All students within the Graduate School of TESOL (GS TESOL) who have chosen the portfolio as part
of their graduation requirements must follow the guidelines in this document for creating the
portfolio and preparing for its presentation.
The portfolio will evolve from course work studied during the program as well as any professional
experiences that the student may have. In this way, the portfolio will represent the student’s
achievements of knowledge, skills, and dispositions as a TESOL professional.
The purpose of the portfolio is to present convincing evidence of student learning, improvement in
professional practice, and competencies as an educator within the field of TESOL. e portfolio and
its presentation should meet the following criteria:
- be integrative, showcasing the synthesis and application of ideas across GS TESOL courses
- be demonstrative of the student’s learning within the GS TESOL program
- link TESOL theory and research to practice
- be of personal use to the student as well as educationally valuable to an audience of peers
Students will accomplish these criteria through a process of self-reflection and critical evaluation of
the courses that they have taken during their graduate studies. In doing so, creating a graduating
portfolio will enable the student to think more critically about teaching approaches, skills, and
attitudes held prior to entering the GS TESOL program, and how they have since been shaped,
modified, or enhanced through interactions with faculty, advisors, classmates, students and others.
In essence, a student’s graduating portfolio is an illustration and reflection of one’s educational
personality and experiences within the field of TESOL. To this end, the main components of the
graduating portfolio are the same for both GS TESOL departments - Department of English
Language Teaching (ELT) and the Department of English Language Teaching Content Development
(ELTCD), except as noted below :
- teaching philosophy
- one unit plan ( four lesson plans and accompanying materials)
- one reflective journal
- teaching demonstration video (ELT only)
- educational website (ELTCD only)
While the following guidelines in this booklet are intended to provide a roadmap on how to best
construct a graduating portfolio that reflects teaching skills, knowledge, and experiences, there is
also ample opportunity for the student to put their own personal stamp of ownership. It is hoped that
the graduating portfolio will illustrate a culminating experience as a capstone project in the GS
TESOL program, and become a source of pride and accomplishment that can also be used in future
employment and educational endeavors.
Finally, in terms of constructing a graduating portfolio in a timely manner, students should start
developing and/or compiling portfolio components at the beginning of the third semester, with an
expected completion date to be determined in the second-half of the fourth semester of study.
Portfolio presentations consist of a 5-minute setup period, 10-minute presentation, and a 10-minute
Q&A period led by a faculty panel consisting of three members (two evaluators and one supervisor).
During the presentation, students are required to synthesize the content of their portfolio, primarily
explaining the connection between the following sections:
- Teaching Philosophy
- Unit Plan
- Lesson Plans and Materials
Description of these three sections should consume the bulk of the presentation time. However,
students should also spend some time commenting on the their progress and development as
language teachers as a result of studying in the GS TESOL. Example comments might be about:
- the students’ teaching context (classroom situation) and how it influences teaching practice
- reflections that the student has made as a teacher and as a student in the GS TESOL
- opinions about issues in TESOL
- comments about future ambitions as an educator
- other professional and academic developments that are relevant to or reflected in the
portfolio (work experiences, inspirational stories, academic discourse, etc.)
Begin the presentation with a brief personal introduction. Include only essential information about
yourself and information that is directly relevant to the portfolio. e faculty panel is most interested
in hearing about your knowledge of TESOL and how you feel the different sections of the portfolio
synthesize with one another. erefore, good question to answer are:
- What do I believe is the best way to teach languages, and how do my unit plan, lesson plans,
and materials reflect these beliefs?
- What are some of the key issues in TESOL that I have identified in my portfolio, how have I
reflected on those issues, and how have those reflections made me a better language teacher?
- What have I learned about myself as a language teacher and about language teaching in
general as a result of making the portfolio?
- Do I want to display any visual aids (pictures of students doing my lessons, lesson plan
materials, etc.) in order to enhance the presentation?
These questions are only recommendations; the content of your presentation is ultimately up to you.
Lastly, finish your presentation with a brief concluding thought that summarizes your portfolio and
anything else that you feel is relevant.
Note: ELT students should not show the teaching demonstration video; however, ELTCD students are
encouraged to show relevant parts of their educational website.