When considering content for your e-portfolio it can sometimes be difficult to decide what to write about; especially when considering what the requirements might be for teacher registration or for progression along the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers (APSfts). What kinds of paperwork or stories of practice might be considered valid? In this post, we’re going to explore some of the ideas that AITSL have shared as ideas for content. The first thing to remember is, that in regards to the APSfTs, everything that you do as a teacher can be lined up with a standard. They are designed to define what our profession entails and so, with a little thought, it is often easier than you think to find connections between your practice and the standards themselves. Don’t forget that you’ve got access to a handy standards guide, right next to your post as you write and that you can use this to help you to narrow down how your evidence connects to domains, standards and focus areas.
What kinds of evidence do AITSL suggest we consider as valid – especially in relation to gathering evidence to climb along the continuum from Graduate to Lead?
In their “Certification of Highly Accomplished and Lead Teachers in Australia” Aitsl discuss direct and indirect evidence of practice. These include:
- lesson plans and supporting documentation that detail the planning and delivery of a teaching sequence and its impact on student learning
- annotated samples of student work
- analysis of student performance data and outcomes, demonstrating how this has influenced teaching strategies and planning
- documentation of assessment strategies, and their links to the intended learning outcomes feedback from colleagues, school leaders and others linked to the initiatives described in the collection of evidence
- student/parent feedback drawn from regular practice
- evidence of participation in professional learning, how it has improved teaching practice and the strategies/knowledge been applied to improve student outcomes
- documentation used to support engagement with parents, the community and colleagues. Evidence of the impact of this engagement should also be included
It is worth noting that each piece of evidence, drawn from your own work as a practicing teacher, can be used to evidence multiple standards and focus areas from the domains and standards. Collectively, the evidence will demonstrate the real impact that you’re having on “student learning, engagement in learning and well being”(aitsl, 2012) and (at Highly Accomplished and Lead) the positive impact you’re having on the practice of the colleagues you’re working with.
Interestingly, when you do decide to go through the certification process, the document also states that your evidence needs to contain two reports of classroom observation and that at least one of those must come from a senior leader. How many times do you invite others into your classroom to observe? It might be time to start inviting trusted colleagues to come in and give you some feedback. That feedback will work for both of you as evidence in your respective portfolios and get you ready for observation from your senior team at school.
The whole idea of the certification process to is celebrate your achievements through the 7 standards. The more you work with the standards, the more clear it will become that pretty much every aspect of your job is tied to one of the Focus Areas somewhere. The ‘standards guide’ within Edufolios will help you to make connections. What may seem obvious, and perhaps not worth recording, to you, might seem revolutionary to another. I would encourage you to share as much as you can about your practice and your experiences in the classroom. Every reflective piece is another opportunity to think deeply about practice; an opportunity to grow and become a better teacher.
The teacher registration boards (TRB) know this too. That’s why they ask us to reflect upon the professional development events we have attended and connect the outcomes we have achieved with our practice and the standards. We might be able to get more ideas about what to write by looking at the professional development requirements from our local TRBs. In South Australia, for example, this flower gives us a range of options to consider. Victoria have a very similar infographic themselves, the outcomes from which we can record in our Edufolios.
In NSW, BOSTES make suggestions like:
- reflecting on teaching practice
- planning professional learning
- observing a colleague’s lesson
- attending an interesting talk or seminar, for example at a Museum or Art Gallery.
along with conversations for HA and Lead teachers about:
- mentoring and/or coaching teachers, supervising pre-service teachers including interns
- leading professional development, leading educational forums in the school, or professional teaching associations or networks
- developing and implementing projects, including research in their school and the wider education community
- writing for publications that contribute to professional knowledge and discussion for teachers.
The long and short of it is, that in relation to your reflective practice and continued professional development, if what you’re writing about “contribute(s) to [your] professional knowledge” and you can share “how [you] will apply that knowledge to [your] practice to support the learning of those [you] teach”, (“Professional Development – Victorian Institute Of Teaching”) then you’re probably onto a winner.
“Range of Professional Learning Opportunities“. Trb.sa.edu.au. N.p., 2016. Web. 6 Oct. 2016.
“Professional Development – Victorian Institute Of Teaching“. Vit.vic.edu.au. N.p., 2016. Web. 6 Oct. 2016.