Planning and Presenting Individual Lessons for Your Portfolio

  • joub
  • Jun 26, 2024

Creating a robust and comprehensive teaching portfolio is an essential part of becoming an educator in South Africa. This process not only helps to demonstrate your competence and readiness to teach but also provides a structured way to reflect on your teaching practice. One crucial component of this portfolio is the planning and presentation of individual lessons. This essay will explore how many individual lessons you need to plan and present for your portfolio in South Africa, offering insights into the requirements, expectations, and best practices for creating a compelling teaching portfolio.

How Many Individual Lessons Do You Need to Plan and Present on Your Own for Your Portfolio

The Requirements for a Teaching Portfolio

The Role of a Teaching Portfolio

A teaching portfolio is a collection of documents that provide evidence of your teaching abilities, philosophy, and achievements. It is typically used during job applications, evaluations, and professional development opportunities. In South Africa, teaching portfolios are essential for both pre-service teachers (those still in training) and in-service teachers (those already working in schools). The portfolio serves multiple purposes, including:

  1. Demonstrating Teaching Competence: Showcasing your ability to plan, deliver, and assess effective lessons.
  2. Reflecting on Practice: Providing a platform for self-reflection and professional growth.
  3. Meeting Certification and Employment Criteria: Fulfilling requirements for certification, accreditation, and job applications.

Regulatory and Institutional Guidelines

The number of individual lessons you need to plan and present for your portfolio may vary depending on several factors, including the specific requirements of your teacher training program, the guidelines set by the South African Council for Educators (SACE), and the policies of the institution where you are completing your teaching practice. Generally, these requirements are outlined in the curriculum of your teacher education program and the guidelines provided by SACE.

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Planning Individual Lessons

Elements of a Well-Planned Lesson

Before diving into the number of lessons required, it is essential to understand the key elements that constitute a well-planned lesson. Each lesson plan should include the following components:

  1. Learning Objectives: Clear, measurable goals that outline what students should know or be able to do by the end of the lesson.
  2. Lesson Content: Detailed information on the subject matter to be covered, including any resources, materials, and activities.
  3. Teaching Methods: Strategies and approaches to be used in delivering the lesson, such as lectures, discussions, group work, or hands-on activities.
  4. Assessment: Methods for evaluating student learning, including formative assessments (e.g., quizzes, observations) and summative assessments (e.g., tests, projects).
  5. Differentiation: Plans for addressing the diverse needs of students, including accommodations for learners with special needs or varying levels of ability.
  6. Reflection: Opportunities for self-assessment and reflection on the effectiveness of the lesson and areas for improvement.

Importance of Detailed Lesson Plans

Creating detailed lesson plans is crucial for several reasons:

  1. Guidance: Provides a clear roadmap for delivering the lesson, ensuring that all necessary content is covered.
  2. Consistency: Helps maintain consistency and coherence in teaching, especially when dealing with complex or multi-part lessons.
  3. Evaluation: Facilitates the assessment of your teaching practice by mentors, supervisors, and evaluators.
  4. Reflection: Offers a basis for reflecting on your teaching practice and identifying areas for growth and improvement.

Presenting Individual Lessons

Preparing for Lesson Delivery

Once your lesson plans are in place, the next step is to prepare for the actual delivery of the lessons. This involves several key activities:

  1. Familiarizing Yourself with the Content: Ensuring a thorough understanding of the subject matter and anticipating potential questions or challenges.
  2. Organizing Materials and Resources: Gathering all necessary materials, resources, and equipment needed for the lesson.
  3. Rehearsing the Lesson: Practicing the delivery of the lesson to build confidence and ensure smooth execution.
  4. Setting Up the Classroom: Arranging the physical environment to support the teaching methods and activities planned.
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Delivering the Lesson

Effective lesson delivery involves several critical elements:

  1. Engagement: Capturing and maintaining students’ attention through dynamic and interactive teaching methods.
  2. Clarity: Communicating instructions and content clearly and concisely to ensure student understanding.
  3. Adaptability: Being flexible and responsive to students’ needs, adjusting the lesson as necessary based on their feedback and performance.
  4. Assessment: Continuously assessing student learning through formative assessments and adjusting the lesson as needed.
  5. Reflection: Taking time after the lesson to reflect on what went well, what didn’t, and how future lessons can be improved.

