When I reflect on what our Provisionally Registered Teacher (PRT) programme is looking for as we develop our e-portfolio tool as part of our teacher registration programme, I think the focus should remain on the fact e-portfolio is a tool for attestation. A robust tool and system for attestation engenders a culture of trust and strength as a base for PRTs to ask questions and tell their learning and teaching stories in an open and honest manner. If PRTs feel secure, they are able to engage with issues and create identities in a safe place. As this is the first group to try this tool, I feel the potential of ‘storytelling’ through PRTs building learning windows to grow conscious awareness of practice is poised for growth.

Stories told can provide meaningful examples of practice and paths to identify and connect with others. They can be the vehicle that links individuals and unpacks personal and centre practices.  Another purpose of this tool is as a vehicle for teacher identity construction.

Identity Construction

Teacher identity construction in a learning window is via combinations of literature, photographs, and written reflections, learning stories, anecdotes, audio and video clips. Nothing exists in a vacuum, everything has context. The file selections teachers make to represent and answer questions about their teaching practice signifies their particular identity to the world. The formation of teacher identity in e-portfolios is through the creation of narrative compositions and images that express ideas, answer questions with depth, highlight areas of practice and show underlying values. Narrative theorists, such as Bruner, Chomsky, Propp and Todorov, argue there is connection between stories told and identities formed. These theorists support the idea that people use a framework of stories to construct their social world. Within a framework of learning and teaching stories, told in a modern media space, our PRTs and mentors construct, define and explore identity as teachers.

In our context, the mechanism of storytelling is more than images or written narrative. Each artefact selected connects to others through vectors of reflection and deep understandings; thus making practice more visible as direction becomes real. The vectors represent golden threads of direction and the artefacts selected are always acting on or interacting with each other. Without the benefit of deep reflective thought, images and artefacts would show a vastly different type of representation. One set of artefacts shows reflection and action, active and interacting connecting vectors through reflection highlighting dynamic practice. The other is a static and unchanging picture of dry, conceptual practice. By acknowledging and investigating the threads of narrative from the mentor, the PRT and the learning community, we can draw them together and construct a representational narrative of our early childhood centres.

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