My Internationalist Portfolio

marshall-brewerThe next in a series of personal posts on the SIT MA in Teaching’s culminating projects, this one describes the form of my Internationalist portfolio.  I am composing multiple reflective essays, a thematic essay, and submitting evidence of my learning.  (Other forms of SIT’s MA in Teaching have other forms of culminating projects.)

As noted in previous posts, mine is a competency-based education.  That is, I demonstrate competencies in these 5 areas, each intersected by 4 domains.

The Competencies

  1. Language and Culture
  2. Learners and Learning
  3. Teachers and Teaching
  4. Self and Other
  5. Educational Institutions, Communities, and Professional Life

The Domains

  • Awareness
  • Attitude
  • Skills
  • Knowledge

In each of the 20 intersections (5 competencies times 4 domains), MAT faculty have identified several sub-competencies.  For example, where the Self & Other competency intersects with the knowledge domain, there are three sub-competencies.

Competency 4: Self & Other

Teachers need to be knowledgeable about

  • theories and practices of group dynamics
  • theories of identity development
  • the multiple dimensions of identity — their own and others’ — including language, class, race, gender, culture, sexual orientation, physical ability, and religion

As a portfolio writer, I chose one of these sub-competencies to examine.  I make this choice for each of the 20 intersections of competency and domain.  For each sub-competency, I write an essay about what I’ve learned.  For the example above, I am writing about my knowledge of the multiple dimensions of identity.  I examine not only what I have learned, but also the ways I learned, the methods I used to gain that knowledge.  I point to evidence of my learning and I identify what I will be doing next in order to extend learning beyond my degree.  (This is my way.  Each student designs their own essays in their own way.)

The result will be a collection of reflective essays.  Each essay cites multiple documents I’ve created over the time of my MAT courses.  For the sub-competency example above, I used documents from several sources.

  • lesson plans from my teaching internship
  • lesson plans created for a couple classes (Language Analysis and Lesson Planning, Teaching the Four Skills)
  • my daily learning journal
  • notes and hand-outs from my Sandanona Conference presentation
  • papers written for a couple classes (Approaches to Teaching Second Language, Intercultural Communication for Language Teachers)
  • a representational sculpture from my Second Language Acquisition course
  • a letter to my mother about my learning
  • the curriculum I designed for a community college Intermediate Writing course (Curriculum Design and Assessment)

In addition to the reflective essays, the internationalist portfolio also includes a thematic essay addressing a topic of the student’s choosing.  As evidence of learning and to support my essays, the portfolio will have as a huge appendix all the original documents cited above (lesson plans, journals, papers).

It’s a pretty big undertaking worth three credits and is therefore about 135 hours of work, although I’m not counting.  Nor can I count the enormous amount I’m continuing to learn.  (It’s not just a thoughtful index of my academic work.)  Instead, I’m counting the essays I’ve written and have yet to write.  You can keep up with my progress on Facebook.

This post was about the structure of my reflective essays.  In a later post, I’ll provide an example of one of my reflective essays and, perhaps, an abstract of my thematic essay.

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