Saved as: KELLERPortfolio

3/25/04 10:58:13 AM

 

A referred manuscript accepted for publication and posting on the ERIC Counseling and Student Services Clearinghouse web site, Cybercounseling and Cyberlearning: Strategies and Resources for the Millennium, John W. Bloom and Garry R. Walz (2000), Editors..

 

 

Counseling Portfolios:

Simple and Effective

 

Thomas Keller

 

The development of individual portfolios by teacher education students to summarize and demonstrate their knowledge, their pre-service teaching experiences and their dispositions toward learning and the learning process is not a novel idea, but at Butler University, applying this concept in the counselor education program is.  Further, transcending the three-ring binder format of traditional portfolios and moving to an electronic format, be it via PowerPoint (slide show software from Microsoft: http://www.microsoft.com/office/powerpoint/default.htm), CD-ROM that holds more information than traditional diskette, or a page on the World Wide Web that is accessible through an Internet carrier, is another of the many cyber innovations and challenges awaiting counselors in the new millennium.

In spring semester 1998, students about to graduate from the Butler University Master’s in School Counseling program and enter the job market began addressing the expectation that they would submit a professional portfolio for faculty review, thereby addressing several of the technology competencies expected of today’s counselor education program graduates (Hartmann, 1999a,b; ACES, 1999).  Students have also begun to use portfolios in the interview process with potential employers. 

Catherine, a recent Butler graduate, felt the presentation of her portfolio was the key to her being offered a position over the other well-qualified candidates.  Joanne, another recent graduate, stated that even if a potential employer never looks at her portfolio she was glad it was a requirement of the program.  She felt that completing a portfolio helped her speak to a potential employer in a more articulate and organized fashion about her skills and accomplishments.  Still another graduate, Dawn, stated that the documentation of her pre-practicum, practicum, and internships experiences helped her provide evidence that as a licensed school counselor without teaching experience, she had done many relevant and meaningful things to understand and experience the school environment.

Lanny Parker, principal at Morristown (IN) Junior-Senior School indicated that while the use of portfolios is common, their sheer volume sometimes makes it difficult from them to be viewed in their entirety during an employment interview (personal communication, July 21, 1999).  Parker recommended students come prepared to point out one or two highlights rather than expect the interviewer to look at the entire volume.  He also suggested that leaving the interviewer with a one or two page take-home artifact is far more efficient than leaving the entire portfolio with the interviewer and then having to schedule another appointment to pick up the portfolio.  Electronic portfolios, which are mentioned later, are much more convenient because of their compact size, but are dependent upon the computer skills and computer capabilities of the interviewer for their effectiveness.

First year graduate students in the school counseling program are given direction and advice in the development of an individual portfolio and must submit their first draft portfolio for review at the end of the second semester (Appendix A).  The counselor education faculty reviews each portfolio and returns to the student comments and suggestions for improvement.  Portfolios are resubmitted for review at the end of the second year in the program with new documentation related to performances in practicum situations.  The process continues as students refine their portfolios, submitting a comprehensive and informative document of their accomplishments, experiences, skills, and professional values before they begin their employment interviews.

The competitive edge provided by portfolios in the job market is a distinct advantage for graduates, however, faculty must continually evaluate changing program requirements to keep abreast of an ever-evolving profession and job market.  One such change in the college is the use of technology in teacher education (NCATE, 2000), where each undergraduate is now required to prepare a portfolio to document classroom competencies.

 

Electronic Portfolios

Our students are encouraged to consider the development of electronic portfolios in lieu of the traditional hard copy product.  In the past two years students have begun to submit their portfolios on a CD or as a web page.  The web page concept provided several advantages over hardcopy and the CD options.  First, the increasing popularity of the Internet has pushed many people and institutions into providing access to Internet services.  It is highly likely that most schools have computers with Internet capabilities that would allow an administrator to view a potential employee’s web page portfolio.  This use of technology also alleviates the need to have compatible computer systems in order to view a CD.  Secondly, web page portfolios can easily be modified and updated.  Depending on the program used to create the initial web page, it can be as easy as dragging a folder to instantly change a part of your portfolio.  Thirdly, electronic portfolios open the doors to creativity for the individual, including colors, graphics, music, video clips, and other ways to express one’s individuality.  It also affords the opportunity to link directly to other Internet sites that can provide additional information about an individual and their interests and/or areas of expertise.

A web page portfolio was created by the author to demonstrate the portfolio concept and serve as a model for students. This web page (http://trevor.butler.edu/~tkeller/index.html ) provided the impetus for students to do the same as reflected by Deb, a third year school counseling student (http://www.ips.k12.in.us/s715/leser.htm ).  These examples allow the viewer to learn about the person in a way that would be difficult to convey on a piece of paper.  A letter of application could include the web address and allow a possible employer to learn about the individual before deciding on whom to interview.  Additionally, a web page electronic portfolio is a concrete example of someone’s technology skills, a desired quality for most employers as we enter the 21st century.

