9 Consider Portfolio Thinking

 “Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes.”
Carl Jung, Swiss psychiatrist

What is Folio Thinking?

Folio thinking is characterized by a personal awareness of one’s own contribution, value, and responsibility. It requires individualized thinking, context-creating communication infrastructure and may use technology-based knowledge management. In other words, you may be posting your thoughts online. You will be undertaking a reflective practice of creating a personal portfolio for the purpose of creating coherence and making meaning. This will draw on:

  • Experiential processes
  • Reflective thinking
  • Analytical thinking
  • Thinking about your thinking

Why is it Important to Create a Portfolio?

In today’s education system there is a strong move to assess student learning by having them develop portfolios that showcase their understanding and development. In BC, this is now a part of the high school curriculum and many other programs and content areas have and are implementing them to enhance and expand the depth of education and understanding. What is somewhat surprising is that there has been little done to support and encourage those who tutor or teach to do the same thing for themselves. Among those whose primary role is to instruct in a particular discipline most faculty professional development is done in their specific subject areas with significantly less time spent thinking about or acting on considerations of teaching and learning (Silverthorn, Thorn, & Svinicki, 2006). Peter Seldin (1991) notes that: “An historic change is taking place in higher education: teaching is being taken more seriously. At long last, after years of criticism and cries for reform, more and more colleges and universities are reexamining their commitment to teaching and exploring ways to improve and reward it.” Everyone who assists in the learning process is being held accountable, as never before, to provide clear and concise evidence of the quality of their assistance.

This is an opportunity to synthesize and publicize your work on self-assessment, reflection, and analysis on the knowledge, skills, and attitudes of your teaching practice and focus on student learning. Others may not intuitively understand how a particular activity, publication, or process demonstrates your tutoring philosophy and provides support for student learning (Smith 1993, 1995). It is important to develop a clear, detailed vision of what a portfolio needs to be for you and to identify samples of successful portfolios that resonate (Arter et al. 1995; Chappell and Schermerhorn 1999).

What is a Tutoring Portfolio?

Tutoring Portfolio: A comprehensive record of your activities and accomplishments, created by you, and will include:

  • Qualitative assembling of evidence of good tutoring, facilitation, and other activities.
  • Documents the content & quality of these activities.
  • Descriptions, thru documentation over an extended period of time, of the full range of your abilities as a tutor.

This is intended to present your tutoring achievements & major strengths in the areas of:

  • Self-assessment
  • Interpretation by others

It is also an opportunity for self-reflection and demonstration of growth along with your understanding yourself as a tutor. As a Kwantlen tutor you have been doing exercises that you will now be using as the basis for your Tutoring Portfolio.

A Tutoring Portfolio is a story about you and who you are as a tutor and a learner. They may include some or all of the following:

  • Examples of what you have learned about tutoring others,
  • What you do as a learning leader in your preparation and tutoring,
  • Your private and public scholarship of tutoring,
  • A description of your journey as a tutor,
  • Connected with a reflective narrative of your growth, values, future vision, and plans.

Portfolios may go well beyond this list and are a way to show your capacity and to showcase your focus on learning for yourself and others.

Identify Information for Inclusion in a Tutoring Portfolio

Whether you are a new tutor or have years of experience, now is a good time to begin to develop a portfolio. The product and effect will grow over time and provide long lasting rewards. The good news is that, as a KPU tutor you have been working on the content of your tutoring Portfolio since you started tutoring.

Any artifact that can be captured may lend itself to being part of a portfolio. Text, graphics, video, audio, photos, and animations are all candidates for inclusion and each of these categories have many sub genres. You can start by identifying what you have in your “Experience Trunk” – all of those items that you have created or worked with during your time as a tutor – all evidence that may be used as part of your portfolio.

However, you probably will not want to use everything that you collect. While an encyclopedic approach is possible, it is often counter-productive as it diffuses information and often overwhelms the viewer.

First, ask yourself. “For what purpose am I creating this object?”

Secondly, identify the audience that you intend to reach. Contemplation and analysis of these two elements will allow you to filter your information and plan an approach that will focus your evidence to heighten impact.

Thirdly, think about the things that you have created in your time tutoring. This will include session plans, learning tasks, reflective journal entries, handouts to help your tutees, feedback that you have received, your response to feedback, and anything else that you have done as a tutor.

Your next task is to look for the artifacts that you already have or might be in the process of creating.

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