Module 2: Teacher Professionalism

image source: scholar.vt.edu
image source: scholar.vt.edu

I am blessed to be studying teaching at a time when the profession of teaching is receiving much attention for its role in the entire educational system. In my naivete, I also didn’t favor a teaching course in my younger days because of the controversies surrounding the profession. But it is never too late to correct those mistakes as I am doing now.

Autonomy or Subservience? 

Perhaps one of the reasons why teaching used to be relegated to a semi-professional level was how intrinsically teachers followed protocols of authority in schools and the community.  Even the state used educational policies to control the profession, despite it being at the forefront in developing codes of practices and some job standardization. Thus followed their low salary grades and obvious lack of opportunities for growth and career advancement

To a large extent, the professional in a teacher must be given the responsibility to make decisions utilising personal styles and strategies, but always in accordance to the criterion set by the school on evaluating students and the like.  In some organizations, collaborative autonomy works by making the teacher take the lead in such alliances. If the teacher is student-centered and service-oriented, autonomy would serve well to help build a sense of respectability to the profession. (Kennedy, 2007)

Quality and Performance

The awareness to bring serious change to the plight of teaching professionalism came as a result of the need to focus on the quality of learning. The quality of practice, then, is really more than just content, academic proficiency or certain competencies. When all of these elements of quality service bring about high-performing learners, it follows that you have an institution of highly-professional educators.

Commitment and Accountability

In trying to come up with the most important behaviors of a professional teacher, these would be on top of the list, hence we sometimes regard teachers as unsung heroes, always on a self-sacrifice mode. No wonder, some of our best teachers never married or had families; there was too much commitment at work to begin with.

I also agree that teaching must be non-sectarian and apolitical.  It is, however, a basic tenet of being a professional, to live by global core values of respect, equality and integrity – across subjects or courses to be taught.  This is probably as far as I would go in controlling the personal lives of teachers and preserving their right to privacy.

image source: www.globallighting.com
image source: http://www.globallighting.com

On accountability, I still would like to bring home the point that a code of practice must also ensure fairness to the teaching professionals. In our local version, Code of Ethics for Professional Teachers (RA 7836, 1994), teaching is a multi-faceted profession that seeks to make good teachers, bastions of morals and community stalwarts. I feel that our standards do not focus on teaching excellence and how to attain that to bring about quality learning.

If I were to look into a mirror right now and see myself as a teaching professional, I would like to have the following embedded in me, as gleaned from this module:

  • a certification of passing a qualification process and periodic continuing training as regulated and monitored by law
  • competence and skills to effectively transfer the same to students, with best practices in methodology
  • a broadened sense of responsibility, purpose and devotion to the profession

This is why I believe the McKinsey Report (2007) when it said that “the quality of an education system (school), cannot exceed the quality of its teachers.”

image source: tessthing.wordpress.com
image source: tessthing.wordpress.com

Module 1: Perspectives on Teaching

This blog post will entail my reflection upon seeing the results of my Teaching Perspectives Inventory (TPI) test. I decided to take up formal teaching lessons at this point of my life because of my desire to help others with skills, knowledge and understanding of certain fields of endeavor that have been my work’s and life’s experience.

Perspectives

This take on teaching has changed my perspective on the subject. Firstly, because of my lack of professional teaching experience, and secondly, because of a realization that my knowledge on the matter may not be as obsolete as I expected.

tpi1

Coming across the results of my TPI test, there seems to be more that should be asked for from me. Unlike the rest of the group, my grade equivalent in Transmission was lower than the rest. Though mastery of the craft and the content is essential and puts the teacher in a good position with respect to the student, I have to admit that I always find myself better in practice than in theory.

From the point of view of somebody with experience in management and interacting with other individuals as a crucial aspect of my objectives, activities that are sworn into the concept of delegation and empowerment, I now wish to learn more about developing people, to instill in them a mindset for problem solving, and to be inquisitive and independent of the status quo.

