Preservice Teacher Portfolios as Autobiographies

By Frederick, Lynda; Mcmahon, Rebecca et al. | Education, Summer 2000 | Go to article overview

Preservice Teacher Portfolios as Autobiographies

Frederick, Lynda, Mcmahon, Rebecca, Shaw, Edward L., JR., Education

As competition for teaching positions continues to increase, educators have learned a valuable lesson from corporate America -- professional portfolios can be the deciding factor in obtaining employment, especially for the beginning teacher. As a result, teacher education programs have increasingly required the development of a professional portfolio by student teachers in recent years (Giuliano, 1997; Machado & Meyer-Botnarescue, 1997). Sherbet (1997) views the primary reason for portfolio implementation as enlightening preservice teachers that part of being a professional is self-monitoring and taking responsibility for assessing one's own accomplishments and skills.

Portfolio is the generally inclusive term used to represent documentation ranging from a thick collection of personalized products to an accumulation of select, standardized materials, all of which differ in contents, construction, and means of evaluation (Wolf & Dietz, 1998). Despite these immense variations, all portfolios are developed according to the individual portfolio's purpose (Giuliano, 1997). Understanding the rationale behind developing a portfolio is essential for success.

Employment portfolios are defined by Wolf & Dietz (1998) as "customized and attractive collections of information given by teachers to prospective employers that are intended to establish a teacher's suitability for a specific professional position ... to busy administrators or hiring committees in an accessible way" (p. 16). According to Giuliano (1997), the visual nature of portfolios emphasizes originality and can make a lasting impression on prospective employers when viewed amongst the surplus of traditional resumes and cover letters.

When generating a portfolio for job-seeking purposes, Hurst, Wilson and Cramer (1998) offer the following premises: portfolios are reflective compendiums of self-selected artifacts; they are representations of teaching credentials and competencies; they offer holistic views of teachers, and they provide documentation for strengthening interviews. Items generally found in an employment portfolio include a resume, letters of recommendation, a few exceptional samples of teacher and student work, as well as reflective comments about the teacher's philosophy or practices (Wolf & Dietz, 1998). Other suggested items include official documents, photographs, video and/or audio tapes, self-goals, lesson plans, thematic units, reflections and inspirational items (Hurst, Wilson & Cramer, 1998).

In a recent study, Oswald (1999) surveyed administrators, teachers, and parents serving on site-based decision making councils as to their portfolio preferences. Although there was some variation among rural, suburban and inner-city school councils, overall results revealed five items as those most important for inclusion in an employment portfolio - resume, lesson plan, transcript, discipline plan and reflections/ self-evaluation.

Regardless of the items selected for inclusion, functional portfolios must be able to stand alone without requiring extensive explanation by their creators (Guiliano, 1998), thus, emphasizing the need for clearly distinguished sections and a table of contents, as well as brief narrative descriptions to accompany each artifact In addition, Oswald (1999) suggests assembling a summary portfolio, such as a pocket folder, containing a few key items which may be left with prospective employers as a reference once the interview is complete.

Given the growing use of portfolios in the hiring and placement of teachers, preservice teachers must be exposed to the concept of building a professional teaching portfolio for job-seeking purposes. This article provides the necessary information for creating just such a portfolio.

Essential Components

The essential elements of a compelling employment portfolio for preservice teachers can be divided into the following three categories: Emerging Professionalism, Teaching Skills and Classroom Management Abilities, and Community Involvement. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Cite this article

Cited article

Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25,

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Preservice Teacher Portfolios as Autobiographies


Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25,

    New feature

    It is estimated that 1 in 10 people have dyslexia, and in an effort to make Questia easier to use for those people, we have added a new choice of font to the Reader. That font is called OpenDyslexic, and has been designed to help with some of the symptoms of dyslexia. For more information on this font, please visit

    To use OpenDyslexic, choose it from the Typeface list in Font settings.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search


    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.