How to Prepare a Teaching Dossier

April 10, 2018

The first time I was asked by my department head to prepare a teaching portfolio was back in the 1990s. At the time, I had no idea what one was or how to go about preparing it. We’ve come a long way since then and now there are some terrific resources out there to help teachers, graduate students and professors prepare a teaching dossier (also known as a portfolio).

Here are some things to think about when preparing your dossier:

Elements of a Teaching Dossier.jpg

If you work at a university with Teaching and Learning Centre, check out the resources they have available. Often, these centres will host workshops or provide individual assistance to members of the university community working on their dossiers.

It takes time to develop a teaching dossier. It’s part thinking, part writing and part figuring out how to present the information to a reader who may or may not be familiar with your professional experience. Give yourself plenty of time to develop your dossier. Ask a colleague or two to look over a draft and get some feedback.

Here are some resources that I think are tremendous and will help you understand what a dossier is and how to prepare one.

Printable online resources

Canadian Association of University Teachers. (2007). Teaching Dossier  Retrieved from http://sfufa.caut.ca/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/Sample-Teaching-Dossier-.pdf

Centre for Leadership in Learning at McMaster University. (n.d.). Preparing a Teaching Dossier. Retrieved from http://cll.mcmaster.ca/resources/pdf/DossierPackage_Web.pdf

Dalhousie University. (n.d.). The Step-by-Step Creation of a Teaching Dossier.   Retrieved from https://cdn.dal.ca/content/dam/dalhousie/pdf/dept/clt/Resources/Step-by-step%20Guide.pdf

Korpan, C. (2015). Guide to Preparing Teaching Statements and Dossiers. Retrieved from https://www.uvic.ca/learningandteaching/assets/docs/instructors/for-review/TA%20Professional%20Development%20and%20Information/Guide%20to%20Preparing%20Teaching%20Statements%20and%20Dossiers.pdf

Memorial University of Newfoundland. (2016). Suggested Framework for a Teaching Dossier.   Retrieved from https://citl.mun.ca/TeachingSupport/consultation/Framework_Dossier_March_2016.pdf

University of Toronto CUPE 3902. (n.d.). Ten Tips for Preparing a Teaching Dossier.   Retrieved from http://www.cupe3902.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/Ten-Tips-for-Preparing-a-Teaching-Dossier.pdf

Websites

University of Toronto Teaching Assistants’ Training Program. Preparing the Teaching Dossier: Guidelines. Retrieved from http://tatp.utoronto.ca/teaching-toolkit/teaching-dossier/preparing-teaching-dossier-guidelines/

Vanderbilt University. (n.d.). Teaching Statements.   Retrieved from https://cft.vanderbilt.edu//cft/guides-sub-pages/teaching-statements/

Western University. Preparing Your Teaching Dossier.   Retrieved from https://www.uwo.ca/tsc/resources/selected_teaching_topics/teaching_dossiers/guide_to_constructing/preparing_teaching_dossier.html

Check out this related post:

Why you shouldn’t post your teaching dossier online https://wp.me/pNAh3-2gr

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This blog has had over 1.8 million views thanks to readers like you. If you enjoyed this post, please “like” it or share it on social media. Thanks!

Sarah Elaine Eaton is a faculty member in the Werklund School of Education, University of Calgary, Canada.

Opinions are my own and do not represent those of the Werklund School of Education or the University of Calgary.

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The impact of tech on how instructors teach and how students learn

April 3, 2018

Use of tech cover.jpgI am thrilled to share a new book chapter that’s just been published. The chapter is, “The impact of technology on how instructors teach and how students learn”. It part of, The Use of Technology in Teaching and Learning, edited by Richard Harnish, K. Robert Bridges, David N. Sattler, Margaret L. Signorella and Michael Munson. It is published by the Society for the Teaching of Psychology. (I know, I know, I’m not a psychologist, but the topic fits with one of my areas of interest.)

In this chapter I talk about how technology is impacting educators in terms of their pedagogical knowledge and classroom practice, as well as how tech impacts how students learn.

One of the best things about this book is that is freely available online! You can download your own copy from: https://teachpsych.org/ebooks/useoftech

In fact, the publishers have an entire collection of free books that anyone can download on topics ranging from academic advising to research on teaching, among others. Check them out here: https://teachpsych.org/ebooks/index.php

On a personal note, I have to say that I really appreciate contributing to works that are Open Access, so readers from anywhere can download, read and enjoy. There’s much to be said for this kind of publishing model and as a writer and a scholar, being able to share my work in this way is energizing.

