Lecturer in charge
Eila Burns and Sirpa Laitinen-Väänänen

Your portfolio for Teacher Education Studies needs to be compiled throughout the study period. The portfolio building process includes:

  • forming a Personal Learning Plan (PLP) covering the whole study programme
  • writing a personal reflection diary
  • compiling a final portfolio

Your portfolio will be the basis for the final assessment discussion with your tutor(s). Identifying your prior learning and development needs are an essential part of planning your PLPs.

Learning outcomes

Students are familiar with the aims, content and the implementation methods of the teacher education programme. In addition, students are able to set meaningful goals for their own learning in accordance with those for the development of vocational educational environments and training, and with the general goals of teacher education studies.

Students are able to conceptualize and justify your own actions as a teacher. They are also able to set new goals for their own professional development and be aware of the factors that contribute to their own professional identity.

Students are able to realistically assess their own learning and skills in relation to their own goals, and those of the teacher education. They are also able to set new goals for themselves and their working community that support further teacher development.


  • the aims, content, implementation methods, study processes and assessment of the teacher education programme
  • planning of the personal study process: self-assessment of your own skills and learning process
  • professional identity in relation to the developing teacher

Assessment materials

  • working in learning circles and seminars, portfolio and final discussion

Assessment criteria

Based on your portfolio, these skills will be assessed: your reflection skills, your developmental skills, your co-operational and networking skills.

  Required skills
Reflection skills
  • You are able to realistically evaluate your own skills and competences in relation to those set by teacher education studies
  • You define meaningful professional developmental areas for further development
Developmental skills
  • You are able set meaningful goals to develop your pedagogical skills
  • You are able to realistically plan your work and are working towards achieving the set aims
  • You have produced a portfolio that provides evidence and evaluation of your learning process
Co-operational andnetworking skills
  • You are able to take advantage of collaborative networks to support your own pedagogical development
  • You actively participate in the evaluation of your own and peers’ learning processes

Assessment Scale


Learning assignments

The process of compiling your portfolio is continuous, lasting throughout your study period. It begins with the completion of your PLP and ends with your final portfolio that includes summative self-assessment. The portfolio helps you to recognise your own skills and development as a teacher.

Select materials for your portfolio that show what you have learned and how you have developed during the studies, and what your skills and competences are at the end of the programme. Keep in mind the following criteria when selecting materials for your portfolio: the general aims set for the teacher education programme and your personal learning aims. Justify your choices.

There are three learning assignments on this course:

  1. Personal Learning Plan (PLP)
  2. Reflection Diary
  3. Compiling a Final Portfolio (includes summative self-assessment)

1. Personal Learning Plan (PLP)

Writing a Personal Learning Plan is the first phase in compiling your portfolio. Your PLP is the document to indicate how you plan to achieve the aims set for the teacher education programme. Creating and updating your PLP requires learning from your own observations and continuous active self-assessment (i.e. reflection) in relation to the aims set by the Teacher Education College.  It provides a structure for your studies.

Your task is to compile a PLP, consisting of four parts:

  1. orientation to your own studies,
  2. commitment to studies and learning abilities,
  3. contents of teacher education studies, and,
  4. a concrete time plan for your studies.

The process of creating a PLP will be discussed during the first seminar. Your PLP need to be submitted in Optima (Workspace will open in August), and it should be updated as necessary according to your own learning progress.

1. Orientation to your own studies

Orientate yourself to your own studies by answering the following questions:

  • What educational and professional milestones have been significant for your personal development as a teacher?
  • What are your expectations of being a teacher?
  • What are your motives for undertaking teacher education?
  • What do you want to achieve?
  • What are your strengths as a teacher? Which aspects of your teaching do you need to develop?

2. Commitment to studies and learning abilities

  • What are you willing to invest in achieving the aims?
  • How do the methods used, working in a virtual learning environment and self-directed learning, suit you?
  • Do you have any difficulties in e.g. reading or writing or other challenges that may affect your learning?
  • Characterize yourself as a learner.