Ironically, school counselors have been thought by some to have been left out of the technology revolution.  Hartman (1999a, b) supports this notion and suggests that school counselors need to part of the technology revolution.  What better way to help school counselors advance their technology skills than to integrate technology into their school counseling training program and require documentation of these competencies.

 

Faculty and Graduate Program Portfolios and Web Pages

Two additional uses of the portfolio concept are emerging.  As more and more new educators and counselors utilize portfolios to tell their professional stories, it only seems logical that the next step in the evolutionary process is that faculty will also be called upon to find new ways to demonstrate their competence.  Electronic portfolios are likely to become part and parcel of the promotion and tenure process in both preK-12 and higher education settings.  Portfolio development is already part of the National Certified School Counselor credential application process of the National Board for Certified Counselors http://www.nbcc.org and is likely to be included in any advanced, voluntary certification process developed for school counselors by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards http://www.nbpts.org/nbpts.

Promoting graduate programs in counselor education and the behavioral health professions on the World Wide Web, once a curiosity and somewhat of a technological luxury, have become commonplace and even a marketing necessity.  Early examples of innovative web sites include those of the Department of Counseling and Special Education at San California State University, Fresno http://caracas.soehd.csufresno.edu/departments/cse/counsped.html and Arizona State University’s Division of Psychology in Education http://seamonkey.ed.asu.edu/~gail/division/divintro.htm.  More recent examples are

The Counseling and Educational Leadership program at Columbus State University, Columbus, GA http://ccp.colstate.edu/school.htm and the page of Russell Sabella at Florida Gulf Coast University http://coe.fgcu.edu/faculty/Sabella 

helps students have access to handouts, helps with program accreditation processes, and helps on-site visitation team members gain a more intimate view of the campus and the programs before arrival on campus.

            An additional step in this program portfolio concept is currently the American School Counselor Association http://www.schoolcounselor.org links elementary, middle, and high school level school web pages to highlight individual guidance programs nationally.  In the state of Indiana, the Indiana School Counselor Association http://isca-in.org is in process of modeling this form of electronic media as a resource for counselors, parents, and students.

 

 


References

 

Association for Counselor Education and Supervision (1999).  Recommended technical competencies for counselor education students.  [On-line]. Available: http://www.chre.vt.edu/f-s/thohen/competencies.htm.

 

Hartman, K.E. (1999a). Becoming a cybercounselor.  www.classroom.com

 

Hartman, K. E. (1999b).  The Education Trust guidelines for a technology component to the DeWitt Wallace School Counseling Project.  [On-line]. Available: http://udel.edu/~khartman/page25.html

 

NCATE (2000).  CEO Forum supports NCATE’s work in technology.  [On-line]. Available: http://www.ncate.org/specfoc/CEOForum.html.

 


APPENDIX A

 

THE COUNSELOR EDUCATION PORTFOLIO

 

The Counselor Education Portfolio is meant to be an opportunity for you to showcase you as a person, your development as a professional, and your special abilities and activities. It is our belief that this form of documentation will prepare you well for the job search process as you collect artifacts and reflect upon your journey. It is also fast becoming the norm for education professionals as we move toward performance based, authentic means of assessment.

 

We encourage you to exercise your creativity within the structure provided. It is important to provide evidence/artifacts in the following areas. When you provide an artifact, consider whether or not it is clear to the reader as to why you included it. If not, provide a brief reflective type of statement to enlighten the reader. For the CACREP Core Knowledge areas you should link your artifact to a competency for that area. You will receive additional guidance on this.

 

Table of Contents

¨     Resume

¨     Personal and Counseling Philosophy Statement

¨     Butler University School Counseling Program materials

¨     The CACREP Core Knowledge Areas

 

Human Growth and Development

Social and Cultural Foundations

Helping Relationships

Group Work

Career and Lifestyle Development

Research and Program Evaluation

Professional Orientation

Clinical:      

Pre-Practicum or related experiences

Practicum

Internship

¨     Professional Development Activities

¨     Cohort Activities

¨     Diversity Activities

¨     Technology Applications and Skills

¨     Special Projects or Skills

¨     A Glimpse of Your Personal Side

 

The Counselor Education faculty will review all portfolios at the end of the spring semester. We will provide feedback, but will not use it in an evaluative manner. The portfolio is a program expectation, but it really is for you and your future. Please take care in assembling it and getting it to us on time.

 

SUGGESTIONS FOR PORTFOLIO DEVELOPMENT

 

¨     Make it neat and organized for efficient reading. Remember it is to represent you as a professional school counselor.

¨     Dividers and/or tabs are very useful.

¨     A Table of Contents is helpful. You could create a master one and then add/delete artifacts in each area as you progress.

¨     Page protectors can be good, but we suggest that you only put in a front and back sheet as most readers will not want to take out the entire paper. So for example, you might put in the title sheet of a paper and the sheet showing instructor feedback.

