Critically evaluate the concepts of professionalism and accountability in lls and process of evaluation, quality assurance and quality improvement. Provide clear definitions of these key issues and how they affect the teacher.
Comment on different documents on professionalism and what they have to offer. Identify and comment on key issues of professionalism conduct and accountability in the life long sector.
Professional identity, according to Bucher and Sterling, (1977), is defined by ones skills and knowledge and also the work one is involved with. Professionalism has been a term rarely associated with those within the FE sector due to the wide range of entrants, which includes the differing backgrounds in industry along with the varied level of teaching qualifications held by employees. Macdonald, (1995) argues that this diversity in FE is believed to have created a weak professional boundary, in sociological terms and therefore making it difficult to accredit a professional code of practice. Definitions of professionalism tend to emphasise key words, such as professional knowledge, autonomy and responsibility. Furlong et al (2000) believe that a professional would need to be autonomous to make own decisions and judgements, but that such decisions are made responsibly.
Robson, (2007) argued that to be a professional then you must be guided by some form of professional code of conduct that contain specific standards and values that make members accountable for their behaviour. Therefore one must be responsible for their actions both in the context of their profession and also within ones dealings outside. This is especially of importance when one is working with education and decisions regarding students trust and confidentiality. Furlong et al, (2000) maintains that students should be at the heart of decisions made and that a high level of trust is of paramount importance in maintaining professional standards.
Teachers in FE come into the sector with knowledge from industry, but do not always have the expertise to teach it to others. The problem with this can be that those who have come with specialist knowledge may not fully engage with the teaching side of it, wrongly believing that knowledge alone is enough to get them ahead in the FE sector.(Tipton, 1973) Experts in certain subject fields are not always the best teachers and according to Robson, (2006) they can also be the ones who are most reluctant to take part in further teacher training. Yet training as a teacher is essential in attaining professional teaching status and in developing what is known as dual professionalism, meaning that you are up to date in teaching and subject knowledge.
The sector, however is changing and Teachers in the post compulsory sector now have to undertake teacher training and be awarded QTLS status, and thus attain a professional role in FE. This was brought in from September 2007 and was welcomed by the IFL in its attempt to reinforce a professional identity to teachers in this sector.
As noted earlier, one aspect of being a professional is being accountable for your actions and also being open to scrutiny from other professionals. The IFL have their own code of professional practice, which includes Reasonable care and responsibility to the institute’s condition of membership. They also have a very detailed system of dealing with complaints about professionals who are out of accordance with the code, emphasising the other important aspect of being a professional, which is being able to suspend or remove you from the professional body. Johnson (1972) believed that professional bodies can carry with them negative connotations, such as being out to protect themselves and their interests, the IFL suggests otherwise, instead protecting the sector in which they operate.
The IFL have brought in the new LLUK standards that teachers need to attain to be given the QTLS. These replace...