Portfolio Overview

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. The 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 Materials & Technology (ELT MT), except as noted below :

- teaching philosophy
- one unit plan (four lesson plans and accompanying materials)
- one reflective journal
- teaching demonstration (ELT only)
- educational website (ELT MT 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 Presentation


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 their progress and development as language teachers as a result of studying at GS TESOL. Example comments might be about:
- the students’ teaching context (classroom situation) and how it influences their teaching practice
- reflections that the student has made as a teacher and as a student of GS TESOL
- the students’ opinions about issues in TESOL 
- 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. The 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. Therefore, 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 participating in 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.


ELT students should not show the teaching demonstration video; however, ELT MT students are encouraged to show relevant parts of their educational website.