Professional Development System

1. Goals of Professional Development

2. Standards for Evaluation

3. System of Professional Development and Evaluation

  • 3.1 Portfolio of Professional Experience
  • 3.2 Formal Observations and Evaluations
  • 3.3 Publication, Presentation, Coursework Completion, or Review Board Participation

1. Goals of Professional Development

  • To promote the systematic professional development of GTFs while they are working at TIU
  • To provide evidence in support of any application for a new contract at GTI or related institutions
  • To provide a record of professional development for future career purposes

2. Standards for Evaluation

The criteria for retention and contract extension shall be:

  1. Teaching effectiveness, based on formal evaluations and classroom observations
  2. Personal and professional development, based on research activities and portfolio development
  3. Institutional and community service, such a volunteering for TIU and GTI activities within and without of the bounds of the set curriculum

Although GTFs are expected to make contributions in all three areas, effective teaching is of paramount importance; poor teaching cannot be redeemed in the other two areas.

1 The effective teacher…

  • has substantial understanding of subject matter and uses this knowledge in teaching courses
  • is well prepared for classes and presents courses in an organized fashion, making clear to students the objectives and requirements of courses, methods of examination, and the criteria upon which student performance will be evaluated;
  • seeks to maintain the interest of concerned students and to stimulate their intellectual curiosity and creative abilities
  • exhibits fairness and impartiality in evaluating student achievement
  • is sensitive to student needs and concerns; and, within the limits of available time, is willing to devote energy to meet the needs of individual students
  • revises courses when necessary to reflect current developments in the field as well as the changing needs and interests of students, and, when appropriate, develops new course materials and explores new teaching techniques
  • assumes a fair share of the work of advising students and duties on selected GTI committee, is accessible for consulting with advisees, provides advice and assistance in planning of student programs,
  • is knowledgeable about academic requirements for program completion, and is conscientious about encouraging their timely completion.

2 In pursuing personal and professional development, the GTF…

…engages in such scholarly activities as research and writing for publication, artistic creativity, or other professional works which expand one’s teaching expertise, contribute to one’s subject field, and enhance the life of TIU; remains current with developments in professional areas through such involvement in professional organizations as membership and office holding, active participation in professional meetings and conferences, or presentation of scholarly work;

…has concerns which extend beyond the confines of an academic discipline that further professional interests and develop personal skills, such as enhanced interdisciplinary understanding, increased teaching effectiveness, improved advising techniques, and participation in the intellectual and cultural life of the campus.

3 In fulfilling responsibilities for institutional and/or community service and teamwork, the GTF…

  • accepts a fair share of the non-teaching work of the Faculty such as constructive participation with colleagues in the work of the program, by involvement in co-curricular activities, and service at TIU;
  • reflects a commitment to the goals of TIU by seeking improvement through constructive criticism; supporting the standards, policies, and programs adopted by TIU; and cooperating with colleagues;

Decisions on retention and contract extensions shall be based upon the standards stated above and the system (as described in 3. System of professional development and evaluation) which is defined in the GTI faculty member’s contract (GTF Employment Contract, Article 3. 2) as “Participating in GTI’s Performance Evaluating Appraisal”).  Final decisions regarding offers of contract renewal are dependent upon the discretion of TIU Administration, TIU Human Resources and GTI Administration. 

Updated October 2016

3. System of professional development and evaluation

The system comprises three instruments as follows:

3.1 Portfolio of Professional Experience

The philosophy of teaching and statement of personal goals will be submitted by May 31 (for those whose contract began in April) and October 31 (for those whose contract began in September) at the beginning of each academic year. The remaining portion of the portfolio will be submitted by March 31 of each academic year (for those whose contract began in April) or August 31 of each academic year (for those whose contract began in September) to all GTI Directors.

Updated June 2016

3.2 Formal Director(s) and Peer observations and evaluations

There will be one formal teaching observation by a GTI Director in the first semester for first-year faculty.

See Observations & Evaluations for procedural details; i.e. pre-observation meeting, etc.)

First-semester faculty will be informed who their observer is at the outset of the semester or year.

Non-first-semester faculty will have a class observed by a peer each semester. These faculty will select five peers that they would like to have observe their classes and send that list to the Director by the date noted on the calendar; the Director will then notify all these faculty members about their observations by the date stated on the calendar. If scheduling conflicts arise so that the observer cannot directly observe the class, a video recording of the lesson may be done which will be followed by the observer’s viewing and a post-viewing meeting.

The list of five peers will be sent by e-mail to the Director by April 20, and peer observers will be notified by April 30 who they will be observing.

See Formal Teaching Observations & Evaluations and the following for the observation protocol.

