A Portfolio is simply a tangible record of what someone has done. (Redman 1994). Torrance (1998 cited in Smith and Tillema 2003) stated that portfolio originally provided an alternative to traditional assessments, by aligning assessment with introduction and by balancing testing/placement with monitoring and an active involvement of the learner.
Tillema & Smith (2000 cited in Smith and Tillema 2003) describes that Portfolio provides a structure and process for documenting and reflecting upon the work or achievements of the student's efforts and progress in a given area. The authors further describes that Portfolios were conceived as learning tools to understand and monitor development. Portfolios as an indicator of achievements were designed specifically as an opportunity to provide feedback, assuming an active, even steering role of the learner in the assessment task Sadler (1998 cited in Mullins 2007). As per Wiggins,(1989 cited in Smith and Tillema 2003) portfolios provide a new tool in assessment. The strength of portfolio's is derived from the process ie learning and the focus on accomplishment, and it is these factors that have decisively moved portfolios to the forefront. (Darling-Hammond & Synder (2000 cited in Smith and Tillema 2003). There are many contexts in which the use of portfolios for assessment purpose has been advocated in education as well in professional activity. In teaching education portfolios are being used for testing teaching practice and in reflection on teaching Zeichner & Wray , (2001 cited in Smith and Tillema 2003). In professional development programmes , Portfolios are issued to document long term development and change (Darling Hammond &Snyder,(2000 cited in Smith and Tillema (2003) In secondary schools students develop portfolios of work for assessment of competencies.(Engel,1994 ; lyons ,1996; and Powell ,2000) cited in Smith&Tillema (2003) . Despite a wide range of purpose for the Portfolio, including collective as well as formative assessment, selection, promotion, appraisal, reflective learning and professional and personal development, there are many tensions and obscurity involved in portfolio use. Aspects of analytical validity in assessment with portfolios are largely ill attended in research (Moss,1995; Lievens,1998;Tillema,1998) cited in Smith&Tillema (2003) .Very few studies exist on the long term impact of portfolio( Smith and Tillema, (2001cited in Smith and Tillema 2003).The implementation of the portfolio in well defined guidelines with a clear structure continues to be a weak point and produces uncertainties for the data collector (Wade and Yarbrough,1996).
Difference between plan and Portfolio
A Portfolio is simply a physical records of events whereas personal development plan is described by Tamkin etal (1995 cited in Armstrong 2006 pg 564) is to provide "Self organised learning frame work" It consist of the following stages,
Analyse current situation and development needs, set goals, Prepare action plan and Implement.
From the various views of authors ,Smith and Tillema (2001cited in Smith and Tillema 2003) claim that Portfolios should be clearly differentiated into four distinguish types. They identify two major dimensions which differentiate between portfolio types.
The purpose of the portfolio as either being selection or promotion oriented or learning or develop mentally oriented.
Self directed or voluntarily initiated for personal use.
These two dimensions result in four different labelled portfolio types
The desire portfolio
The training portfolio
The reflective portfolio
The personal development portfolio
Portfolio is useful in the following ways (Redman 1994)
As a tool for self development
To assess prior learning
To gain accreditation
To share good practice
To evaluate training
To enhance performance
To change culture
The personal development Portfolio
The personal development portfolio is a personal evaluation and reflective account of professional growth during a long term process. The collection itself is an opportunity to discuss and give value to the activities of the person who is building an identity. The importance of the collection lies in the opportunity for sustained conversation with peers
or colleagues about experiences and in restructuring ones growth.(Smith and Tillema 2003)
Personal development is a holistic approach because it involves whole selves .Mike Pedler
and Tom Boydell (1990 cited in David and Whitaker 1996) states that this approach involves both our outer selves (which relates to other people) and our inner selves (which look at our own motivation, values and beliefs)
Warren Redman (1994) states that Personal development portfolio is a process that encourages people to think about their attributes , to record and demonstrate to themselves and others what their qualities are, to take responsibility for their own continual learning and to gain new skills and self confidence. The PDP structure provided is in the form of questions which involves five steps
Identifying learning from experience
The demonstration of practice
Establish learning needs
Identifying and taking up learning opportunities
1) Describing experience : the index, the story
Index: The starting point for portfolio development is the building of an index.The aim of index is to establish the range of experiences.
Being a group leader for the first time ,leading group members for a group presentation.
The story : It is the indication of the depth of the experience.
when I was chosen to be a leader of a group for the first time, I was scared that I would get things wrong. I was worried that I could not ask any of the group for advice because I thought that they would disrespect me and not give me any respect in the future. I had not realised that they would provide me with lot of support.
