Globalization, Standardization and e-Portfolios in Teacher Education

October 4, 2011

UW-Madison education professor Francois Victor Tochon is helping improve teacher education in a public university that trains language teachers from Anatolia, a poor region of Turkey.

The Turkish government wants quality teachers for the regions in which it is difficult to recruit. Tochon works with educators at Yildiz Technical University (YTU) in Istanbul to integrate international quality standards in teacher education. Navigating this process involves addressing several challenges, including

<ul>
<li>Lack of professional skills to cope with contemporary educational goals,</li>
<li>Lack of opportunities to improve professional knowledge and performance,</li>
<li>Poor alignment between programs and the realities of schools, and</li>
<li>The need for a theoretical framework (what and how to teach preservice teachers and how to select them).</li>
</ul>

The curriculum prepared by the Turkish Council of Higher Education refers to the European Union (EU)-sponsored Bologna process, which sets standards of academic performance and quality assurance criteria.

Tochon says that electronic portfolios (e-portfolios) and reflective practice are efficient ways of organizing professionalization. The portfolio has been defined as a “thoughtful, organized and continuous collection of a variety of authentic products that document a professional or student’s progress.” Tochon’s portfolio project aims to reinforce policies that strengthen teacher quality and enhance equality in education.

Tochon says portfolios do many things; among them, they help create a cohesive discourse community; stimulate attitude change; help preservice teachers develop their own literacy; elicit the values underlying teaching decisions, and provide evidence of reflective practice.

Volunteer student teachers have integrated the standards into their teaching and demonstrated how they did so in their portfolios. The teacher educators gather in subgroups led by one coordinator for in-service development workshops. They collect student teachers’ feedback on their experiences and propose adaptations to the model to make it more effective.

A coordinator conveys suggestions for improvement to the participatory action science (PAS) team. The PAS process contributes to institutional learning and will be integrated as a way of monitoring change.

Reference:

An article on this experiment has been published by Transnational Curriculum Inquiry in three languages: Tochon, F. V., & Ökten, C. E. (2010). Curriculum Mapping and Instructional Affordances: Sources of Transformation for Student Teachers. Transnational Curriculum Inquiry, 7(1). http://ojs.library.ubc.ca/index.php/tci/issue/view/291