Professionalism is the attributes and qualities that are associated with those that are trained and skilled at a professional role. (GOV.UK, n.d.) states a list of 47 recognised professions, including those such as accountant, nurse, teacher or lecturer. While particular roles are deemed to be filled by professionals, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the individuals holding these roles will act with professionalism.
In order to define what a profession is several models have been produced that allow assessment of a role to judge if it is indeed considered a profession.(Millerson, 1964) states in his Model of Professionalism that a profession must include the following:
- A skill based on theoretical knowledge
- Intellectual training and education
- The testing of competence
- Closure of the profession by restrictive organisations
- A code of conduct
- An altruistic service in the affairs of others
When analysing the roles provided by (GOV.UK, n.d.) the majority comply with each of these requirements, although some roles, while normally meeting these requirements, do not necessarily, e.g., director of a limited company.
Another model is Professionalism and Professionality, in which two types of professionality exist, ‘restricted’ which refers to skill developed from introspective experience, perceived in isolation with value placed on autonomy while involvement in non-immediate professional activities, reading of professional literature and involvement in professional development is limited. This is in stark contrast with ‘extended’ professionality which refers to skills derived from mediation between experience and theory, with actions compared with those of colleagues in relation to policies and goals. There is a high involvement in non-immediate professional activities with considerable involvement in professional development and regular reading of professional literature. (Hoyle, 1975, p. 315) states that these extended professionality’s are “strategies and rhetorics employed by members of an occupation in seeking to improve status, salary and conditions”.
When working as a teacher or lecturer you must normally act as a dual professional, as you must be professional while teaching but must also be professional within the field that you teach. “The best vocational teaching and learning is a sophisticated process; it demands ‘dual professionals’ – teachers and trainers with occupational expertise and experience, who can combine this with excellent teaching and learning practice.” (Commission on Adult Vocational Teaching and Learning, 2013, p. 8) Teaching establishments have always “recruited people with experience in industry/occupations relevant to the courses being delivered. These practitioners may bring new knowledge and understanding to the teaching team” (Education & Training Foundation, 2018) but unless they are effective teachers, they may not be able to effectively pass this knowledge to students, meaning they are not functioning as a dual professional.
The Department for Education defines the Teachers’ Standards, “the standards define the minimum level of practice expected of trainees and teachers from the point of being awarded qualified teacher status (QTS).” (Department for Education, 2013) The “QTS is required in England to teach in a state school that is under local authority control and in special schools.” (Tes Institute Team, 2016) “You can become a further education (FE) teacher without a teaching qualification” (AGCAS, 2017), the required qualifications are related to the specific area that is being taught; normally at least one level higher than what is being taught. Although it is not a requirement it is normal that new lecturers are expected to study for the relevant teaching qualification, in this case the Level 5 Diploma in Education and Training which is recognised as the full teaching qualification for further education. “In 2013, the Government lifted the requirement for newly-appointed teachers to have undergone formal teacher training before working in FE.” (Pynn, 2017) “The teaching profession suffers from a vicious circle of low status, lack of competitive resources, inability to control their own selection, training and qualification, divided and consequently ineffective organisation and a degree of state interference and control suffered by almost no other profession all leading to low bargaining power, low remuneration and low status.” (Perkin, 1985, p. 8)
The Education and Training Foundation is a professional body that provides professional standards for the sector. It was established in October 2013, replacing the Institute for Learning (IfL) that ceased operating a year later on 31 October 2014. The professional standards define common expectations that should be met by teachers within FE. These standards include:
- teachers and trainers are reflective and enquiring practitioners who think critically about their own educational assumptions, values and practices
- they draw on relevant research as part of evidence-based practice
- they act with honesty and integrity to maintain high standards of ethics and professional behaviour in support of learners and their expectations.
- teachers and trainers are subject and/or vocational specialists as well as experts in teaching and learning
- they are committed to maintaining and developing their expertise in both aspects of their role to ensure the best outcomes for their learners
Education and Skills Funding Agency. (2019, February 13). 16 to 19 funding: maths and English condition of funding. Retrieved from GOV.UK: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/16-to-19-funding-maths-and-english-condition-of-funding
AGCAS. (2017, December). Further education teacher. Retrieved from Graduate Prospects: https://www.prospects.ac.uk/job-profiles/further-education-teacher
Commission on Adult Vocational Teaching and Learning. (2013). It’s about work… Excellent adult vocational teaching and learning. Coventry: Learning and Skills Improvement Service (LSIS).
Department for Education. (2013). Teachers’ Standards. London: Department for Education.
Education & Training Foundation. (2018). THE DUAL PROFESSIONAL TOOLKIT. London: ETFOUNDATION.
ETF. (2018, June 20). Professional Standards for FE Teachers. Retrieved from Education & Training Foundation: https://www.et-foundation.co.uk/supporting/support-practitioners/professional-standards/
GOV.UK. (n.d.). Accepted occupations for countersignatories. Retrieved from GOV.UK: https://www.gov.uk/countersigning-passport-applications/accepted-occupations-for-countersignatories
Hoyle, E. (1975). Professionality, professionalism and control in teaching. London: Ward Lock Educational in association with Open University Press.
Millerson, G. (1964). The Qualifying Associations . London: Routledge & Kegan Paul.
Perkin, H. (1985). The Teaching Profession and the Game of Life. . London: University of London, Institute of Education.
PHP-FIG. (2019). PSR-2: Coding Style Guide. Retrieved from PHP-FIG: https://www.php-fig.org/psr/psr-2/
Pynn, K. (2017, Aug 22). Teacher Training on the Job: Working as an Unqualified Teacher in FE. Retrieved from College Jobs: https://college.jobs.ac.uk/article/teacher-training-on-the-job-working-as-an-unqualified-teacher-in-fe/
Tes Institute Team. (2016, Novemeber 29). QTS, PGCE or EYTS: which teaching qualification is right for me? Retrieved from TES: https://www.tes.com/institute/blog/qts-pgce-or-eyts-which-teaching-qualification-right-me