However, what I like most about being predominant in the Apprenticeship indicator is my nature of bringing learning conditions as close as possible to reality, which is a skill that I developed from sports-coaching, where the content of my teaching came from my personal experience. For the same reason, I value model mugging, as it does not deviate from actual roles that occur in reality.

Styles

I was pleasantly surprised that even Grasha (1994) wrote about the work of Hersey and Banchard about leadership styles being relevant in a classroom set-up. In the same writing, Hersey and Blanchard spoke about people’s behavior and experiences are factors at utilizing leadership styles.  Again, I will acknowledge the fact that, as a learner in teaching in this day and age, I have much to understand with regard to what styles and methods will suit different groups of learners.

As there must be a blending or migration of styles in different cluster formations as suggested by Grasha (Ibid.), I have observed that methodologies and strategies may also overlap. An example of this are case studies that can end up in position or term papers, integrating styles ranging from facilitator to expert, along the way.

Take-home message

Teaching is both complex art and science. We may look at concepts in formulae and grids but it never fails to bring us back into the reality that society intended for this endeavor to be multi-faceted, affecting behaviors outside the immediate realm of the educator. As such, teaching and its perspectives must also evolve and must continue to bring first blood to anyone who desires to educate.

References

Grasha, A. F. (1994). A Matter of Style: The Teacher as Expert, Formal Authority, Personal Model, Facilitator, and Delegator. College Teaching, vol. 42, no. 4, pp. 142-149. Retrieved from http://jstor.org/stable/27558675

Week 1 (Sept 5 – 11, 2015) – A new ROLE in my life

source: e-Learning forums/ google images
source: e-Learning forums/ google images

I must say I doubted myself a bit the moment I first opened my portal sites on both courses enrolled for the first trimester. Or it could have been a feeling of being overwhelmed or intimidated. Deep inside I conceitedly reasoned out that I have been out of school for more than 30 years hence I would not be as sharp at accepting everything before my eyes for the past 2 days. I realized that one of the reasons why I was having these thoughts was that I was competitive by nature. It was also for this same reason why I got into long-distance running; I wanted so much to test my limits as a human being.Getting into this perspective made me feel better at having, now, to look into my goal to learn as a process that will make me stronger, both physically and mentally.

On the side, I have so much to learn on two major considerations in doing online work.

  • Watch out for Plagiarisms. I have been writing practically my whole life and consider myself so law-abiding when it comes to giving credit to work where it is due. Still, I need to learn and practice citation strategies so it comes to me like the back of  my hand whenever I write about someone else’s original works.
  • APA style of Writing. APA what? I felt so obsolete knowing there is such a standard. I learned about this 1 year ago when I started to blog, and from my daughter in college. I felt that the best way I can be good at APA-standard is to be application-oriented all the time.

Reading through the introductory module has made me reassess my own set of skills and competencies – those that were mentioned as critical to online learning.

Operational – I am in-between worlds of being a digital immigrant and native. Despite my age, I’m fortunate that I have had the good fortune of learning ICT and using it both personally and professionally.

Cognitive – I feel like I am back in Physics class focussing on the how of things.

Collaborative – I’ve spent the last 5 years of my productive life on solo acts, hence I need some mode-adjustment at being a team player too.

Self-directing – This is my main competence to-date. I took the Self-Regulating Questionnaire and results show me to be at the upper limits. Some of the words I use to describe myself : highly-independent, self-starter, time management practitioner. time mngt results

Course-specific – I will probably offset my current skill level in this factor by my sponge-like behavior in learning and applying lessons.

Just reading this introduction has already converted me instantly from an onsite-student to online-learner. My take-away message is that onsite-learning focuses on the individual – his level of proficiency and skills, his life experiences and the whole gamut of emotions and mind-processes – all coming out in reflective manner, instead of just academically. In my mind, this contributes for lifelong or sustained learning, which is a cornerstone of teaching from the heart.