The following links to on-line examples of teaching philosophies by sdfsb346f


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(1) I've never had to do a portfolio before, what does it look like?

It can be done as you feel most appropriate to your discipline.

At GU it is common to gather evidence for each of the intended learning
outcomes and put them into a ring-binder, along with a 'claims' section that
reflects on practice and links to the evidence provided. Some undertake the
portfolio in a website format with a URL and links between claims section and
evidence (which they have scanned previously, where necessary).

There are some examples of portfolios kept in the resource room of the Learning
and Teaching Centre. If you wish to see them please contact Margherita Bovell

Below is an example of guidance on portfolios from York University. Many of the
underpinning themes here are similar to ours.
  York University's guidance on portfolios


(2) How long/big should a portfolio be?

Ah, that question. The portfolio is neither a Masters dissertation nor a doctorate
and it is important you don't try to approach it as such.

In simple terms - it doesn't have to be over 6-7,000 words long in the claims
section. On the whole most portfolios are too large because of the amount of
evidence amassed, rather than the length of reflective writing that accompanies

Tip 1 You only need two pieces of evidence for each intended learning outcome -
pick the evidence most representative of the range of your teaching.

Tip 2 Try to keep your critical reflection statement within the range of 6,000
words. There's nine ILOs. Even allowing for some variability in size of a few of
the sections, you wouldn't be expected to write more than a 1,000 words of
reflection for each section.
(3) What's an 'academic practice philosophy statement'?

This is often the opening part of your portfolio. It is there for you to express an
overview of your beliefs and assumptions behind how you approach your
academic career with respect to teaching, research/scholarly activity, and

For this portfolio, it needs to explore assumptions and beliefs that you hold
as an academic - ie not just a teacher. However, you might find the following
guidance with respect to statements of teaching philosophy useful as a guide to
the sort of themes you might cover. This is a document from University of Dublin-
Trinity College, found at:
  Centre of Academic Practice, Trinity College, Dublin

Tip 1:
Most of us have some sort of implicit, operational philosophy that underpins how
we approach and do the various roles and tasks of being an academic.

      What, for example, do you think ‘makes a good academic?’
      What roles do your previous experiences of teaching, learning, research,
       and service play in your answer to this?
      What role do your assumptions about what ‘makes a good academic’ play
       in how you now perform as a teaching, researcher, administrator?

Tip 2:
The following links to on-line examples of teaching philosophies may be useful as
tools to get you started on writing the introduction to your portfolio. However,

              remember that the NLTP programme asks you to reflect on
              your academic practice per se, not teaching in isolation.

From: Developing a Philosophy Statement and Teaching Dossier
Jeanette McDonald, Wilfrid Laurier University, Waterloo, Ontario
Canada (Originally prepared for Teaching Support Services, University of
Guelph, Guelph, Ontario.)

Online Examples of Teaching Dossiers and Philosophy Statements
Jeffrey Allen Phillips, Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of
Carolyn Austin, Department of English and Comparative Literature, University of
Kye, S. Hedlund, Computing Science, University of North Carolina
Yvonne Unrau, Department of Social Work, Illinois State University
Don G. Wardell, Department of Management, University of Utah
Bruce Wagner, Department of Mathematics, Iowa State University

Tip 3:
In your academic practice statement you can offer an introduction to your
approach to teaching (a philosophical statement) that outlines:
         what your aims are for the folk you are teaching,
         why these aims are important to you – and,
         what they illustrate about your beliefs of 'good teaching' (ie are you
           tutor centred or participant centred - do you want to transmit info or get
           the listeners to generate it for themselves through inquiry and
This last bit effectively answers the question: How do your actions as a teacher
reflect your beliefs about teaching and learning your group of 'students'?)

Tip 4:
For broadening your teaching philosophy into an Academic Practice philosophy,
consider the following materials:

Scholarship-Teaching Links

Consider the following questions:

   1. What do you consider to be the scholarship aspects of your academic
   2. How do these relate to what and how you teach (if they do)? Or
   3. How would you like them to relate to what and how you teach (if they

   1. How do your research/scholarship and teaching requirements integrate
      with your service/management/administration requirements (if they do)?
   2. How would you like your research/scholarship and teaching requirements
      to integrate with your service/management/administration requirements (if
      they don’t)?

Draw up your responses to these questions and consider how you would
illustrate your answers through providing evidence of your practice.
You’ll find more conceptions of research-teaching linkages at:

(this is an organic site to which myself, Vicky Gunn, and my colleague, Steve
Draper, welcome feedback and suggestions!)

(4) I haven't a clue where to start. Any tips?

If you have writer's block with respect to the portfolio, I'd suggest a few things:

(a) Have a look at the peer feedback form that is supplied in the portfolio section
of this site (it’s the one with the reflective questions for each of the intended
learning outcomes).
(b) Convert the reflective questions into questions that you could ask yourself
about your academic practice.
(c) Answer the questions, thinking of which bits of evidence you could use to
illustrate your answers.
(d) Draw the text together as either continuous prose with headings or, if you feel
adventurous, something like a dialogue where you have a fictional questioner
and you supply the answers.

An example (in template form) of this might like thus:

   Does the portfolio include a rationale expressing how and why someone does
    course design?
   Have they referred to any of the models of course design offered within the
    NLTP (or from their subject centre)?
   If the person only designs sessions, has there been any attempt to express
    how session design may or may not map onto broader principles of course

Converted to questions you could answer in the portfolio:

I designed a session/course in the following way: (your description).
Why did I do it that way?
I designed the course this way because:
(1) I wanted the students to learn the following things:
(2) I believed this was the best choice of methods to achieve these
What informed how I went about the design process?
I came to this process of design through:

(1) previous experience (elaborate)
(2) communication with my colleagues (elaborate)
(3) literature on course design (elaborate)
(4) departmental requirements (elaborate)
(5) external professional body requirements (elaborate)
(6) advice from my HEA subject network (elaborate)

How does this process compare with the model illustrated on the Programme
and upon which the programme specification documentation at the university are
(cf: Course Design Handbook 1, supplied above)

You need to do this with two different areas of teaching you have designed
ie pick two from a whole course / a lecture session / a small group teaching
session/ a programme / different PBL sessions/ a fixed-resource session / clinical
teaching session etc

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