What Should be Included in a Teaching Portfolio?

[Based on extracts from The Teaching Portfolio by Peter Seldin, Anker Publishing Co., Inc., Bolton, MA, 1997]

“Because the portfolio is a highly personalized product, no two are exactly alike. Both content and organization differ widely from one faculty member to another” and from one field to another. “The items chosen for the portfolio depend on the teaching style of the professor, the purpose for which the portfolio is prepared, and any content requirements of a professor’s department or institution.”

“Based on empirical evidenc


e, certain items clearly turn up in portfolios with much more frequency than others”:

Materials from Oneself

Materials that show that you have worked to improve your teaching and how you have done so.

  • Statement of teaching responsibilities (course titles and numbers, enrollments, required or elective, graduate or undergraduate)
  • A reflective statement describing personal teaching philosophy, strategies and objectives
  • Representative course syllabi detailing content and objectives, methods, readings and requirements
  • Description of curricular and instructional innovations such as new course projects, materials, and class assignments and assessment of their effectiveness
  • Steps taken to evaluate and improve one’s teaching including changes resulting from self evaluation, time spend reading, and teaching goals for the next few years

Materials from Others

Materials from outside sources commenting on your development as a teacher.

  • Statements from colleagues who have either observed the teacher in action or who have reviewed his or her teaching materials (e.g., course syllabi, assignments, testing and grading practices etc.)
  • Student course or teaching evaluation data
  • Distinguished teaching awards or other recognition of teaching abilities.
  • Invitations to present at a conference on teaching (either in one’s discipline or on teaching in general)

Products of Good Teaching

Materials that demonstrate the learning outcomes in your classroom and reflect on your effectiveness as a teacher. [Note: you must get the student’s permission before using any of these materials.]

  • Samples of graded essays together with comments explaining why they were so graded
  • Student publications or conference presentations on course related work
  • Statements from alumni on the quality of instruction
  • Samples of student papers, creative work, and reports (perhaps together with successive drafts and the professors comments on how each draft could be improved

Other Items that Might be Included

  • A videotape of the instructor teaching a typical class
  • Participation in off-campus activities relating to teaching
  • A statement by the dept. chair assessing the teacher’s teaching contribution to the department
  • Description of how instructional technology has been used to promote learning

The portfolio should “integrate documents and materials from oneself and others, as well as the products” of good teaching into a coherent teaching profile. It should be supplemented and adequately supported by an evidentiary appendix. (To improve coherence, a small evidentiary appendix may be addended to each section of the portfolio.)

Both portfolio and appendix should be of manageable size. Eight to ten pages plus supporting materials is sufficient. A table of contents should be provided to help the reader navigate the portfolio and to give a sense of the overall structure. The portfolio should also include a cover sheet with the teacher’s name, department, college and institution, and the date.


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