What implications does this problem raise for the concept of ‘professionalism’ in relation to teachers in this situation? For example, how does this situation fit within Whitty’s typology of professionalisms? His is a somewhat positivist model, in that there is a strong sense that the dominant concept of professionalism is evolving over time and gradually getting ‘better’. He prefers ‘collaborative’ to ‘traditional’ professionalism, though he is rather vague about what would mean in practice:
The problem here (and there may well be other examples) lies in the perceived need for an officially defined curriculum in each publicly-funded course; this is exacerbated by the complete institutional separation and division of labour between teachers and those bodies now responsible for ‘defining’ the curriculum, in this case QCA and the ‘industry body’, ie ITEC. In my discussion of teaching as craft, I suggest that this separation itself is a source of difficulties and problems: craft practice should be separated as little as possible from teaching, expert craft practitioners attain this status to some extent because they are teachers – teaching is part of their craft practice. The alternative leads, in capitalist society, to mass production, which may be appropriate for many basic and useful items in our lives, but is surely not an appropriate mode for education. We do not want the products of education, that is, learners, to turn out identical in every way! Dickens made this point 150 years ago, interestingly enough about teachers ‘lately turned at the same time, in the same factory, on the same principles, like so many pianoforte legs’ (Dickens 1854, in Hard Times).
- Beck U (1992): The Risk Society. London: Sage
- Derrick J (2011): Teaching as craft? Adults Learning 22 (9), May 2011
- ITEC (2010): Level 3 Unit 826 - Apply Stone Therapy Massage Syllabus, Taught Content 1.14.1, p3, accessed 21-08-11 at http://www.itecworld.co.uk/Syllabus/Unit%20Documents/Unit%20826%20Apply%20Stone%20Therapy%20Massage%20-%20Syllabus.pdf
- Whitty G (2008): Changing modes of teacher professionalism: traditional, managerial, collaborative and democratic, in Exploring Professionalism, ed Cunningham B. London: Institute of Education