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Participants' opinions on the usefulness of a teaching portfolio

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Whether teaching portfolios achieve their aim of stimulating teachers' professional development is favourably affected by the incorporation of a balanced structure and effective social interactions, such as coaching. We explored teachers' experiences with a teaching portfolio that was structured by teaching roles, portfolio assignments and conversation protocols. The related social interactions consisted of meetings with peers and personal coaches. Teachers' and coaches' opinions were sought about the benefits and the enabling and disabling factors of the portfolio structure and the social interactions involved. Method 

Five teachers and their personal coaches were individually interviewed about their experiences with the portfolio. Protocols were analysed using a top-down strategy. Results 

The teaching roles were helpful in analysing teaching, but the assignments and the conversation protocols were too detailed and directive. The social interactions were perceived as very valuable for professional development, particularly the meetings with personal coaches. Conclusions 

The portfolio structure and social interactions, especially personal coaching, appeared to be helpful for teachers in analysing their teaching practice. The assignments and protocols, however, were too detailed and directive. This may be resolved by using assignments and conversation protocols more flexibly and enabling adjustment to personal learning needs. The high appreciation of personal coaching might be related to the freedom for teachers to choose their own coach. The results can be used by portfolio designers as guidelines for how to achieve a balanced structure and effective social interactions and how these might be combined to increase the benefits of working with a portfolio to teachers.
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Keywords: *attitude of health personnel; *documentation; *psychology; *staff development; education; humans; learning; medical; medical/*methods; professional practice/standards; students; teachings/*methods

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: ICLON, Graduate School of Teaching, University of Leiden, Leiden, The Netherlands 2: Department of Educational Development and Research, Medical School, Maastricht University, Maastricht, The Netherlands

Publication date: 2006-04-01

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