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This blog has had over 1.8 million views thanks to readers like you. If you enjoyed this post, please “like” it or share it on social media. Thanks!

Sarah Elaine Eaton is a faculty member in the Werklund School of Education, University of Calgary, Canada.

Opinions are my own and do not represent those of the Werklund School of Education or the University of Calgary.


Understanding and Exploring Signature Pedagogies for TESOL Teacher Education

March 20, 2018

Sig ped coverI’m excited to share a new resource that’s been almost a year in the making. I’ve been working with some amazing colleagues: Santoi Wagner (University of Pennsylvania), Jennifer Hirashiki (Westcliff University) and Julie Ciancio (Westcliff University) on “Understanding and Exploring Signature Pedagogies for TESOL Teacher Education”. This is a freely available, Open Educational Resource (OER) intended to help teacher trainers working in the field of Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL).

Abstract

Purpose: The purpose of this report is to elevate the collective understanding of what it means to be and become a TESOL professional and what differentiates “TESOLers” from other teachers. We have intentionally prepared this report as an Open Educational Resource (OER), so it can be freely shared with an international audience.

Methods: This report synthesizes literature relating to signature pedagogies, teacher training, and educational technology.

Results: We explore the surface, deep, and implicit structures of three signature pedagogies of TESOL teacher education: (a) developing the TESOL knowledge base; (b) cultivating reflective practice; (c) engaging in a TESOL practicum. We also situate TESOL within a technology, content, and pedagogical content (TPACK) framework as a means to further understand how and why TESOL teacher education can and should incorporate technology in a variety of ways.

Implications: TESOL is a relatively young discipline and has come of age during a time when technology has emerged as an essential element of teaching and learning. As such, TESOL teacher education programs must address technology as a key element of teacher preparation for the profession.

Additional materials: Contains 1 table, 1 figure and 81 references.

Keywords: signature pedagogies, English as a second language, TESOL, teacher training, teacher education, TPACK

Citation (APA): 

Eaton, S. E., Wagner, S., Hirashiki, J., & Ciancio, J. (2018). Understanding and Exploring Signature Pedagogies for TESOL Teacher Education. Calgary: University of Calgary.

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This blog has had over 1.8 million views thanks to readers like you. If you enjoyed this post, please “like” it or share it on social media. Thanks!

Sarah Elaine Eaton is a faculty member in the Werklund School of Education, University of Calgary, Canada.

Opinions are my own and do not represent those of the Werklund School of Education or the University of Calgary.


Why you shouldn’t post your teaching dossier online

January 30, 2018

Students and colleagues sometimes ask me if they should post their teaching dossier or portfolio online. My answer is immediate: No!

Those who know me know that I am a big fan of developing a strong online professional presence. I encourage students and colleagues to keep their LinkedIn, Twitter, and other online professional profiles current. But there’s something about a teaching dossier that’s different. I couldn’t put my finger on it until I read an article by White & Conrod (2016) where they tell the story of how their teaching philosophies were plagiarized.

Your teaching philosophy is a key element of your dossier. Developing it is hard work. It involves some deep reflection, brain work and soul-searching. You dig deep into yourself to figure out who you are as an educator, what matters to you and why it matters. Honestly, articulating your teaching philosophy may be the single most difficult element of putting together your teaching dossier. When it’s done, it should be a reflection of who you are and what matters to you as an educator.

Other people may have similar philosophies, but in the end, your statement is about you and your values. It is yours and yours alone.

If you post it online, it becomes easy for others to cut-and-paste what you have shared. These may not be bad people. They may be too afraid or too intimidated to engage in the deep reflection required to develop a philosophy of their own. Who knows? My point is, don’t make it easy for others to steal your teaching philosophy.

Share your dossier selectively, with those who need it, such as employers or those evaluating your teaching. You might also choose to share your dossier with those who would benefit from it, such as students or junior colleagues. That does not mean you have to post it publicly online. You have other options:

Alternatives to posting your teaching dossier publicly online

  1. Share print copies of your work. This may sound old fashioned, but if someone does not require digital access to your dossier and a paper copy works just as well, why not? You might choose to add “Confidential” to the header or footer to make it clear you do not want it to be shared widely.
  2. Save a copy of your work in a digital format that is hard to copy. An protected .pdf isn’t foolproof, but it is an option. Another option is to save your work as a .jpg., but if you choose this route, be sure that the .jpg is high quality and easy to read.
  3. Save your work as a password protected or “read only” online document. Share the password or link with caution.

