How Teachers Perceive the Ongoing Influence of a Portfolio on Reflection: A Case Study
This case study investigated the long-term influences of compiling a portfolio on resource teachers’ (RTLB) reflection on practice. The findings provide a detailed analysis of the reflection that is stimulated by the portfolio process and the extent to which this has been ongoing in the RTLBs’ practice. Compiling the portfolio stimulated the RTLBs’ reflection on practice in a number of aspects, from selecting cases and evidence to writing, reading, collegial support, and professional supervision. It also promoted a more critical understanding of what it means to be a reflective practitioner. Among these, the writing involved in the portfolio process appears to be one of the most important factors in promoting reflection. However, reflective writing has not been maintained in the participants’ current practice, whereas other aspects of reflection have, to some extent, continued. The overall quality of reflection has thus become more technical, albeit less deep, as it grows to cater for participants’ professional needs. Much emphasis is put on formal/professional supervision and collegial support as important vehicles in maintaining the post-portfolio reflection. The former is deemed highly valuable because of the professional guidance and the sense of direction that a professional supervisor can offer as he/she triggers the RTLB’s reflection, while the latter provides them with opportunities to share with their colleagues the things that they find useful, discuss the issues that they have in common, have their practice challenged and critiqued, and look at better practice. The establishment of communities of practice particularly stands out as an effective vehicle for sustaining reflection. The study includes recommendations for maintaining reflection in the post-portfolio phase, as well as for sustained portfolio use. Suggestions are also made for the application of portfolio assessment in the Vietnamese higher education system. Further research is recommended to expand the scope and scale of this study, as is collecting empirical evidence that would validate the findings in a Vietnamese context. A more thorough investigation into the Vietnamese higher education system and its cultural, social and political features is also recommended in order to generate a more detailed proposal for the application of portfolio assessment in Vietnam.