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Portfolio Development: A Journey of Self-Reflection
Unformatted Document Text:  I had gotten a Ph.D. at a university that used TAs and was disappointed that the professor wasn’t there teaching, so I knew I didn’t want to do that to my students. Fame was not a goal, teaching and being good at it was. Research was important, and giving presentations at other universities was also important for me. But teaching really is what I get the most pleasure out of. So how do I put that into words? And then what type of teaching was I doing? Why was I using the techniques I used? I had never really questioned myself as to why I do what I do. I knew that I believed rote memorization and exams that constitute 30% or more of a grade was unhelpful towards true learning. Why did I believe group and individual research and presentations really involved a deeper sense of learning for my students? Why did I believe that politics was and is not an abstract concept alien to most students, but can be exciting, real world experience instead for them? And how did I make that happen? So in essence I had to sit down and explore myself. I had to write down thoughts, beliefs and reasons why I do what I do. That begins the process of putting the pieces together to make the picture. All the other stuff is just pieces of the puzzle but not the whole. What you are doing now is the actual process of exploring and explaining who you are, you are the picture. And as one person told me, “own” your philosophy. Write about your experiences, your beliefs. According to Seldon (2004), these are some of the questions you may want to consider asking yourself before preparing a statement: • What are your beliefs about teaching? • How do your actions as a teacher reflect your beliefs about teaching and learning? • What are your aims for the students, and why are these aims important? • How have your teaching methods changed in response to changes in students, course materials and curriculum changes? • What instructional materials have you developed? • What innovative activities have you designed? 16

Authors: Jones, Sharon.
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I had gotten a Ph.D. at a university that used TAs and was disappointed that the professor
wasn’t there teaching, so I knew I didn’t want to do that to my students. Fame was not a goal,
teaching and being good at it was. Research was important, and giving presentations at other
universities was also important for me. But teaching really is what I get the most pleasure out
of. So how do I put that into words? And then what type of teaching was I doing? Why was I
using the techniques I used? I had never really questioned myself as to why I do what I do. I
knew that I believed rote memorization and exams that constitute 30% or more of a grade was
unhelpful towards true learning. Why did I believe group and individual research and
presentations really involved a deeper sense of learning for my students? Why did I believe
that politics was and is not an abstract concept alien to most students, but can be exciting, real
world experience instead for them? And how did I make that happen? So in essence I had to sit
down and explore myself. I had to write down thoughts, beliefs and reasons why I do what I
do. That begins the process of putting the pieces together to make the picture. All the other
stuff is just pieces of the puzzle but not the whole. What you are doing now is the actual
process of exploring and explaining who you are, you are the picture. And as one person told
me, “own” your philosophy. Write about your experiences, your beliefs.
According to Seldon (2004), these are some of the questions you may want to consider
asking yourself before preparing a statement:
What are your beliefs about teaching?
How do your actions as a teacher reflect your beliefs about teaching and learning?
What are your aims for the students, and why are these aims important?
How have your teaching methods changed in response to changes in students,
course materials and curriculum changes?
What instructional materials have you developed?
What innovative activities have you designed?
16


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