A web site for the developing language teacher

Teaching professionals to take stock with the
Cambridge ESOL Teacher Portfolio

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Teacher portfolios may allow a teacher to display their work publicly. For example, training course providers may make use of documents collected in a teacher portfolio to formally assess the performance of trainee teachers and/or to monitor their development during a course. Additionally, teachers applying for a new position can make use of a teacher portfolio as an expanded curriculum vitae to showcase their achievements, experience and beliefs to employers.

Naturally, the very act of selecting and organising material to be included in a portfolio encourages teachers to examine their own teaching and beliefs. Reflective teacher portfolios can have the specific purpose of fostering an analytical approach to teaching by providing a framework for noting experiences and impressions. These notes can be used as a basis for developing further as a teacher, and may be shared with others as part of the development process or remain private.

In the UK, the Department for Education and Skills has adopted the term “professional development programme” for teachers, rather than portfolio. They view a professional development portfolio as a confidential and voluntary collection of material that records and reflects your work. It is a way of using past experiences and present activities to demonstrate and reflect on skills learnt to identify future learning needs and priorities, and to inform and plan prospective development. It provides a mechanism for thinking about practice in a planned and systematic way. Regardless of the name, there is little argument that electronic portfolios encourage personal reflection.

Structure of the Cambridge ESOL Teacher Portfolio

  • The structure and content of the Cambridge ESOL Teacher Portfolio was developed through a commissioning process. The authors of the content reviewed examples of teacher portfolios from various countries and institutions. This review provided Cambridge ESOL with an insight into the range of portfolios available, and what type of content and structure would suit the Cambridge ESOL context.

As previously mentioned the Cambridge ESOL Teacher Portfolio has a structure that allows for demonstration of a teacher’s development, reflection and also offering the opportunity to showcase examples of work (if chosen by the owner). Figure 1.0 outlines the overall structure:

Figure 1.0


  • Summary profile
  • Language profile
  • Access details


  • Teaching qualifications
  • Courses I have taught
  • Teaching & learning samples
  • Teaching action plan


  • Reflective diary
  • Beliefs about teaching & learning


  • Employment record
  • Training courses attended
  • Certificates in language skills

Assets (the ability to upload files to demonstrate your work)


Portfolio options (the ability to print out a record)

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The Cambridge ESOL Teacher Portfolio aims to provide easy access (with the Portfolio available on any web browser and anywhere with an Internet connection); security and portability, so that teachers can keep their records, work examples, reflections and action plans all in one place over the duration of their career.

In such a busy profession, with days full of timetables, materials and learners, it’s hoped the Cambridge ESOL Teacher Portfolio will provide some space for reflection and a structured framework to help teachers develop and focus on what really matters for the future.

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