Since the purpose of these observations is to assist in developing teaching practices, having them completed with time in the semester to implement the feedback is important; for spring semester classes, these observations must be completed by June 30; for fall semester classes, November 30. Observer’s comments and teacher’s reflective comment reports must be sent to the Directors by June 30 and November 30.

Once completed and signed, please put the 2 observations forms (below) in the Director’s Mail box at the information desk of the English Plaza.

Director Observation Form (Word)

Peer Observation Forms (Word)

For more details:

See Formal Teaching Observations


At the end of each semester all GTFs are asked to administer the university-wide formal student evaluations and then write a brief report based on the students’ feedback.

Updated October 2016

3.3 Publication, Presentation, Coursework Completion, or Review Board Participation

For each PD activity, please inform the PD committee by taking the Professional Development Notification Survey once you have been accepted for publication or presentation; this helps the committee track GTI professional development trends and helps guide the support offered by the committee in response to GTFs’ needs.

GTI faculty who wish to re-contract for a second or third term must provide evidence for the successful completion of one of the following.

  • A publication (single author or co-author) in an EFL/ESL journal/newsletter, applied linguistics journal, education-related journal or education-related materials publication. Examples are the JALT Language Teacher, JALT Journal, TESOL or its affiliate-related journals, HEIS newsletter, TIU/SLC Journal (Ronso), and textbooks. Questions on the acceptability of publication types should be addressed to the Director.
  • A poster presentation at a second/foreign language, applied linguistics or education-related conference.
  • A professional presentation or workshop at a second/foreign language, applied linguistics or education-related conference.
  • Successful completion of an academic course in a subject area related to language teaching and/or applied linguistics, taken to enhance the professional qualifications of the instructor. For more specific information on types of courses, reporting procedures, and evidence of completion, please see the Director before enrolling.
  • Participation as a reviewer or editorial staff for an academic newsletter, journal, or conference review board. For more specific information, address questions to the Director.
  • A presentation for GTI faculty (scheduled during time allotted for GTI a team meeting) totally 30 minutes (in one or more presentations).  For more specific information, address questions to the Director.

3.1 Portfolio of Professional Experience

The portfolio of professional experience at TIU is to be collected by all GTFs participating in the system. In essence the portfolio should illustrate the reflective process that each individual has gone through. Experience shows that compiling the portfolio progressively, over a series of semesters, is preferable to putting it together close to the due date (see time frames below). The latter method reduces the portfolio to a highly stressful and labor-intensive ‘assignment’, rather than a useful and creative document that reflects professional growth over a period of time. There are opportunities to discuss the portfolio with GTI management in the time leading up to its submission (as outlined in the section on lesson observations).

Once submitted, each portfolio receives a close reading by one member of GTI management (although all portfolios are looked through and discussed by the management team as a whole). This reader, the Director or Associate Director who conducts the class observations in spring semester, then offers the portfolio author an opportunity to discuss its contents in a feedback meeting. However, this meeting is not mandatory – it is the participant’s decision as to whether this meeting is held or not (and whatever decision is taken has no bearing whatsoever on contract renewal).

The composition of the portfolio will differ from one individual to another. Each GTF has the freedom to produce an artifact that they think best reflects themselves as professionals.

Please note:

  1. Do NOT include materials from formal lesson/session observations (see below), as GTI management already has all this documentation.
  2. You may submit the portfolio in any format (eg. binder, folder, online/cloud-based).

Content of the Portfolio

a) Philosophy of Teaching

Please include, at the beginning of your portfolio, a brief statement outlining your philosophy of teaching (suggested length one A4 page). This self-reflective statement should first outline your beliefs about teaching and learning and second discuss how you put your beliefs into practice. Include concrete examples of what you do in your work.

b) Statement of Personal Goals:

Please include two statements with your personal goals for your professional development (a) in your first semester and (b) after two years in the GTI. That is, we would like you to consider in what ways you would like, or need, to develop in the field of language education. For example: 1) if you have a strong teaching background you may wish to focus on developing your research skills and/or 2) if you have not used technology much in your classes you may be interested in developing that experience and/or 3) if you do not have much experience in collaboratively developing instructional materials you may wish to focus on that area.

In essence what you choose to include in your portfolio should document the ways in which you have gone about trying to achieve your goals.

Apart from including a statement of personal goals, all other content is up to you. Some suggested content categories that you might like to consider are provided below.

