01 SES 04 B, Professional Learning
® This paper presents a research project on the use of portfolio in the process of teacher professional development. It was developed in a Portuguese higher school of education. The participants were differently aged teachers enrolled in a course on supervision as part of a two year in-service teacher education program that aimed at acquiring a higher academic degree entitling them to perform supervisory roles in schools. The writing of a teacher development portfolio was one of the requirements of the course since the portfolio as a formative and evaluative strategy in teacher education is becoming a common strategy in European countries (ex.: Germany; EDIPED Comenius project) (Imhof & Picard, 2009; Makrides, 2006). At the end of the four course units, when one of the authors analysed the ninety-four portfolios she could perceive that the findings some researchers had achieved about the use of portfolios among novice teachers might also be true for older and more experienced ones she had been working with. It was then considered interesting to make it a case to study. The project evolved around a general research question - What advantages would the teachers involved in the in-service teacher education program take from the use of reflective portfolios? The answer to this question would tentatively be achieved through a content analysis of the portfolios and the responses to the following more focused research questions inspired in the questionnaire teachers had taken at the end of each semester: What are the professional developmental dimensions that emerge from the reflective portfoliosand the questionnaires? How did the portfolio writing contribute to the development of each author’s professional competence and personality? What influence did that professional and personal development have in their freedom to structure and write the portfolios? What importance did each author ascribe to the use of this strategy in the teacher education program and the assessment they had gone through? Which structuring aspects of the writing process should be privileged in the professional and personal life-long development of teachers? Then, the following research objectives were defined: to analyse the developing power of the reflective portfolios in that in-service teacher training program; to identify self-revealing characteristics in the identities of the portfolio authors; detect promising changes in their professional and personal dimensions and in their supervisory competences; analyse how far the revelation and/or awareness of those changes contributed to their own growth and the (re)structuring of their professional knowledge and competences; consider the possible advantages, disadvantages and difficulties encountered in the use of portfolios in that specific context; suggest ways of using and structuring the portfolios as a life-long reflective, professional and evaluative strategy.
Using portfolios with this group of teachers was inspired by the emerging literature about portfolios in Portugal (Sá-Chaves, 2000, 2005) and the advantages autobiographical narratives have in teachers’ development and identity awareness (Dinham & Scott, 2003; Lyons, 1998; Shulman, 1998; Vieira, 2008). We assumed that to write autobiographical professional narratives teachers need some structuring guidelines (Amaral, 2011). As van der Schaaf and Stokking (2008) state, a portfolio “can do justice to the fact that teaching is a complex activity and teacher’s behaviours are bound up with teacher cognitive and teaching context”. Getting to know one’s own professional knowledge, supervision context, and personality is important for them as supervisors and for their schools administrative boards. The portfolio contributes to this awareness which is vital for the teachers’ assessment process. So, the portfolio can be a privileged assessment tool if a dialogical context is guaranteed in order to permit the evidence to be checked (Mittendorff et al, 2008; Moreira, 2011; Vieira & Moreira, 2011).
Amaral, M.J. (2011). Contributo dos ‘portfolios reflexivos’ no desenvolvimento profissional. Um estudo de caso em contexto de formação complementar. Univ. Aveiro– Tese de doutoramento. Anderson, G. & Arsenault, N. (1998). Fundamentals of Educational Research. Routledge Falmer: Taylor & Francis Inc. Bogden, R. & Biklen (1994). Investigação Qualitativa em Educação: uma introdução à teoria e aos métodos. Porto: Porto Editora, Colecção Ciências da Educação, n.º 12. Dinham, S. & Scott, C. (2003). Benefits to Teachers of the Professional Learning Portfolio: a case study University of New England, Armidale, Australia. Teacher Development, Volume 7, Number 2, 2003, pp.229-243. Lyons, N. (1998) (ed.). With Portfolio in Hand: validating the new teacher professionalism. New York: Teachers College Press. Makrides, G. (2006). The European Digital Portfolio for Educators. In: http://www.eife-l.org/publications/eportfolio/proceedings2/ep06/ ep2006_papers/makrides Mittendorff, K.; Jochems, W.; Meijers, F. & den Brok, P. (2008). Differences and similarities in the use of the portfolio and personal development plan for career guidance in various vocational schools in The Netherlands. Journal of Vocational Education & Training, 60 (1), pp. 75-91. Moreira, M. A. (2011) (org.). Narrativas dialogadas na investigação, formação e supervisão de professores. Mangualde: Pedago. Sá-Chaves, I. (2000) (org.). Portfolios Reflexivos: Estratégia de Formação e de Supervisão. Aveiro: Universidade de Aveiro, Cadernos Didácticos Série Supervisão, n.º 1. Sá-Chaves, I. (2005) (org.). Os “Portfolios” Reflexivos (também) Trazem Gente Dentro: reflexões em torno do seu uso na humanização dos processos educativos. Porto: Porto Editora, Colecção CIDInE, n.º 17. Shulman, L. (1998). Teaching Portfolios. In N. Lyons (1998) (ed.). With Portfolio in Hand: validating the new teacher professionalism. New York: Teachers College Press, pp.23-37. Van der Schaaf, M.F. & Stokking, K.M. (2008). Developing and validating a design for teacher portfolio assessment. Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, Vol. 33(3), pp. 245-262. Vieira, F. & Moreira, M.A. (2011). Supervisão e avaliação do desempenho docente: Para uma abordagem de orientação transformadora. Ministério da Educação: CCAP – Caderno 1. Vieira, F. (2008). Portfolios as experience-oriented learning texts. Actas de ICET 3rd World Assembly. Braga: Univ. Minho.
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