Compiling a teaching portfolio

What is teaching portfolio?

A teaching portfolio (TP) is a collection of evidences and reflection on one’s teaching philosophy and development (Wolf & Dietz, 1998). It raises teachers’ awareness of their underlying theoretical beliefs about teaching (Jones, 2009; Schön, 1983), exam ones’ teaching philosophy and practices, identify areas for improving teaching, and document ones’ journey of professional learning. It adds to teachers’ theories of practice through reflection-on-action, engages them in professional learning at metacognitive level (Biggs, 1998 as cited in Jones, 2009) and prompts them to implement changes in practices (Klenowski, Askew, & Carnell, 2006).

A TP can be used to present credentials to support teachers for personnel decisions on an academic position. I it can also be used as a tool for teaching development. It has become commonplace in many countries for teaching development, teacher certification, and personnel decisions (e.g. Kurita, 2011; Smith & Tillema, 2007; Tigelaar, Dolmans, Wolfhagen, & van der Vleuten, 2005; Zeichner & Wray, 2001)

How to organize and present a teaching portfolio?

TP is a record of a personal journey in teaching development. It carries personal features in terms of the purposes, contexts, beliefs, selections of evidence, and styles of presentation. It is therefore hard to have a unified form for a TP. While the forms of TPs could be different, researchers (Trevitt, Stocks, & Quinlan, 2012) suggested that a reflective TP should have at least five elements:

1.Engagement with key ideas in education, and/or the educational literature;

One shall describe in the TP concisely and specifically what s/he believes about teaching. Many choose to present their teaching philosophy statements at the beginning of the TPs.

2.Representations of practices;

This is the where one demonstrates examples of how her/his teaching philosophy and approaches to teaching are reflected in her/his practices. These can include:

  • sample of a course one teaches (e.g., responsibilities in the course, syllabus, lesson plans, assignments, assessments, and etc.)
  • sample practices (e.g., classroom practices, instructional materials, feedback to students, video or pictures of a class, support to students outside classroom, and etc.)
  • teaching development efforts (e.g. teaching development projects; one’s contributions to the scholarship of teaching such as publications, seminars, and workshops on teaching)

3.Reflective commentary – an autobiographical/autoethnographic aspect that takes an inquiring and critical stance;

The reflective element of a TP help one to critically make sense of what one has done, their value, their relationship with one’s teaching philosophy and how one might continue in the future. One could consider presenting here:

  • evidence of teaching effectiveness (e.g., teaching awards; measurement of student learning; assignments submitted by students; feedback from students, colleagues or alumni; and etc.)
  • reflection upon the evidence above
  • possible future moves

4.Integration or linkage between the first three elements

The linkage lies in the consistency between what one believes, what one practices and what one finally learns/reflects on her/his beliefs and practices. That is to say, one should be able to justify why certain approaches and strategies of teaching are taken given what one believes about teaching. In reflection, one self-evaluates whether what one believes works in reality and where one should go from there regarding one’s beliefs and practices. 

5.Sufficient breadth to include multiple aspects of teaching practices, e.g. course design, teaching, and assessment.

As mentioned in 1) and 2), a teacher needs to choose among her/his vast teaching experiences representative yet multidimensional examples that can sufficiently demonstrate the connections between her/his beliefs and practices and the effectiveness.

The most common and traditional way to present a TP is to use a written document. The online digital platforms have now provided other choices for the presentation of TPs (Lim & Lee, 2014; Samaras & Fox, 2013). Such platforms enable us to choose from a wider range of resources, such as videos of class, direct links to virtual learning platforms designed for the course, and so on, to demonstrate one’s teaching belief, effectiveness, and reflection in non-linear way.

Resources on TP

Kaplan, M. (1998). The Teaching Portfolio. The Center for Research on Learning and Teaching. University of Michigan. Retrieved from

Rodriguez-Farrar, H. B. (2006). The teaching portfolio: A handbook for faculty, teaching assistants and teaching fellows. The Harriet W. Sheridan Center for Teaching and Learning, Brown University. Retrieved from



Biggs, J. (1998). A role for sumartive assessment. Assessment in Education, 1, 103-110.

Jones, E. (2009). Personal theory and reflection in a professional practice portfolio. Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 35(6), 699-710. doi: 10.1080/02602930902977731

Klenowski, V., Askew, S., & Carnell, E. (2006). Portfolios for learning, assessment and professional development in higher education. Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 31(3), 267-286. doi: 10.1080/02602930500352816

Kurita, K. (2011). Structured strategy for implementation of the teaching portfolio concept in Japan. International Journal for Academic Development, 18(1), 74-88. doi: 10.1080/1360144X.2011.625622

Lim, C. P., & Lee, J. C.-K. (2014). Teaching e-portfolios and the development of professional learning communities (PLCs) in higher education institutions, Editorial, Internet & Higher Education, pp. 57-59. Retrieved from

Samaras, A. P., & Fox, R. K. (2013). Capturing the process of critical reflective teaching practices through e-portfolios. [Article]. Professional Development in Education, 39(1), 23-41. doi: 10.1080/19415257.2012.682318

Schön, D. A. (1983). The reflective practitioner: how professionals think in action. New York: Basic Books.

Smith, K., & Tillema, H. (2007). Use of Criteria in Assessing Teaching Portfolios: Judgemental practices in summative evaluation. [Article]. Scandinavian Journal of Educational Research, 51(1), 103-117. doi: 10.1080/00313830601078696

Tigelaar, D. E. H., Dolmans, D. H. J. M., Wolfhagen, I. H. A. P., & van der Vleuten, C. P. M. (2005). Quality issues in judging portfolios: implications for organizing teaching portfolio assessment procedures. Studies in Higher Education, 30(5), 595-610. doi: 10.1080/03075070500249302

Trevitt, C., Stocks, C., & Quinlan, K. M. (2012). Advancing assessment practice in continuing professional learning: toward a richer understanding of teaching portfolios for learning and assessment. [Article]. International Journal for Academic Development, 17(2), 163-175. doi: 10.1080/1360144x.2011.589004

Wolf, K., & Dietz, M. (1998). Teaching portfolios: purposes and possibilities. Teacher Education Quarterly, 25(1), 9-22.

Zeichner, K., & Wray, S. (2001). The teaching portfolio in US teacher education programs: what we know and what we need to know. Teaching and Teacher Education, 17(5), 613-621. doi:


About the photo: Watching the Victoria Peak from the Centennial Campus at The University of Hong Kong, filmed in 2016.

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