In the spirit of blended cooperation and learning, this online module of the BHT Symposium 2023 finds me at the Polytechnic University of Guarda, Portugal. Mindful of our shared purpose, this portfolio workshop aims to involve us all in pertinent questions related to using portfolios as authentic assessment in the classroom. Acknowledging a history of hesitancy to accept portfolio assessment, we will examine some effective strategies to find broader support with your administration, fellow teachers, and your own students. Then, given our collective ambitions to develop critical thinking, we will attempt to find synergies with creativity and the relevance of incorporating creative thinking. This query will involve considerations on resilience and an error culture, learning environments (or search spaces) and the (dis)advantages of going digital, and the power inherent in purposeful choice. While the focus of this research has been on higher education students, the aspects to be discussed can be considered for younger students as well. Diversity in the portfolio cases with students from tourism and hospitality and education to health, technology, and management should make the workshop equally useful to teachers of English for specific purposes. Support for portfolios as future-oriented and learner-centered assessment will be found in a number of Erasmus+ projects ranging from topics of intercultural communicative competence, coaching, and collaborative autonomy to design thinking, creative thinking, and team work.


Bio: María del Carmen Arau Ribeiro
Prof. Doutora María del Carmen ARAU RIBEIRO teaches English language and cultures, M.A. teacher training, and ESP at the Polytechnic Institute of Guarda (IPG), Portugal, and President of the Association of Language Centers in Portuguese HE (, 2009-present). Her areas of interest are language learning and teaching practice, collaborative autonomy, CLILing, language policy, interculturality, systems and design thinking, interdisciplinarity, and metacognition. European Language Council member (2018-present), expert HE consultant for the DAAD, Germany (2015-2018), and former coordinator of CercleS Focus Groups in CLIL and in Events Management. Erasmus+ projects: external review team for PETALL – Pan-European Task-based Activities for Language Learning (2013-2015, awarded Best 2016 HE Project, the contribution to ICC-age /presentation/about-the-project, and the Portuguese IPG-based partnership in DT.Uni – Design Thinking Approach for an Interdisciplinary University (2017-2020,, and quality assurance for CORALL