3. Contents of teacher education studies

Get familiar with the competence areas described at the beginning of this Study Guide and consider the following in the first version of your PLP:

  • What do these competence areas mean to you?
  • Which ones do you already have? How can you further develop them?
  • What do you still need to learn?

You should consider these questions again after the orientation seminar.

When the learning circles have been created, get acquainted with other students PLPs and compare your own goals with other members of the learning circle.  You should determine, within your learning circle, the type of skills each of you must acquire and develop in order to meet your objectives and those set by Teacher Education College. Accordingly draw up a study plan within your learning circle for the teacher education process.

4. A concrete time plan for your studies

Make a tentative timetable for your studies once you have carefully looked at the content and extent of each course. It is important to think how you are going to share your time and resources between different commitments in your life and to what kind of study schedule you are able to commit to. Taught periods for full-time study from August 2016 is one year and for studying on a part-time basis, two years. The study right for full-time students is two years, and for part-time students three years. It is worthwhile setting intermediate aims and to regularly evaluating the progress of your studies. The plan and time schedules can be changed when necessary but the main aim is worth keeping in mind all the time.

Take into consideration how you are going to organise your teaching and working commitments while studying; participation in the seminars, learning circle work and on-line learning requires your active involvement.

In particular, if you are not currently working as a teacher, you should indicate where and when you are going to do your teaching practice periods.

2. Reflection Diary

A reflection diary enables you to specify and reflect on the aims of your PLP and the activities that are essential for the development of self-directed learning. You are recommended write your reflection diary throughout your whole study period.

You can write, for example, about your observations regarding your own aims, study process and its content. In the context of working on assignments a reflection diary helps you to understand your own thinking. Furthermore, it functions as a self-assessment tool. You are able to write informally about your own opinions on professional skills, knowledge in general, human beings as learners, learning processes, your own teaching skills and the way you think learning changes during your studies. You can view your reflection diary as a means of developing your own professional identity.

In seminars we will focus on your reflection diaries and we will examine certain excerpts but only as agreed beforehand.

You can document your observations and experiences in many ways. The reflection diary may contain writing, blog entries, drawings, photographs, mind maps, paper clippings etc. The most important thing is that you find the way that suits you the best. You can start to work on your reflection diary today.

3. Final Portfolio

At the end of your studies you have final assessment discussion with your teacher educator. For this purpose you will compile a final portfolio using all the material you have gathered during your studies.

In your final portfolio you will

  • present and analyze your learning achievements
  • analyze your learning process
  • assess your professional development as a teacher
  • assess achieving your own goals.

Use your imagination and creativity to compile your portfolio. It is important that the portfolio reflects your personality.

Summative self-assessment is included in your final portfolio. When you are writing your self-assessment, evaluate your skills and competences in relation to the ones set for the teacher education programme: continuous learning, development of the educational environment, facilitating learning and co-operation and interaction.

Consider how well you have achieved these set competencies. What competence areas do you see as your strengths and which are your main areas for development? Also, consider if you have achieved the aims you set for yourself at the beginning of the studies in you PLP and indicate the areas that you are planning to develop in the future.

The completed portfolio will be an important document in demonstrating your competences in the final discussion with your teacher educator.


Additional literature

  • Campbell, M. & Brummett, V. 2002. Professional Teaching Portfolios: For Pros and Pre-service Teachers Alike. Music Educators Journal; Nov2002, Vol. 89 Issue 2, p25.
  • Hudson, L. 2004. Portfolios, Portfolios, Portfolios. Techniques: Connecting Education & Careers; May2004, Vol. 79. Issue 5, p19.
  • Heath, M. 2005. Are You Ready to Go Digital? The Pros and Cons of Electronic Portfolio Development. Library Media Connection; Apr/May2005, Vol. 23 Issue 7, p 66.
  • Korthagen, F.A.J. 2004. In search of the essence of a good teacher: towards a more holistic approach in teacher education. Teaching and Teacher Education 20, p. 77–97
  • Tigelaar, D. E.H. 2006. Portfolio as a tool to stimulate teachers’ reflections. Medical Teacher, Vol. 28, No. 3, p. 277–282