Other Categories:

c) Examples of instructional materials prepared and trialed, together with reports of such trials Instructional materials refer to materials prepared within any course or workshop; as the main focus of the learning or as supplemental to existing texts or materials. A report on the instructional materials can contain an outline of the rationale for preparing the materials, examples of the materials, links to online resources, a description of the trialing (when, who, etc), data gained as a result of the trialing, and reflections on the data, as well as any other information the teacher/learning advisor feels is important.

d) Reports of collaborative or individual action research

These reports can include details of who was involved, an outline of the research conducted, the findings and interpretations, and any action that was taken as a result of this research.

e) Reports of peer classroom visits or peer advising sessions made or received

Peer observation is strongly encouraged in the GTI. Any materials and reflections derived from peer observation are welcome to be included in the portfolio.

f) Papers and/or presentations made at professional meetings

This category can include presentations at conferences, in-house, PR events, etc; it can be in the form of a formal paper, a presentation written up as a long summary (including the main points of the paper or salient results), or a handout-version of a PowerPoint.

g) Informal student evaluations

The portfolio may include reflections on formal and/or informal student evaluations by the teacher or learning advisor. Informal student evaluations are those that are administered by individuals within a course or module as a whole. They may be quantitative or qualitative. Formal student evaluations are administered by the university at the end of each semester (note: formal student evaluations already form one component of the formal evaluative component). If you are planning on conducting a survey, please contact the Director of GTI to complete all the required documents authenticating ethical behavior.

h) GTF self-evaluation

A GTF can undertake a self-evaluation of teaching/advising experiences. The self-evaluation would give the individual the opportunity to reflect on areas of work experience that are considered to have been performed effectively, and those areas that are perceived to need improvement or further development. This self-evaluation can then be used, if desired, to establish criteria for peer observations.

i) Workshops, Courses, and/or Conferences attended

In addition to recording attendance at such professional development activities, some reflection on the relevance or usefulness of the presentations/courses would be deemed most appropriate. Of particular interest would be conference presentations made, particularly presentations about TIU-related teaching or research.

j) Informal Discussions

A GTF may wish to keep a record of informal discussions with peers – and reflect on the usefulness, relevance or appropriateness of what was discussed. This could include, for example, discussions held as part of staff meetings.

k) Committee Work

GTFs are very active committee members in the Plaza (conversation lounge, advising, workshops, technology and cafe) and in various other manners. Information about such activities can make interesting and useful contributions to the portfolio, and can be particularly helpful evidence in support of future job applications.

l) Participation in Extra-Curricular Activities

GTFs are often active in areas other than teaching, coordinating, researching and similar contractual obligations. Reports and reflections on such activities are also appropriate for the portfolio. Some examples are: organizing GTI sports events, involvement in student clubs, speech and essay contest participation, performing at the Kawagoe Festival, and creating a lunchtime reading group for students.

3.2 Formal observations/evaluations

Formal GTI Evaluation will comprise the following two areas:

1. Formal Teaching Observations

2. Formal Student Evaluations

3.2.1. Formal Teaching Observations

The system for formal teaching observations is as follows. (Note: During the semester there will be opportunities for GTFs to have informal one-on-one meetings with the Director or Associate Director and class / English Plaza observations by the Director or Associate Director.)

i) There will be one formal teaching observation each semester. At the beginning of the relevant semester, an orientation meeting is held in which the system is fully explained, documents distributed, and questions answered.

ii) After input from participants, GTFs are informed who their observer will be. It is then up to each participant to plan when he/she would like the observation(s) to take place and contact an observer to negotiate a suitable date. Initially, this may be a vague plan (e.g. “sometime in week 8 or 9”). However, it is very important to plan ahead early in the semester, as time soon runs out, and a large number of observations have to be completed – thus limiting the availability of observers. In most cases there is room for flexibility – e.g., as a proposed date approaches, the teacher may request to change the time slot for a variety of reasons.

iii) The teacher submits a lesson plan/outline/materials in preparation for a pre-observation meeting.

iv) A planning meeting is held between the observer and the teacher during which the following topics are discussed:

1) the preliminary lesson plan

2) an agreed list of teaching and classroom management techniques to be observed (see full list below)

v) Based on the discussion above, the observer drafts an observation form to be used in the lesson and sends it to the teacher beforehand.

vi) An observation of the class is held, as agreed.

vii) Both the teacher and observer prepare reports in which they reflect on the lesson in light of the agreed observation areas. These are exchanged, usually within a week of the lesson. Neither party reads the report of the other before writing his/her own. (See the link to the form for peer observation below; for observations conducted by a(n) (Associate) Director, the (Associate) Director will provide details about the form to be used)

viii) The reports are discussed at a meeting between the teacher and the observer. Signed copies of both reports are kept on file by GTI management (therefore they are NOT to be included in a teacher’s portfolio of professional experience).


Do not leave your observations to the end of semester if you only intend to be doing “wrapping up” activities in class (e.g. 90 minutes of student presentations).

