Alberta Teachers' Association logo in colour, all one line.
Resources Menu


Professional Development


Future Implications: Teacher Portfolio as a Professional Growth Tool

Good teachers, even those who have graduated from the most thorough and comprehensive teacher preparation programs, recognize that they will continue to learn, develop and update their knowledge and skills as they practise their craft.

The portfolio as a tool for continuing professional growth allows teachers to present artifacts or representations of teaching that demonstrate the variety of ways they can meet Alberta Education’s revised Quality Teaching Standards. Frequently entitled the “Process-folios,” the traditional paper portfolio emphasizes its ongoing nature as a structure for both professional development and career advancement. We also view the usefulness of the portfolio within the context of current Teacher Professional Growth Plans.

For both beginning and seasoned teachers, the portfolio can be used as a basis upon which rich professional dialogue with peers within school cohorts, colleagues and teacher mentors can be initiated within the profession. Teachers share the responsibility of strengthening the interchange of valued dialogue for sustained professional growth.

Portfolio Woes!

What gets in the way?

  1. Who’s got time?
  2. Messy to construct.
  3. No one has asked for one yet!
  4. Cumbersome to store collection of artifacts…
  5. Motivation to start and finish a portfolio … Ugh!
  6. Commitment to find pertinent artifacts and save new ones.
  7. Decisions! Decisions! What goes in, what does not!
  8. I already have a teaching position—why build one now?
  9. Don’t need a portfolio to reflect what I do.
  10. Don’t think I would have much to put into it! I’m afraid!
Portfolio Wows!

Is a professional development portfolio worth all the work?

Yes! Of course!

  1. Portfolio authors have used portfolios as an ongoing tool to improve practice.
  2. “The process of creating a portfolio was definitely worth the effort!”
  3. Portfolios allowed authors to focus on their practice work and beliefs about their practice.
  4. Behaviours changed as a result of the portfolio process … action taken after area of growth was identified.
  5. A great by-product of the process is a sense of awe and rekindled inspiration—a celebration!
  6. An archive of all the work you put into your personal and professional growth, education, career and leadership experience.