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"Portfolio's of Instructional & Curricular Excellence"

Key Words: Instructional Strategies, K-12, Deaf Education

July 8, 1994

Submitted by: Harold Johnson/Director - Kent State University Deaf Education Teacher Preparation Program & C.E.D. Program Evaluation . (Hjohnson@Kentvm.Kent.Edu)

Teaching is inherently a collaborative process that is carried out within the isolating context of the classroom. While teachers and students must work together to accomplish their goals, "outsiders" rarely have an opportunity to observe the instructional process. As a result, it is often difficult to identify, describe and share effective instructional strategies and curriculum materials.

The availability of such information would not only enhance the education of students, but also the professional development of existing and preservice teachers.

The following portfolios represent an initial attempt to secure and disseminate the identified material.

Kent State University deaf education majors produced the portfolios in the following documents. The students, as part of their program requirement, were individually placed with experienced teachers of the deaf. In this case, the students spent two days a week, for ten weeks, with their assigned teachers. One component of the students' work entailed asking their teachers what they considered to be their "best" instructional strategy or curriculum material. Once identified, the students were required to present the resulting information in a textual and graphic format. Each portfolio was to include the following information:

a. What? (description of what was done/used)
b. Why? (explanation of why it appeared to work so well)
c. Where? (identification, in A.P.A. style, of 2-3 resources that could be tapped for further information)

The resulting documents were copied and disseminated to the participating teachers and university students. In most cases, the teachers reported that the documents represented their first glimpse at the instructional strategies and curriculum materials that were used by their colleagues.

Efforts are now under way to encourage all deaf education teacher preparation programs to incorporate instructional/curricular portfolio development into their course design. If such incorporation does occur, it will yield a data bank of proven instructional strategies and curriculum materials.

Given such a data base, both the education of children who are deaf/hard-of-hearing and the professional development of their teachers should be substantially enhanced.