Do not schedule an observation when students are taking a test or exam or when students are giving presentations as these situations limit the observations of teaching technique and classroom presence.

It is expected that a GTF’s written reflections be about 500 words in length.

It is also a good idea to use the post-observation meetings to discuss the portfolio – e.g., what should go in it, how long it should be, how to present the material.

Teacher Observation Focus Areas:

A. Being prepared

1. Did the teacher prepare resources beforehand? (Resources can include handouts, online resources, visual aids, realia, books, pens/markers etc.).

2. Was the teacher fully conversant with any technology/facilities used in class?

3. Has the teacher anticipated possible problems? Has the teacher considered solutions?

B. Teaching Subject Matter

1. Was the lesson appropriate for the course/syllabus?

2. Was the aim (or aims) of the lesson clear? Did lesson stages have clear sub-aims?

3. What skills were focused on in the lesson?

4. Did the teacher review previous work?

5. In introducing/teaching new subject matter, did the teacher place the lesson within a meaningful context (e.g., by linking to previous work/creating interest in the topic/getting students motivated)?

6. Did the teacher give clear/easily understood explanations/instructions about the subject matter and related activities?

7. Were different activities utilized/offered in the class?

8. Did the teacher give clear feedback to students, and were any corrections/comments appropriate for the task?

9. If homework was given, was it appropriate for the lesson/course (e.g., amount, purpose, content)? Was it clearly explained (e.g., purpose, deadlines, grading criteria)?

10. How effectively did the teacher use the blackboard/whiteboard during the lesson?

11. How effectively did the teacher use technology/facilities during the lesson?

C. Managing Pair/Group Work in General

1. Was group work organized and managed effectively?

2. Was the formation of students into pairs or groups effective (either in terms of teacher designation or student choice)?

3. Did students participate actively?

4. In what ways did the teacher attempt to monitor pair/group work (e.g., helping, checking, answering, motivating, clarifying, observing, assessing, collecting data, showing interest)?

5. Was the group work integrated effectively with whole class work?

D. Managing the Preparation of Reports and Presentations

1. Were the teacher’s instructions clear and comprehensible?

2. Did the teacher attend to the organization of roles for members of the group – e.g. the ‘reporting’ role, the ‘gathering data’ role, the ‘editing’ role, the ‘managing’ role?

3. Did the students participate in /contribute to the preparation (or merely respond to the teacher’s instructions)?

4. Did the teacher check that students understand their tasks?

E. Language


1. Was there genuine interactive use of English in the classroom?

2. Was there a high density of language use?

3. Did the teacher ensure that all students participated in using language?

Student language:

1. Did students speak English only, or was Japanese also used?

2. Did students use English with a number of their classmates?

3. What observations could be made about the nature of the students’ language (e.g., spontaneous, structured, on/off-task, (un)motivated)?

Teacher language:

1. What observations could be made about the teacher’s register?

2. What observations could be made about the nature of the teacher’s voice (e.g., speed, emphasis, clarity, loudness, phrasing, tone)?

3. What observations could be made about the teacher’s verbal interaction style (e.g., responding, correcting, encouraging, disciplining, answering)?

4. What observations could be made about the teacher’s non-verbal communication style (e.g., movement, stance, eye contact, body language)?

F. Timing/Pacing of Activities

1. Did the timing/pacing of activities suit the level and motivation of the students?

2. Did the timing/pacing of activities suit the aims of the lesson?

3. What observations could be made about the progression/flow from one activity to another?

4. Did the timing/pacing of activities allow for individual differences to be considered?

5. Overall, how was the timing/pacing of the lesson activities?

6. Did the teacher appear flexible in altering the timing/pacing of activities as needs arose?

G. Independent Learning

(What evidence is there that students are learning how to become more independent?)

1. How does the teacher raise awareness and promote learner autonomy in the class?

2. To what extent does the teacher allow students to be in control of their learning in the class?

3. How did the teacher incorporate independent learning into the class/throughout the course?

4. How does the teacher develop learner strategies?

5. How does the teacher incorporate self-evaluation in the class?

6. How does the teacher support students in their independent learning?

7. How does the teacher track individual students’ attempts at independent learning?

8. How do teachers give thought to how their students might incorporate university resources such as the library, online resources, and the English Plaza, in their studies?

H. Other

3. 2.2 Formal Student Evaluations

At the end of each semester all teachers are asked to administer the university-wide formal student evaluations and to write a brief report on the students’ feedback. The results of this survey will form part of a teacher’s formal evaluative record. Further details about the process for administering these evaluations are provided towards the end of each semester to all TIU faculty members.