Individual Growth in This Particular Portfolio Term Paper

Pages: 5 (1538 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 1+  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Teaching

¶ … individual growth in this particular portfolio, we should first of all briefly refer to a general outline of a teaching portfolio, as this may provide important backup information and may come to show some trends and pointers for the portfolio and teaching methodologies we are referring to.

According to several sources, a reaching portfolio relies greatly on four main pillars: goals, responsibilities, evaluations and results. The first pillar basically refers to the teacher's aspirations for each course he teaches. These are not necessarily only strategic, long-term objectives, but also tactical approaches, such as learning students' names etc.

There are several issues worth noting here, as we refer to the particular portfolio we are studying. First of all, the impact and emphasis has been on developing the pupil's imagination. As seen, for example, in writing problems, the accent is always pointed towards imaginative skills, such as the use of metaphors and, further more, the employment of metaphorical construction in description of everyday events. One of the examples in this sense comes at the very beginning, when we are presented the vine metaphor and the way Jenna employs it to introduce her portfolio and refer to it.

On the other hand, the goals component of the teaching portfolio seems, in my opinion, somewhat limited. These limitations manifest themselves on two separate levels. First of all, we have the subject approach level. Jenna's case is revelatory here as well, as the impact put on the development of her imagination has not actually brought a change in her spelling or grammar skills. Jenna has been allowed to freely exercise something she obviously excelled in (using her imagination), while the part that needed to be worked on was left as it is. The explanation for this may be rather simple: it is much simpler to work on improving something which is already at a consistent level rather than try to raise the level for something which is underperforming. Nevertheless, the importance of grammatically correct writing cannot be underestimated.

As such, referring to the materials that Seldin (1993) notes as the most important components of a teaching portfolio, the first one, "a statement of teaching philosophy reflecting the individual's view of the teacher's role" may appear, in this case, a little limited, with the teacher aiming 90% of the teaching time at stimulating imaginative qualities in his pupil. Additionally, as a secondary mention related to this particular problem, one may notice, as an important weakness of this teaching portfolio, the fact that the teacher does not spend his time on canalizing the time spent by Jenna in her educational activities. As such, he attributes her weak spelling skills on the fact that she is not a gifted child. On the other hand, it is obvious that spelling and the fact that a child is gifted or not have little or no correlation one with the other. Spelling skills are attained by consistent periods of time spent on improving them. They are like any other skills, athletic, musical etc.

The weakness of the approach is clearly underlined in the way the teacher identifies causes for Jenna's own weaknesses. A proper identification of her problems would have led to an adequate solution in this case: Jenna, a hard-working individual as described in the case, would have been directed to spending some of her time on improving other areas of writing, consistently necessary in developing writing skills.

Parts of what we have previously discussed can also be included in the second pillar we need to refer to, the responsibilities pillar. One of the important elements and strengths of the teaching portfolio we are analyzing refers to correctly identifying and working with an individual, as well as working to improve the skills and qualities this individual has clearly shown. Additionally, the pupil has, in this case, provided an excellent teaching expertise, as well as a potential teaching material. By observing Jenna, one could improve on the very basic teaching methodology. Obviously, Jenna's model was partially assimilated ad used in the creation in one's own teaching portfolio (as described in the study). This came to show a keen observation of the individual and the capacity to adapt teaching methodology and learn from the pupil himself.

On the other hand, we may need to consider and debate whether or not the obvious benefit of observing an individual and adapting teaching methodologies according to his or her student portfolios does not have a potential weakness. This may come out of the fact that there is a danger of ignoring the collective element over the overemphasis of the individual element.

Although this is not necessarily the case here, we may be facing a possible situation where the teacher fails to observe or to see the necessities of the other members of the classroom because of his avidity to observe a sole one. We may suggest here, among the improvement solutions proposed, a wider approach, an approach that could include all members of the educational community in the classroom.

On the other hand, we need to note, among the strengths of the current teaching methodology and the current teaching portfolio, the constant upgrading and improvement applied. As such, the process of building a successful and efficient teaching portfolio is a process that follows a constant evolution throughout the year. We can thus note here, among positive aspects, the fact that the teaching portfolio is open to outside influences and that it is subject to constant improvement and change throughout the year.

The third pillar we are referring to is the evaluation level. Student and fellow teachers evaluation play an important role here and, as we have seen, the feedback mechanism, essential in this case, s well put in place: among other things, the peers have completed feedback forms to be later used in the evaluation of the teaching portfolio.

Another strengths and positive aspect to be noted in terms of the evaluating process is the involvement of all categories participating to the educational system, namely the students, the parents and the fellow teachers. In this way, the best perspective and opinions from the entire spectrum involved could be obtained and valorised.

Referring to some of the important theoreticians in the area, we may briefly point out to issues of student motivation, as related to this case. This is the first of the six different key areas that Centra (Centra 1993) recommends to be considered when evaluating. In cases like Jenna's, motivation is simply implied by the development and stimulation of those areas that students with particular interests are keen to work on. This may come as a psychological reward. On the other hand, it is also a negative form of stimulation.

If we consider time as a limited resource, we may consider that rewarding the individual with the permission to exercise certain skills may come to hurt other activities in the curricula.

Finally, the fourth pillar worth noting in a teaching portfolio are the results obtained, by the students and the teacher himself. The results are notable especially in the contribution to developing teaching methodologies, especially on issues such as using the students as a source of inspiration or involving a large spectrum of categories in the educational process.

The results of the students are also worth considering, but keeping in mind the things pointed out when referring to the teacher's set goals.

A brief overview and evaluation of current teaching skills and of the personal learning style has shown many positive aspects. First of all, learning is a complete and double-sensed process in which the teacher is keen to learn from the student and vice versa. The study has come to show that there was a lot to learn from the students in terms of portfolio creation etc. Learning methodologies are perfectly… [END OF PREVIEW]

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