Situating ‘the author’ within the development and assessment of teaching portfolios

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Amidst national calls for Afrikanising our curricula, the complexities of authorial biography in post-colonial times, and the possibilities of co-constructed curricula through participatory evaluation, authorship continues to productively problematize our academic spaces. This paper argues that the ways in which the academic’s intentionality operates, and is valued, in the development and assessment of teaching portfolios (TP), may be significant for the quality of their learning engagement. Situating the author within interpretation processes may lead to better development of their capacity for self-assessment, metacognition and reflexivity, as they negotiate the complexities of the-other-as-reader. This presentation considers two foci of authorship which the TP potentially makes manifest: ‘layers of narration’ when authoring the curriculum and the actual portfolio document itself. The concern is with how intentionality operates when it comes to the student-recipients’ experiences of and reception of curricula; and how it operates in relation to the reader-responses of the TP assessors. If staff are indeed invested in their ‘nominal authenticity’, i.e. that what they actually intend is received as such, that negotiated criterion might better align their practice to their intentionality, or enable conscious change informed by the reception of others. Whilst previous proponents of such an approach have utilised such notions as ‘espoused theory’ vs ‘theory-in-use’, contemporary notions of authorship and readership from literary theory may provide re-consideration of our assessment processes as academic developers, as they are predicated on notions of ethical responsibility and obligation in postmodern times.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages13
Publication statusPublished - 23 Nov 2016
EventInternational Consortium for Educational Development (ICED) Conference 2016: Ethics, Care and Quality in Educational Development - Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa
Duration: 23 Nov 201625 Nov 2016


ConferenceInternational Consortium for Educational Development (ICED) Conference 2016
CountrySouth Africa
CityCape Town
Internet address


  • educational development
  • staff development
  • portfolios
  • assessment
  • authorship
  • interpretative communities
  • intentionality


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