The professional standing of teaching in Europe: regulation or relegation?

Finn, A. (2017) The professional standing of teaching in Europe: regulation or relegation? In: Hudson, B. (ed.) Overcoming Fragmentation in Teacher Education. Cambridge University Press: Cambridge, pp. 153-178. ISBN 9781316640791

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The need for high standards of academic learning and professional education, together with a process for measuring and maintaining standards have been recognised in the development of most modern professions. Yet, in teaching, there remains some debate about what constitutes teacher professionalism and what steps should be taken to develop and safeguard it. In Scotland, which has a fully independent professional regulatory body for teaching, key features of a new professionalism are built around a consensus that teachers must accept responsibility for the development and improvement of their professional skills throughout their careers. There is a need for trust but this must also be balanced with reasonable expectations of accountability. In summary, teachers are supported to keep their skills and knowledge up to date and remain accountable for the quality of their work. This chapter shows that, while the Scottish approach is consistent with current international research, its practice is at variance with that of various other countries. Most notably, it contrasts strongly with emerging trends in neighbouring England, where a policy of increased deregulation and flexibility is leading to significant systemic change in schools. What is the research base for these alternative approaches? What can be learned from them and is there a risk that they might undermine the professional status of teaching? This chapter reviews the background to the concept of professionalism and applies this to teacher professionalism, seeking to define its key components. It considers the perceived status of teaching as a profession, taking account of the views of teachers, researchers and parents; it explores the advantages and risks arising from different approaches to teacher education; and it outlines issues of competence and conduct which a profession should both address and regulate. The chapter also reports on international and European perspectives; and it offers a way forward which the author believes can enhance professionalism and protect high standards in the future.

Item Type:Book Sections
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Finn, Professor Anthony
Authors: Finn, A.
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Education
Publisher:Cambridge University Press
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