
Edgerton, R., Hutchings, P., & Quinlan, K. (1991). The Teaching Portfolio: Capturing the Scholarship in Teaching. Washington, DC: American Association for Higher Education.
* When using videotapes, audio tapes, photographs, samples of student work, and journal entries, matters of privacy must be taken into consideration. If your portfolio is being used for public or employment purposes, written permission must be requested from the participants represented in your exemplars. In the case of students, written permission is required from a parent or guardian. It is usually best to avoid or delete names of individual students, as well as posed or formal photographs of individual students.
Examples of how you might illustrate your competency in each of the Standards
Standard 1 – Subject matter
- Brief course descriptions of classes you have taken that are relevant to the subject you are becoming licensed to teach. Much of this will be reflected in your undergraduate studies. Include courses from your major and minor areas of study.
- Projects and papers completed in through courses.
- Descriptions or narratives of real-world experiences you have had which relate to the subject matter you will be teaching such as a study abroad experience, projects, picture documentaries, and grants.
Standard 2 – Student learning
- Demonstrations of your understanding of cognitive theories through papers or projects that address the multiple ways in which students learn.
- Narratives of experiences in which you have seen a variety of developmental abilities in students
- Examples of your ability to assist students in strengthening their reading and writing skills.
Standard 3 – Diverse learners
- Examples of diversity projects you have completed through coursework or activities in which you have participated.
- Lesson plans demonstrating ways in which you have helped students understand their cultural differences.
- Examples of units that incorporate ideas which assist students in understanding issues of diversity.
Standard 4 – Instructional strategies
- Lesson plans that demonstrate a variety of teaching methodologies, such as Socratic questioning, higher-order thinking skills, and cooperative learning.
- Examples of technologies you have used in your teaching.
- A performance package developed that demonstrates your understanding of the Minnesota Graduation Rule.
Standard 5 – Learning environment
- A classroom management plan.
- Written anecdotes of how you have created a positive environment for learning.
- Pictures (i.e. bulleting boards) that demonstrate how you create the classroom environment.
Standard 6 – Communication
- A narrative about the different communication styles you use in order to motivate students.
- Videotaped examples showing you in action and demonstrating your ability to communicate with students.
- Examples of how you have incorporated technology into your classroom, i.e. Web page development.
Standard 7 – Planning instruction
- Examples of how you apply learning theories to your teaching.
- A large unit of instruction which you have assembled and instructed.
- Examples of curriculum proposals which you have created.
Standard 8 – Assessment
- Examples of the varieties of assessment strategies you have used.
- Your philosophy of grading, evaluation, and/or assessment.
- A demonstration of your understanding of authentic assessment through use of rubrics.
Standard 9 – Reflection and professional development
- A narrative on how your teaching has changed and grown as you gain experience.
- Descriptions of seminars, activities, and courses in which you have participated in that have contributed to your professional growth.
- Student evaluations/assessments of your instruction.
- Membership and roles in professional organizations.
- Honors and awards.
Standard 10 – Collaboration, ethics, and relationships
- Examples of activities that you have used to draw parents into the classroom.
- Examples of how you connect students to the community.
- Partnerships, relations, and projects with community agencies.