Again, share selectively and make it clear that your work is not for distribution.

I suspect that some people who are vehement believers in open access or the sharing culture may disagree with my stance on this issue. There are plenty of websites that offer tips about how to post your entire dossier online. Don’t get me wrong. I share lots of my work online, free of charge in an open access format. It may be OK to share parts of your teaching dossier publicly online, such as your previous teaching experience, but not all of it. The key is to think critically about what you want to share and how you choose to do that.

It is important to understand that the more publicly you share, the easier you make it for others to copy-and-paste your deep thoughts, rather than engaging in their own soul-searching journey. If you want to offer others a short-cut and do the hard work for them, that is an option. But if you’d rather not, think twice before posting your entire teaching dossier publicly online.

The point is for you to think critically about who you want to have access to your inner most values about teaching. In my view, your teaching philosophy is a key element of your identity as an educator. Don’t make it easy for others to steal your professional identity.

Reference:

White, M. A., & Conrod, J. D. (2016). Is nothing sacred? Our personal teaching philosophies have been plagiarized. University Affairs. Retrieved from https://www.universityaffairs.ca/opinion/in-my-opinion/is-nothing-sacred-our-personal-teaching-philosophies-have-been-plagiarized/

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This blog has had over 1.8 million views thanks to readers like you. If you enjoyed this post, please “like” it or share it on social media. Thanks!

Sarah Elaine Eaton is a faculty member in the Werklund School of Education, University of Calgary, Canada.

Opinions are my own and do not represent those of the Werklund School of Education or the University of Calgary.


Summer course – Research Methodology in Education

June 19, 2017

I am pleased to be teaching Research Methodology in Education this summer for our Master of Education students. This is an online course offered from July 4 to August 16, 2017.

Course description

This first course in educational research methodologies provides the background necessary to make intelligent decisions around the kinds of research questions that might be asked and the sort(s) of insights and answers particular methods can provide.

Learner outcomes

Throughout the course of study students will be able to:

  • Identify viable and interesting research questions, both in their own potential research endeavours and in the work of published academics
  • Identify, compare and critique a variety of educational research methodologies based on their primary assumptions and methods
  • Evaluate the relevance of educational research methodologies with special consideration being given to stated research questions and the knowledge being sought
  • Differentiate between the central tenets of qualitative and quantitative data collection and analysis strategies with special consideration being given to the strengths, weaknesses and relevance of each in education
  • Assess the validity of a variety of research methods, both qualitative and quantitative, commonly used in education
  • Examine and interrogate the relationships between research questions, research methods and interpretation of findings in educational studies
  • Demonstrate a critical understanding of ethical issues in educational research, particularly with regard to the use of human participants
  • Formulate and evaluate their own preliminary research questions in response to both their research interests and professional context
  • Understand how action research applies to educational settings and contexts

Required readings

Creswell, J. W. (2014).  Research design: Qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods approaches (4th ed).  Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications, Inc.

Hendricks, C. (2016). Improving schools through Action Research: A reflective practice approach (4th ed.), Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education.

Here’s a copy of the course outline: EDER_603.21_Su2017_Eaton_approved

This marks the tenth time I have taught this course online. I love working with students to help them gain a strong foundation in research methodology. I can’t wait to get started with this year’s group!

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This blog has had over 1.8 million views thanks to readers like you. If you enjoyed this post, please “like” it or share it on social media. Thanks!

Sarah Elaine Eaton is a faculty member in the Werklund School of Education, University of Calgary, Canada.

 


Writing Educational Research (EDER 603.23)

May 11, 2017

U of C logo - 2015I am feeling energized! This spring, I get to teach one of my all-time favourite courses: Writing Educational Research (EDER 603.23). I’ll be working with Master of Education (M.Ed.) students to help them craft a term paper into a manuscript for publication.

Why do I love this course? Because it generates results! Some of the students who take this course really do end up getting their work published in peer-reviewed journals, conference proceedings, books and professional publications. Here are some real-life examples of students who have taken this course with me and have published their work:

There are additional students who have written to me to tell me they have manuscripts in progress. I really love to see authentic, real-world outcomes from student learning and these are some fabulous examples.

Course description

Here is the official description of the course:

This course will focus on examining and developing the skills associated with crafting an academic report and discussion on research data. Topics include genres and purposes of academic writing, as well as venues for presentation and publication. An academic paper is more than a compilation of relevant literature, attending information and a conclusion.