2) Identify learning from experience and development : the discovery
It is the step which discover learning from experience
Firstly personal development starts with a desire to learn a job, understand an organisation, master a current difficulty, to advance in career, and to do things differently. Without this desire personal development cannot start. (David and Pedler 1992)
Mumford and Gold (2004 cited in Armstrong 2006) emphasized that learning is both a process and an outcome concerned with knowledge skills and insight.
Kim (1993 cited in Armstrong 2006 pg ) defined Learning as the process of "increasing one's capacity to take action". Williams (1998 cited in Armstrong 2006) defined learning is goal directed, it is based on experience, it impacts behaviour and cognition, and changes brought are relatively stable. Honey and Mumford (1996 cited in Armstrong 2006) identified four learning styles and they are Activist, Reflectors, Theorists and Pragmatists. David Megginson (1994 cited in David Megginson and Whitaker 1996) suggest two different approaches to learning.
Planned learning- learners take responsibility for the direction of their development.
Emergent learning- learners respond to and learn from their experience.
David also identified four types of learners
Sleepers: who show little initiative or response to their experiences.
Warriors : who plan their experiences but tend not to learn from them
Adventurers : who respond to and learn from opportunities that come their way but tend not to create opportunities for themselves
Sages : who both plan and learn from their experiences
He further describes planned learners as warriors because they have focus, direction, clarity and persistence, Emergent learners as adventurers because they have curiosity, flexibility &
opportunism , Sages have a lot of both qualities whereas sleepers have to develop both.
My learning style is closely related to activist who involves themselves fully without bias in new experiences and revel in new challenges and sages as described above.
I gained confidence to lead a group and developed leadership skills from the experience in group working and on Reflection and practise of various leadership theories of Gratton (2004, cited in Mullins 2007) who states that effective leader posses clear communication, full participation & trust. As John Adair (2003 cited in Mullins 2007) describes the effectiveness of leader is depended upon meeting three areas of function within the group (Task function, Team function and Individual function).Kakabadse (1991,cited in Sheard and Kakabadse 2004),states leadership as a network of relationship and identifies six factors with shaping of group members.
Our group development is widely achieved by following some of the Team roles developed by Belbin, which resulted in greater interaction between the group members. I took the role of the coordinator, my role is helping group to stay focussed on goals, promote decision making and encouraged members to contribute. From the above experience I learnt to discuss more with colleagues, more interactions and shared ideas. I think I have also learnt to have more confidence in myself and total commitment.
I developed problem solving ideas, communication, listening and information sharing from the experience of Brain storming approach, which widely followed in our group. It is a problem solving technique which can be used by individuals, groups or teams. Its full benefit is gained by sharing ideas and possibilities with other members.(Mullins 2007)
I was motivated to work hard to achieve a goal ie successful group presentation. My motivation is linked to Mc Clelland (1973 cited in Armstrong 2007) Research in which he suggests four steps to develop achievement drive.
3) The demonstration of practice : the proof
It is the evidence of proof that some one can did something.
I can show notes email messages include dates and time tables. I could get some feed -back from the group give them a questionnaire to say how they assess my performance. I will present a copy of my Individual reflection in related to my group work.
4) Ownership-establishing learning needs
The main objective of this step in the portfolio process are to encourage people to-
Define for themselves what they still need to learn and to develop;
See that what they need to improve is relevant to them and their work or interest;
Accept responsibility for and ownership of their own learning (Redman 1994)
What I still need to improve in this area -
Having begun to work with the group I notice that I could perform. I need to gain skills in working with a group, to get some more discipline in our discussion and at decission making.
Concentrate on two main areas to enhance performance ie running group meetings better
and this can be achieved by formulating a 'Strategy' as described by Andrew (2006,cited in
Mullins 2007) that "Strategy is the pattern of major objectives purposes or goals and essential policies or plans for achieving those goals.
The second area is about analysing and planning to do on the spot and with group members rather than doing after meetings on my own.
5) Growth- identifying and taking up learning opportunities
It is the main step in the portfoilio learning process to establish a planned learning contract.
How I am going to gain the additional competences, and by when -
Inorder to learn more about performing group Task.I will participate more in group activities.
Try to attend seminars and work shops.I will concentrate on things I need to improve,
getting more focus into decision making and able to analyse the information by learning different academic theory.I will put down some notes Before and After group meetings to analyse my performance ways for improvement.
.(Warren Redman 1994)
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