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professional aspects of teaching

By mariztot Feb 27, 2014 1409 Words
What are the professional aspects of teaching?

Lee S. Shulman from

1. What are three things that all professions must teach? Give some examples in Medicine and Law. Three things that teaching of all profession should meet are understanding, action, and character. In a medical situation, a doctor should have enough knowledge to diagnose patients. But s/he also needs practical experience to decide what kind of action to take to cure their symptoms. Also, to be a professional doctor, a certain level of morality and commitment is required. In a legal situation, a judge should be equipped with sufficient understanding of law. And s/he should know when, to whom, how to apply the law to cases by learning from practices. Last, they should realize why they practice laws - that is, the sense of responsibility for the justice and society. Both of two professions deal with human beings. It is extraordinarily complex and endlessly fascinating to take care of human’s physical and behavioral problems. In my opinion, teaching is a profession because we teachers also take care of human’s mental and behavioral developments.

2. Explain one of the following and give some good examples to describe them, a) pedagogy of uncertainty, b) pedagogy of engagement, and c) Pedagogy of formation.

a) Pedagogy of Uncertainty: This pedagogy is closely related with one of core elements of profession education, the ability of professionals to take an appropriate action based on the information from current situation. In our teaching practice, we have a set of learning objects, explicit curriculum and sometimes teacher’s guide. However, no matter how meticulously we are prepared with those things, the practice is a kind of improvisation because we don’t speak to the wall or a video camera. The responses of students lead our dialogues to somewhere we didn’t expect before. Long experience with teaching students gives us the ability to manage this situation. However, teacher education should promote this kind of competence. From the students’ perspective, uncertainty makes them tense and prepared for the class. They don’t know when the teacher asks them to respond or perform. I think this contingency makes my career more fascinating. Even though I have 15 year classroom teaching experience, every class is a new one to me, which makes me thrilled everyday.

b) Pedagogy of Engagement: This is pedagogy of visibility and accountability. In a professional education, everybody knows what they’re supposed to do and is ready. Everybody is a member of learning team with a role and responsibilities, and could be expected to ask or answer a question, or perform an action, at any moment. It also means we’d better be paying attention closely to what our colleagues are saying. I think this webCT discussion group makes use of the pedagogy of engagement. Throughout our program, our classes have been a form of seminar which is supposed to be based on our participation. However, this class seems to be more focused on the individual participation with respect to the preparedness and the involvement in discussion on and off line.

c) Pedagogy of Formation
Having a profession means having a responsibility for the people and the society. However, this sense of responsibility not only means that a professional don’t fail to perform a proper action, but also means that s/he carry out the action to fulfill moral imperatives. To be a teacher, the first requirement should be love of students. If teachers don’t like to be with young children or adolescent, how can they enjoy teaching or teach with enthusiasm? Moreover, since we deal with young human beings who have vulnerable emotions, we are more likely to hurt them without appropriate habits of the heart. Therefore, teacher education should place the emphasis on the interpersonal, the moral and the ethical aspects of teaching practice because of its marriage of reason, interdependence and emotion.

3. What is Pedagogical Content Knowledge? Try to think of some examples in science and write them here. To teach for understanding, having accurate subject matter knowledge is not sufficient (Perkins, 1993). It is pedagogical content knowledge that is required for teachers to have because it is derived from content knowledge that is specifically employed to facilitate learning. It is the knowledge that teachers have about how to make particular subject matter comprehensible to particular students. It is also the knowledge of the concepts that students find most difficult, as well as ways to support their understanding of those concepts. Finally, it includes ways to assess student knowledge (NRC, 2005). In science education the role of which is to help students develop scientific conception, teachers’ knowledge, regarding a specific subject or unit, about what are predominant prior knowledge and misconceptions, how they can be challenged, what typical responses to the challenge, and how to evaluate their conceptual development, consists of pedagogical content knowledge.

4. What can Teaching learn from the different professions Shulman mentions? How is teaching different as a profession from Law, and Medicine, how is it like them?

Is the job of teaching an occupation or a profession? We teachers insist that it is a profession because of the pedagogical content knowledge. However, in order to be admitted as a profession by general people, teacher education should be improved. Such professions as law and medicine have developed their own pedagogies and accumulated abundant knowledge from case studies. Shulman suggests and conducts a project in which exemplary skilled teachers’ practices are collected into an archive from which novice teachers can learn how to practice in a classroom setting. According to him, the profession of teaching is different from other professions because we don’t have generic signature pedagogies. Specifically, teacher education is lack of practice before a student teacher becomes a classroom teacher. It is totally up to a novice teacher to develop pedagogical content knowledge and ability to handle students’ emotion from his/her own experience. I think this is why many of novice teacher leave school earlier in their career. What teaching is like other professions is the fact that the longer we teach the more we build our expertise, but we also need to keep committing ourselves to professional development. Our objects of performance are human beings that are very complex in their nature. Law and medicine target a certain aspect of human nature as well. However, teaching students takes long time and consider many aspects of human nature to achieve our goal of practice. It is not explicit and visible whether we reach the goals or not, but we should make a continuous effort in our practices.

Teachers need to be committed to enhancing the effectiveness of the teaching and learning by becoming scholarly teachers. We need to be knowledgeable in pedagogy and reflective about our teaching practices in order to develop pedagogical content knowledge.

Advancement of Teaching can be achieved by developing expertise of teachers.

Action research is a systematic reflection and investigation of our classrooms to design, implement, and assess instructional innovation that has a high probability of enhancing education. It is a bridge between the acts of teaching and research, with explicit focus on enhancing student learning. It is asking questions about what works, what doesn’t, and why and then transforming these activities into a discipline.

Conducting educational research by teachers or faculties is the best way to actively learn about "The Scholarship of Teaching and Learning." "Viewing teaching as scholarly work is essential. Teachers so often have to carry out their work in isolation from their colleagues. The result is that those who engage in innovative acts of teaching do not have many opportunities to build upon the work of others..... we seek to render teaching public, subject to critical evaluation, and usable by others in the field."

Projects that strengthen excellence in instruction by way of teacher-to-teacher mentoring and evaluation. Proposals that involve one or more of the college Teaching Academies are especially encouraged. Projects that improve existing courses. Viable improvements include the incorporation of innovative educational technologies, or the development of community-engagement opportunities. Development of new courses and pilot classes that are intended to become part of the core curriculum of a department or program. Instructional research that examines the effectiveness of some aspect of instructional practice or that develops methods to measure instructional effectiveness. One form of instructional research is known as the scholarship of teaching and learning, or SoTL.  

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