Dust off the Portfolios: How to Create a Dynamic Showcase of Your Preservice Teachers' Skills; Applying an Old Idea in a New Context Creates a Valuable Capstone Experience for Physical Education Teacher Education Students

By Carlson, Jane A. K.; Kimpton, Ann | JOPERD--The Journal of Physical Education, Recreation & Dance, October 2006 | Go to article overview

Dust off the Portfolios: How to Create a Dynamic Showcase of Your Preservice Teachers' Skills; Applying an Old Idea in a New Context Creates a Valuable Capstone Experience for Physical Education Teacher Education Students


Carlson, Jane A. K., Kimpton, Ann, JOPERD--The Journal of Physical Education, Recreation & Dance


Before graduating, college students studying art traditionally host a senior art show displaying the works included in their portfolio. Why not borrow this tradition of a senior art show and apply it to physical education? Currently, most institutions of higher education ask their physical education teacher education (PETE) candidates to prepare portfolios, hard copy or electronic, as a graduation requirement. This article will explain how physical education departments can shake the dust off these portfolios and create a dynamic "showcase" of PETE candidates' work, thus transitioning seniors from preservice to professional educators.

Scenes from a Showcase

The climate in the room is electrifying, comparable to the start of a play before the curtain rises. The stage is set with chairs in the center of the room facing a portable screen and with displays on the perimeter proudly representing the senior PETE candidates' growth towards professionalism. Behind the scene, the computer and projector are set to start without a glitch. The performers of this production, the PETE candidates, who normally dress in the regulation college sweats and tee shirts, are unrecognizable in their professional dress. Attendees enter the room and are warmly welcomed and escorted by a PETE candidate to view the displays. Enthusiasm is exhibited along with professional conversation as the candidate explains the displays. After the attendees view the exhibits, the candidate guides them to the buffet table at the back of the room, where they are graciously encouraged to fill their plate and obtain a seat in the center "theater" to eat their meal. When the room is filled, the curtain rises and the showcase begins. Candidates are introduced, an outline of the presentation is given, and each pair of candidates delivers their presentation. During the delivery of each presentation, the candidates encourage the attendees to ask questions or clarify ideas and become engaged participants. As the production comes to the end, the curtain is lowered. Attendees are delighted with the performance and are fully impressed by the vast display of knowledge they have observed. A sense of accomplishment fills the candidates. Bravo! Bravo! Candidates take a bow and now feel ready for the final act, student teaching.

Why Have a Showcase?

In the past, university professors and school personnel interviewing PETE candidates were the only individuals who viewed the candidates' portfolio or body of work. To add purpose in developing meaningful and quality work by the candidates throughout the PETE program, more opportunities are needed for others to view the candidate's work. A showcase is an excellent way to accomplish this. During their last semester on campus before student teaching, PETE candidates' works are dynamically formatted through displays and presentations in a showcase.

Additionally, the showcase acts as a capstone experience in which the PETE candidates can gain confidence in moving from candidacy to professional status. Some of the showcase benefits for candidates include (1) providing experience in giving a presentation to a professional group, (2) validating their work in all PETE courses, (3) increasing the quality of their effort in the PETE program, and (4) motivating them to keep and organize their assignments with the professional quality needed for public display.

The showcase operates on the same premise, a demonstration of mastery, that underlies the requirements for a doctoral degree. As Wiggins and McTighe (1998) explain,

  The doctoral candidate not only must write a thorough dissertation,
  but also defends it in an oral exam. That is, the written thesis
  alone is not considered sufficient evidence of mastery. The candidate
  is confronted with challenges, counterarguments, and requests for
  commentary and critiques on other points of view. (pp. 85-86)

Components of the Showcase

There are two major components of the showcase, displays and presentations.

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