An important way to become a better teacher is to reflect upon what you teach, how you teach, and why you teach that way. This is often formalized as a statement of teaching philosophy, which may be included in a teaching portfolio.
What is a teaching portfolio? A teaching portfolio is a collection of materials that document an instructor's teaching performance and development. It is a receptacle for evidence of achievement, but also a process of self-reflection and self-evaluation that identifies opportunities to enhance teaching and learning. It has been our experience that faculty members at all levels of skill and experience improve their teaching when they reflect on what they do.
A teaching portfolio may be used for several purposes: to improve a course, to create a new course, for consideration for tenure and promotion, and for a teaching award. A teaching portfolio typically contains a statement of teaching philosophy plus evidence from colleagues, students, and you that documents your teaching. Teaching portfolios are evidence-based documents. The PAD provides information for use in documenting teaching.
The Office for Faculty Excellence conducts workshops on articulating a teaching philosophy. Notice of these workshops is placed on ECU Official and on the OFE Current Sessions webpage. These workshops provide a supportive environment with feedback from colleagues.
Example of a course portfolio documenting the effect of self-reflection on teaching practices by Dr. Elizabeth Barkley of Foothills College, Los Altos, California
The following publications provide additional information on teaching portfolios
- Edgerton, Russell, Patricia Hutchings, and Kathleen Quinlan. The Teaching Portfolio. Capturing the Scholarship of Teaching. Washington, D.C.: American Association for Higher Education, 1991.
- Hutchings, Pat, ed. The Course Portfolio: How Faculty Can Examine Their Teaching to Advance Practice and Improve Student Learning. Washington, D.C.: American Association for Higher Education, 1998.
- Seldin, Peter. The Teaching Portfolio. A Practical Guide to Improved Performance and Promotion/Tenure Decisions. Third Edition. Bolton, MA: Anker, 2004.
- Seldin, Peter and Associates. Successful Use of Teaching Portfolios. Bolton, MA: 1993.