Defining "Teacher Professionalism" from different perspectives

Demirkasimoglu N.

1st World Conference on Learning, Teaching and Administration (WCLTA), Cairo, Egypt, 29 - 31 October 2010, vol.9 identifier identifier


The purpose of this paper is to discuss how teacher professionalism is defined in scholarly debates in recent times. Within this purpose the definitions of professionalism, criteria of professionalism, the characteristics of a professional teacher and the status of teacher professionalism will be discussed from different perspectives. In historical context, the issue that whether teaching is a professional status or not has been controversial. According to some authors (e. g. Leiter, 1978; Samuels, 1970), teaching is a semi-professional job because they are directed to perform certain standards by their superiors. As a result of this, teachers' individual autonomy and decision making powers are limited. Some authors (e. g. Stevenson, Carter ve Passy, 2007; Ozga, 1981) believe that it is more useful to approach professionalism as an ideological construct that is used for occupational control on teachers. Another approach (e. g. Phelps, 2006) reflects a positive attitude towards teacher professionalism and identifies the term as the best and highest standards for teachers. This paper will offer an operational definition of teacher professionalism and an integrative approach about multiple interpratations of teacher professionalism in sociological, political and educational context. In the light of multiple approaches, it will be concluded that teacher professionalism means meeting certain standards in education and it is related to proficiency. (C) 2010 Published by Elsevier Ltd.