An acceptable paper, whether intended for an academic or a professional audience, and whether a report of findings or a theoretical-philosophical argument, takes a clearly defined idea, situates it in the current literature, and supports it with a well-structured discussion. The principal intentions of this course are to introduce students to the various structures of academic and professional papers and to provide support in their efforts to craft, present and potentially publish their written work.

A traditional approach to writing educational research involves first learning about writing, then learning to write. Learners first study sample texts, analyzing them and then dissecting them, examining their structure, argument and style. The next step often involves producing an original piece of writing that mimics the style, tone and structure of the sample text. The final step is to integrate elements of the student’s own voice and style with elements of the texts they have previously studied. The rationale behind this approach is that the student must first learn what counts as excellent writing by learning about writing. Only then are they prepared to write themselves.

This course takes a non-traditional approach to learning to write about research for scholarly or professional purposes. Students will focus on writing, offering feedback to peers, revising, and incorporating feedback.

Students take on three key roles during this course:

  1. Writer – Crafting an original work intended for sharing in a public forum.
  2. Reviewer – Developing your skills offering substantive and supportive feedback to peers to help them improve their writing so that they, too, are successful in sharing their work in a public forum.
  3. Reviser – Learning to consider and incorporate peer feedback thoughtfully. As scholars and professionals, we recognize that our work is stronger when we incorporate revisions from trusted colleagues whose intention is to help us succeed.

Check out a copy of the course outline here:

EDER_603.23_L09_Eaton_SP2017 – approved

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This blog has had over 1.8 million views thanks to readers like you. If you enjoyed this post, please “like” it or share it on social media. Thanks!

Sarah Elaine Eaton is a faculty member in the Werklund School of Education, University of Calgary, Canada.


7 Ways to Celebrate the End of the Semester

April 12, 2017

hands hope sunCongratulations! You have made it to the end of another semester in one piece. You deserve to catch your breath and celebrate. Here are some ways to do just that:

1. Thank your loved ones. They have put up with your grumpiness, your tantrums and your anxiety all term. They’ve done chores for you that you should have been doing yourself, but turned a blind eye to because of school work. They’ve listened to you, given you advice or bitten their tongue to refrain from giving you too much advice. Seriously, they deserve some appreciation. Show your love with some flowers, a nice dinner out or some other special thank you for the loved ones who have been there for you all term.

2. Thank your classmates. Was there a classmate who really supported you this term? Was there a fellow student who listened when you needed a shoulder to cry on? Or someone who gave you awesome feedback on your work? Learning is not a solitary endeavour. Send your classmate a note of appreciation and tell them how much he or she means to you.

3. Book some self-care. Whether it is a massage, a chiropractic treatment, or a spa day, plan on rejuvenating your health and well-being. Book your wellness appointment today.

4. Go outside! You’ve likely been glued to your computer screen for weeks now, as you wrap up your final papers and projects. Go for a walk. Do some work in the garden. Just go outside and listen to the birds chirp. It’s time to expand your world beyond your own little work space again.

5. Re-connect with friends. Have you been ignoring your friends all term because of school work? Have you declined invitations or backed out of social engagements at the last minute because you’ve had too much work to do or just felt too stressed out? Your friends are waiting for you! Send your favourite pals a text or an e-mail today to make plans to get together.

6. Take a bath. There’s nothing like a hot, soothing bath to wash away the stress of a semester. Use bubbles, candles, music or whatever will help you relax. Take some to soak in the success of having completed another term.

7. Prepare a healthy meal. Have you been eating food out of boxes and cans these past few weeks, as you madly finish up projects? If so, your body is probably crying for some fresh vegetables and fruit. Why not take the time to prepare your favourite meal? Even better, make supper for your family or friends to thank them for supporting you.

These are just a few suggestions to celebrate the end of your semester. You probably have some ideas of your own. The important point here is to actually take the time to pause and celebrate your achievement. By completing another semester, you have reached another milestone towards your goals. Taking time to celebrate along the way is important and helps you to remember why you are doing all this.

Related post: 5 Ways to Show Teachers Appreciation http://wp.me/pNAh3-a5

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This blog has had over 1.8 million views thanks to readers like you. If you enjoyed this post, please “like” it or share it on social media. Thanks!

Sarah Elaine Eaton is a faculty member in the Werklund School of Education, University of Calgary, Canada.


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