The teacher portfolio as a vehicle for reflective practice

Douglas L Miller, Florida International University


This qualitative case study was limited to an eighteen-hour workshop on “Constructing a Reflective Teacher Portfolio.” The study was conducted at the Nova Center, a research and development school, in the Broward County Public School System. Six participants took part in the study. The study examined the process used by the participants as they constructed their portfolios, explored the reflective aspect of their construction, and investigated the impact that constructing a portfolio had on them and their work. Data was gathered using interviews, observations, and artifacts. Content analysis and the combined frameworks of Van Manen (1977), Smyth (1989), and Pugach and Johnson (1990) were used to examine the data. The data indicates that the portfolios and workshop were not as effective as anticipated in encouraging the participants to examine their work. The following themes emerged as a result of this study: (a) teachers begin constructing their portfolios by gathering material that represents past successes; (b) examining philosophies of education, writing a personal narrative and sharing with colleagues stimulates reflective practice; (c) teachers have difficulty expressing their personal beliefs about education; (d) creating a reflective portfolio is a constructivist process that encourages divergent products; (e) teachers initially do not recognize a strong connection between constructing a portfolio and improving their work; and (f) constructing a portfolio may be an inside-out approach to educational reform. Recommendations were presented to improve the workshop, specifically focusing on teachers examining their practices and learning from students' work. Additional study is needed to evaluate the influence of these changes in the workshop.

Subject Area

Curricula|Teaching|Teacher education

Recommended Citation

Miller, Douglas L, "The teacher portfolio as a vehicle for reflective practice" (2002). ProQuest ETD Collection for FIU. AAI3049804.