E Portfolios for Teachers – The Irish Experience

December 5, 2008 at 2:36 am | Posted in spotlight | Leave a comment

E Portfolios for Teachers

Dr Victor McNair works in Teacher education and Training at the University of Ulster in Northern Ireland.
He gave an enlightening presentation on what Northern Ireland is doing to develop e Portfolios for Teachers in Training and  through their career.  Northern Ireland is currently running a pilot with 200  teachers. The plan is to have a full scale procurement of E Portfolios by 2010 and to implement with voluntary participation  by 2012.
The presentation was excellent in terms of grappling with the philosophical and practical  issues involved in implementing such practice.
Northern Ireland is  developing a body of knowledge, to  underpin strategic decisions and pathways and have  identified challenges and issues.
NZ is at a very early stage in the development  of E portfolios for teachers. There are pockets of experimentation.  For example, Jo Kahl at Wellington Girls’ College is setting up E portfolios for  provisionally registered teachers at the college, with a view to possibly running  a shared  programme across the Wellington Loop Schools. It is a good time for us to learn  from the Northern Ireland experience.

1. What is an E Portfolio?
“A collection of authentic and diverse evidence of teaching competence that has been the subject of reflection, synthesis and selection, for presentation to a professional audience for a specific purpose”

2. E Portfolios should enhance a drive for greater quality

Teacher Career Progression
Initial Teacher Ed
Early Prof Development
Performance Review
& Staff Development
Accredited Course
Teacher Leadership
3. Teacher E Portfolios should support such career progression

Development Principles

These were presented as a cycle which started with organisational freedom and ended with ownership of content

4. The Spectrum of Applications

This is available in Dr McNair’s presentation

5. Partners
The project is being done in full partnership with the equivalent of the Ministry of Ed,  Teacher registration Board, schools etc and involves the whole of the profession.
1.    Consensus on principles, purpose and roles
2.    Assessment of community needs and tool integration
3.    Software design and development
4.    Development of the change model and scalability
5.    Policy
6.    Organising constructive professional learning

6. It is based on the principle of building Reflective practice

1.    Professional knowledge and understanding (child development, learning and pedagogy, knowledge of a particular discipline, classroom/class/people management)
2.    Application of knowledge and understanding
3.    Informed professional activity – Reflection in Action
4.    Reflection on analysis, dialogue, evaluation
5.    Growth of deeper knowledge and understanding

7. The Process
1.    Identify teacher needs and student needs ( with HOD, Mentor, PRT Supervisor)
2.    Research the teaching principles
3.    Review with mentor
4.    Develop appropriate resources and prepare
5.    Teach
6.    Review
8. Teaching and Learning Issues
1.    Support issues
2.    Refinement of processes
3.    Longitudinal research/evaluation
4.    Greater testing and sharing the innovation

Dr McNair’s presentation can be found online at: http://sofsummit.com/documents.aspx


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