Number of Individual Lessons Required

Pre-Service Teachers

For pre-service teachers (those still in training), the number of individual lessons required for the teaching portfolio will typically be specified by the teacher education program and the guidelines of SACE. On average, pre-service teachers in South Africa are expected to complete a teaching practicum that includes planning and presenting a substantial number of lessons. This number can range from 20 to 40 individual lessons, depending on the length and structure of the practicum.

In-Service Teachers

For in-service teachers (those already working in schools), the requirements may vary based on the specific goals of the portfolio and the expectations of the school or district. However, in-service teachers seeking professional development or certification may also be required to plan and present a similar number of lessons, typically around 20 to 30, to demonstrate their ongoing competence and growth as educators.

Factors Influencing the Number of Lessons

Several factors can influence the number of individual lessons required for your portfolio:

  1. Program Requirements: The specific guidelines and requirements of your teacher education program.
  2. Level of Certification: The level of certification or professional development you are pursuing (e.g., initial certification, advanced certification).
  3. Institutional Policies: The policies and expectations of the school or district where you are completing your teaching practice.
  4. Personal Goals: Your own professional development goals and the areas you wish to showcase in your portfolio.

Best Practices for Creating a Teaching Portfolio

Documenting Your Lessons

As you plan and present your individual lessons, it is essential to document each lesson thoroughly. This documentation should include:

  1. Lesson Plan: A detailed lesson plan outlining the objectives, content, teaching methods, assessment, and reflection.
  2. Teaching Materials: Copies of any materials, resources, or handouts used during the lesson.
  3. Assessment Results: Records of student assessments and feedback, including formative and summative assessments.
  4. Reflection: A reflective journal or notes on the effectiveness of the lesson, what went well, and areas for improvement.
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Organizing Your Portfolio

Organizing your teaching portfolio in a clear and logical manner is crucial for presenting a professional and coherent body of work. Consider the following tips:

  1. Structure: Divide your portfolio into sections, such as introduction, teaching philosophy, lesson plans, assessments, reflections, and additional materials.
  2. Consistency: Maintain a consistent format and style for documenting each lesson, making it easy for evaluators to review your work.
  3. Evidence: Include a variety of evidence to support your teaching practice, such as student work samples, assessment results, and feedback from mentors or supervisors.
  4. Reflection: Incorporate regular reflections on your teaching practice, highlighting your growth and development as an educator.

Seeking Feedback

Regularly seeking feedback from mentors, supervisors, and peers is essential for improving your teaching practice and enhancing your portfolio. Consider the following approaches:

  1. Mentorship: Establish a mentoring relationship with an experienced teacher who can provide guidance and feedback on your lesson plans and delivery.
  2. Peer Review: Engage in peer review sessions with fellow pre-service or in-service teachers, exchanging feedback and ideas for improvement.
  3. Supervisor Evaluation: Request regular evaluations from your supervising teacher or university supervisor, using their feedback to refine your practice.


In conclusion, the number of individual lessons you need to plan and present for your portfolio in South Africa will vary depending on your specific teacher education program, the guidelines of the South African Council for Educators (SACE), and the policies of the institution where you are completing your teaching practice. On average, pre-service teachers can expect to plan and present between 20 to 40 individual lessons, while in-service teachers may be required to present around 20 to 30 lessons. By thoroughly documenting each lesson, organizing your portfolio effectively, and seeking regular feedback, you can create a comprehensive and compelling teaching portfolio that showcases your competence and readiness to teach. This process not only helps you meet certification and employment criteria but also fosters your professional growth and development as an educator.

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