¨     Remember to use a post-it, a stick-on tab, or something similar if you need to explain an artifact.

¨     Tapes will be hard to keep in your portfolio so you might indicate on a page that “A videotape of my counseling skills is available upon request”.

¨     Pictures and use of color really enhance appearance.

¨     Your philosophy statement is very important so give it serious thought. We suggest visiting the American School Counselor Association web site: www.schoolcouselor.org and the Indiana Department of Education web site: www.doe.state.in.us/sservices/sc.htm for good resource information on school counseling role and position statements.

¨     You might be interested in websites devoted to Electronic Resources. These websites contain information about the use of the electronic portfolio in K-12 or in programs of teacher/counselor education. The websites listed here were selected based on their ability to describe the electronic portfolio development process or to provide examples of electronic portfolios.

 

College of Education, Minnesota State University, Mankato

http://www.coled.mankato.msus.edu

 

Electronic Portfolios by Yolanda Abrenica

http://edweb.sdsu.edu/courses/edtec596r/students/Abrenica/Abrenica.html#how

 

Student Electronic Portfolios by Thomas Arbruster

http://jrti.berk.tec.wv.us/portfolio/Port_intro.htm

 

Student Portfolios, Delaware State Education Association

http://www.dmv.com/~dsea/profdevl/portintr.html

 

Deb Leser, a Butler University School Counselor Electronic Portfolio

http://www.ips.k12.in.us/s715/leser.htm
THE COUNSELOR EDUCATION PORTFOLIO

 

The Counselor Education Portfolio is meant to be an opportunity for you to showcase you as a person, your development as a professional, and your special abilities and activities. It is our belief that this form of documentation will prepare you well for the job search process as you collect artifacts and reflect upon your journey. It is also fast becoming the norm for education professionals as we move toward performance based, authentic means of assessment.

 

We encourage you to exercise your creativity within the structure provided. It is important to provide evidence/artifacts in the following areas. When you provide an artifact, consider whether or not it is clear to the reader as to why you included it. If not, provide a brief reflective type of statement to enlighten the reader. For the CACREP Core Knowledge areas you should link your artifact to a competency for that area. You will receive additional guidance on this.

 

Table of Contents

¨     Resume

¨     Personal and Counseling Philosophy Statement

¨     Butler University School Counseling Program materials

¨     The CACREP Core Knowledge Areas

 

Human Growth and Development

Social and Cultural Foundations

Helping Relationships

Group Work

Career and Lifestyle Development

Research and Program Evaluation

Professional Orientation

Clinical:      

Pre-Practicum or related experiences

Practicum

Internship

¨     Professional Development Activities

¨     Cohort Activities

¨     Diversity Activities

¨     Technology Applications and Skills

¨     Special Projects or Skills

¨     A Glimpse of Your Personal Side

 

The Counselor Education faculty will review all portfolios at the end of the spring semester. We will provide feedback, but will not use it in an evaluative manner. The portfolio is a program expectation, but it really is for you and your future. Please take care in assembling it and getting it to us on time.

 

SUGGESTIONS FOR PORTFOLIO DEVELOPMENT

 

¨     Make it neat and organized for efficient reading. Remember it is to represent you as a professional school counselor.

¨     Dividers and/or tabs are very useful.

¨     A Table of Contents is helpful. You could create a master one and then add/delete artifacts in each area as you progress.

¨     Page protectors can be good, but we suggest that you only put in a front and back sheet as most readers will not want to take out the entire paper. So for example, you might put in the title sheet of a paper and the sheet showing instructor feedback.

¨     Remember to use a post-it, a stick-on tab, or something similar if you need to explain an artifact.

¨     Tapes will be hard to keep in your portfolio so you might indicate on a page that “A videotape of my counseling skills is available upon request”.

¨     Pictures and use of color really enhance appearance.

¨     Your philosophy statement is very important so give it serious thought. We suggest visiting the American School Counselor Association web site: www.schoolcouselor.org and the Indiana Department of Education web site: www.doe.state.in.us/sservices/sc.htm for good resource information on school counseling role and position statements.

¨     You might be interested in websites devoted to Electronic Resources. These websites contain information about the use of the electronic portfolio in K-12 or in programs of teacher/counselor education. The websites listed here were selected based on their ability to describe the electronic portfolio development process or to provide examples of electronic portfolios.

 

College of Education, Minnesota State University, Mankato

http://www.coled.mankato.msus.edu

 

Electronic Portfolios by Yolanda Abrenica

http://edweb.sdsu.edu/courses/edtec596r/students/Abrenica/Abrenica.html#how

 

Student Electronic Portfolios by Thomas Arbruster

http://jrti.berk.tec.wv.us/portfolio/Port_intro.htm

 

Student Portfolios, Delaware State Education Association

http://www.dmv.com/~dsea/profdevl/portintr.html

 

Deb Leser, a Butler University School Counselor Electronic Portfolio

http://www.ips.k12.in.us/s715/leser.htm