Our new manager has introduced a new tool for attestation – the e-portfolio. It seems to be a great new tool and I look forward to its full introduction.

An e-portfolio is an online space for a teacher to take advantage of contemporary multi-media practices. Its primary use in our case is for the purpose of attestation; however, I feel other uses are as a space for robust teacher identity construction and representation. Our previous system of collating artefacts to support our provisional teacher registration process usually consisted of two or three ring binders of documentation compiled over two years. Each piece of documentation linked to one of the 12 Registered Teacher Criteria to attest that the teacher met the standard. Fully registered teachers were not wholly included in a robust process of showing how they met the Registered Teacher Criteria.

Some teachers including myself found the PRT registration process confusing and unrelated to daily practice with children; it did not answer any questions for me. I felt it was a tick box process and I distanced myself somewhat from the process and any underlying possibilities for growth in my practice. The teacher registration process was something I did, however I do not feel I fully engaged with it.

I feel quite excited by the development of this new on-line tool and a system closely linking mentors and PRTs for attestation. I feel it may hold more benefit for teachers who are reasonably comfortable with the digital world. I also believe the on-line process may resonate more strongly for those who felt the previous ‘paper only’ system had little or no meaning to them. A natural, positive and free flowing exploration of the ‘self’ and practice with children may occur in an online context for those who are used to working in the digital world. One only has to note the uninhibited musings on Face book and Twitter to realise that people are often more comfortable to engage with the digital world.

The collaborative pairing of PRT and mentor is an opportunity to create an authentic partnership and develop a culture where the PRT and mentor feel part of a learning community. Constant reflection on practice with an eye towards improvement is the goal. The ideal collaboration leads to the investment of time and energy by both partners building an atmosphere of trust and respect. Mentors have a particular level of professional expertise, through dialogue and the exchange of ideas they open pathways to differing perspectives for the PRT and support their learning. I am hoping enthusiasm for our new tool will shrink the participation gap between teachers doing registration with our group and choosing to use other groups.

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