Professional Issues

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DIK7230 Assignment Two – A. Shuttleworth

Professional Issues Assignment.

Introduction

In this assignment, I will review the debate on professionalism. Looking at the teacher as a professional and discussing their professionalism. I will highlight the differences and the similarities between professionalism in education and several other professional vocations. I will discuss the shifting views of professional status of both mainstream teachers and FE teachers, and developments and where I see the FE sector heading. I will go on to review conceptions of reflective practice in the context of professionalism, focussing on several models of reflection. I will review my own values and continuing development needs in both the curriculum and professionalism, explaining what is important to me in my work and how I see myself developing within the profession.

The debate on Professionalism

The debate on professionalism is, as I found in my reading and discussion in the classroom, a complex one. There are many of the differing ideas about what professionalism is and who the professionals are. During a class discussion, we were asked to discuss who in society professionals were. Doctors, social workers, the clergy and lawyers seemed to be obvious, because they need to have a higher level of education and qualifications, dictated by their individual governing bodies, in order to fulfil their obligations. Professionals also work to ethical codes and a personal will to do their best for their clients, weather they be patients, someone in need of legal representation or a school pupil, a sense of altruism. At the core of their ethics and altruism is the need for professionals to reflect and to act on those reflections, I will discuss reflection in detail later in this assignment. As stated by Humphreys and Hyland:

‘Standard analyses of the notion of professionalism in public service occupations such as teaching, nursing and social work all stressed the central importance of specialist knowledge and expertise, ethical codes and procedures concerned with training, induction and continuing professional development Humphreys and Hyland (2002, p. 6 citing Flexner, 1915; Larson,1977; Langford, 1978; Eraut, 1994)’.

In this statement, they have placed teachers at the forefront of the professionalism, emphasising the common traits and qualities, and similarities that are displayed by public service professionals across the spectrum. However, they go on to point out that teachers have, over recent years, come under more centralised control from the government through the introduction of the National Curriculum, SATs and Ofsted inspections (Humphreys and Hyland 2002). They emphasise their point in this strongly worded sentence, which I think is at the hub of the professionalism debate ‘In addition to the systematic deskilling of teaching through instrumentalist outcome-based strategies there has been a widespread erosion of professional autonomy (Humphreys and Hyland 2002, p. 6)’. The difference between the teaching profession and other professional bodies, such as the medical or legal professions, is that the teaching profession is under direct government control through the DCFS and its policies, legislation, league tables, GCSE results, target driven awards and penalties.

In the Position statement ‘New Professionalism’ by the Association of Teachers and Lecturers, (ATL 2005,p.1), it is pointed out that there is a misuse, by observers of the teaching profession, of the term ‘crisis’ in the context of ‘teacher shortages or the retirement bulge.’ Nevertheless, go on to state:

‘However, ATL considers the term to be appropriate for the results of the attack on professionalism in the recent past. Professionals use their skills and knowledge to exercise judgement in dealing with their clients, but important judgements about curriculum, assessment and pedagogy have been removed from teachers’. (ATL,...
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