Teacher and Learner Development Through Portfolio Pedagogy: An Implementation Study (may be terminated as PI is leaving)

Project Number
OER 17/09 EM

Project Duration
August 2009 - November 2010


This project seeks to build knowledge about the nature of the pedagogical practices that optimise the learning outcomes from implementing portfolio projects in three Singapore schools. It takes as its rationale the following: (a) that learning goals and performance goals are both crucial to young people (Dweck, 2000); (b) that Singapore schools can benefit from paying more attention to learning goals;(c) that portfolio projects offer new forms or re-forms of curriculum and pedagogical engagement that are aligned with the broad global shift in education from content delivery to capacity building. The project proposes that the pedagogical work demanded of successful portfolio projects has the potential to make a significant contribution to developing in students the attributes and capacities of the self-managing 21st century learner. If portfolio projects are to be used in Singapore as a tool to achieve such learning, teachers will need a wide and deep repertoire of skills beyond those associated with instruction or Project Work as it is currently conceived and enacted. The study will engage a cohort of teachers in each of three Singaporean secondary schools in the work of understanding and applying the requisite skills with cohorts of students (advanced, normal and 'at risk' cohorts) selected by negotiation with the school and its staff. It will document the impact of the pedagogical intervention on the learning dispositions of the students involved and also on the pedagogical understandings of the teacher participants. In developing practising teachers' capacity to utilise portfolio projects for improved student learning outcomes, the proposed study will: (a) provide a program of professional development to self-selecting teachers in the Singapore schools that is customised for the mentoring and supervision of student learning by means of a portfolio project; (b) support their efforts to implement such a project and � document the outcomes in terms of student learning goals, student performance goals, and teachers' evaluations of improvements in their own understanding and skill development. The deliverables are: 1. A systematic program for the development of teachers' repertoires of skills through addressing the pedagogy that supports the use of portfolios in classroom practice in three Singapore schools. 2. A pedagogical model for initiating, supporting and evaluating portfolio projects. 3 . A comparative analysis of student learning and performing dispositions before and after their experience of portfolio learning. 4. A validated procedure for characterising teacher learning during the implementation cycle, to be reviewed for future extended use across a wider range of schools. 5. A detailed report of the analysis and recommendations flowing from all points of the implementation cycle - Reconnaissance, Design, Implementation, Evaluation and Refecting/Strategising. The report will be written in language that is accessible to classroom teachers, and in a form that allows it to be readily integrated into a program of professional teacher development. 6. Co-presentation with school participants and posting of resources on school websites Traditional scholarly papers and journal articles. We will also publish from the building of theory and its practical applications during the study. Publications will be in the form of a special edition of a relevant international journal, and sole authored and/or co-authored papers in three relevant international refereed journals.

Funding Source

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