Education

Concept of Teaching and Professionalism

Teaching is defined by many scholars of education as “the promotion of learning”. The teacher in his work of teaching must provide appropriate conditions for learning. Some others define teaching as helping other people to learn.

Teaching is the art of impacting knowledge. It is knowing what to teach the learners and ways of imparting the knowledge in the most effective way possible. Teaching is also an important art that builds up society by the way it is done, the area in which it is conducted, and its cumulative effect on the life of society.

Teaching is a process of inducing learning, it is guiding someone to behave in a given or certain manner beneficial to himself and society. Teaching is the process by which a teacher guides the learners in the acquisition of knowledge, skills, and attitudes.

It is essentially a system of interactions involving the teacher, the learner, and the learning materials, thus, forming a triangular interaction as shown below:

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Teacher

Learner Material

Here, the teacher can interact with the learner and the materials at the same time while the learner too can interact with both the teacher and the materials. Now let us go on to see what professionalism is.

Professionalism

The word profession has been defined as an occupation that can claim exclusive technical competence and also adheres to ethics of professional conduct.

Elsewhere, a profession is defined as a calling in which one professed to have acquired special knowledge used by either instructing, guiding, or advising others or serving them in some art.

Examples of professionals are Lawyers, Doctors, Engineers, Accountants, Architects, and Quantity Surveyors. These are professions that have quality control measures and compulsory registration of their members.

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Characteristics of a Teaching Profession

Concept of Teaching and Professionalism

A true profession must have the following characteristics:

Knowledge acquired after a period of specialized intellectual study and training essential for the practice of an occupation.
Controlled entry into the occupation.
A code of conduct to guide the behavior of the members of the profession.

A strong professional organization that guides the interest of its members as well as codifies the entire professional framework.
Independence and freedom a practices without any interference.

The watchwords here are knowledge, specialized training, controlling entry, code of conduct, and freedom to practice. Let us now expand on this. A professional must possess the knowledge required to practice his occupation.

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This knowledge must be of a specialized type, which is acquired after a specified period of training.

Furthermore, entry into the profession must be controlled. This is done by specifying the pre-requisite for entry into training, the probable duration of the training, the basic knowledge required for the practice of the occupation, and the minimum qualification for one to be admitted into the occupation.
A profession generally has some ideals.

There is therefore a code of conduct clearly defined for members. Such code of conduct includes standard of practice taken as good by the profession.

These ideals are expected to be strictly abided by the members. This means a professional must not only be professionally competent but must also be of unquestionable character.

The professional is not expected to exploit the ignorance of his clients, (in this case students) but to use his knowledge to benefit them in the practice of his occupation.
On the whole, a profession is a service occupation, where public interest supersedes that of the individual.

We now go on to the other character of a profession. Freedom of practice is one of the basic features of a profession. This is in two parts; first, the freedom of the profession to determine its form of operation and the freedom of the individual professional to take decisions on his clients (students) as he sees fit.

Because of his specialized training for a specified period, well-defined code of conduct, and controlled entry into the profession, the professional is an expert in a particular field of knowledge and so requires absolute freedom to practice his profession.

The professional expects that he be left alone to do his work without undue interference from the layman.

Finally, a profession has a governing body for the advancement of the profession and the monitoring of the interest and professional conduct of its members.

In summary, the operative words in professionalism are knowledge, specialized training, controlled entry, code of conduct, and freedom to practice. Teaching on the other hand is the transmission of knowledge by an expert in education who is known as a teacher.

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