Professionalism Among Teachers

science-teacher-in-class-getty_573x300The complexities involving the teaching profession and the importance of the role of teachers in the holistic development of learners require strict adherence to the tenets of professionalism. There are expectations that teachers need to meet and there are qualities that they are expected to possess.

All the qualities teachers ought to have and what are expected of them can be summed up in one concept – “teacher professionalism.”

“Teacher professionalism” is an idea  that can be defined differently based on multiple perspectives and its merits scrutinized according to various arguments. It is considered a broad concept consisting of several dimensions.  However, for delimitation purposes, the discussion on the subject in this article is anchored only on the definitions of the term “professionalism” given in the next two (2) paragraphs.

Evans pointed out that “professionalism means different things to different people.”1 The Oxford dictionary simply defines the term as “the competence or skills expected of a professional.”It is the level of excellence or competence that professionals should manifest in their chosen fields of specialization.

Tichenorexplains that professionalism  are the expected  behaviors of individuals  in a specific occupation.  Professionals need to conduct themselves in accordance to set standards.

Boyt, Lusch and Naylor4 combined  the said views about professionalism when they describe it as a multi-dimensional structure consisting of one’s attitudes  and behaviors towards  his/her job and the achievement of high level of standards. Similarly, Hargreavesdefines professionalism as the conduct, demeanor and standards which guide the work of professionals.

The terms associated to professionalism as seen from the definitions and explanations given are as follows: competence, skills, behaviors, conduct, demeanor and standards. Competence and skills are synonymous and so are behaviors, conduct and demeanor. Standards refer to the quality or accepted norms for competence and behaviors.

Skills are not the only components that make up teacher’s competence. Knowledge is, of course, an integral part of it.

Skills and knowledge are very broad attributions to teacher’s competence however. What specifically are the skills and knowledge that would make a teacher competent?

As Baggini puts it, “To be a professional or a professor  was to profess in some skill or field of knowledge.” It’s a given that teachers should have knowledge of the subject matter or expertise in a particular skill. Teachers are expected to know not a little but much about what they are teaching.

What adds challenge to being a teacher  is the ability to dig (whenever applicable) into the scientific, philosophical, legal, sociological and psychological foundations of what is being taught. It is important that teachers are able to relate whatever they are discussing to other  fields. Such an ability would enable teachers to enrich the discussion.

But teaching and learning are complex processes that involve a lot more… not just knowing what to teach and being able to connect a topic to other disciplines. What would make teachers truly competent are the corresponding skills that enable them to effectively teach what they know and make the students learn. Such skills are acquired through training in pedagogy.

Pedagogy is commonly defined as “the art, science, or profession of teaching.” Pedagogy informs teaching strategies, teacher actions, and teacher judgments and decisions by taking into consideration theories of learning, understandings of students and their needs, and the backgrounds and interests of individual students.7

Pedagogy, in a nutshell, tells how best to teach and how best the students learn.

Knowledge and expertise in a field would not make one a teacher. Pedagogical skills are needed. Competent teachers SHOULD know, not just the subject matter, but how to  set learning objectives, motivate students, design learning activities, facilitate learning, construct assessment, and assess learning.

In addition, another skill through which competence of 21st century teachers is gauged, is how extensive and effective do they apply technology (computer) to teaching and learning.

Aside from competence, the other dimension of teacher’s professionalism this article is exploring is behavior.

Teachers are aware that they should behave in accordance to the ethical standards set for the teaching profession. They are expected to speak, act and dress accordingly. Barberpointed this out when he identifies as one of the main characteristics of professional behavior  a “high degree of self-control of behavior through codes of ethics.”

But the behavior dimension of professionalism among teachers goes beyond proper manner and decorum.

Another characteristic of professional behavior identified by Barber is “orientation primarily to community interest rather than to  individual self-interest.” It is no secret that teachers sacrifice a lot to help their students. Teachers work long hours and the practice a lot of patience. As Orlin puts it, “ I see it (teaching) as an act of self-sacrifice, as a hard path undertaken for the greater good.”9

Teachers also know that they need to keep learning. They need to have a continuing professional development plan for them to be better-equipped in dealing with the challenges of the profession. They need to keep abreast with the current trends and innovations in the field of education.

There are also general teaching behaviors which, according to a study, are the most important for effective teaching (as perceived by students). Hativa identified five (5) of them, namely, making the lessons clearorganizedengaging/interestingmaintaining interactions, and rapport with students.10

Two (2) of the said general teaching behaviors (making the lessons clear and organized) are related to the first dimension of teacher professionalism (competence and skills). The rest are more indicative of the second dimension (behavior).

Teacher professionalism strongly implies the demands and complexities of teaching making it harder to understand why the profession doesn’t get due recognition.

References:   

  1. Evans, Linda (2008) Professionalism, professionality and the development of education professionals. British Journal of Educational Studies, 56 (1). pp. 20-38.
  1. Definition of “professionalism” – Oxford English Dictionary
  1. Tichenor, M. S., Tichenor, J. M. (2005). Understanding teachers’ perspectives on professionalism. ERIC.
  1. Boyt, T., Lusch, R. F. ve Naylor, G. (2001). The role of professionalism in determining job satisfaction in professional services: a study of marketing researchers, Journal of Service Research, 3(4), 321-330
  1. Hargreaves, A. (2000). Four ages of professionalism and professional learning. Teachers and Teaching: History and Practice, 6 (2),151-182. 
  1. Baggini, J. (2005). What professionalism means for teachers today? Education Review, 18 (2), 5-11.
  1. Shulman, Lee (1987). “Knowledge and Teaching: Foundations of the New Reform”(PDF). Harvard Educational Review. 15(2): 4–14. Retrieved 12 June 2017.
  1. Barber, B. (1965). Some Problems in the Sociology of the Professions. In K. S. Lynn (Edt.), The Professions in America (pp. 669-688). Boston: Houghton Mifflin.
  1. Orlin, Ben “Teaching As Self Sacrifice.” Match With Bad Drawing. WordPress, March 10, 2014. Web. 19 July, 2017.
  1. Hativa, N. (2014). A pratical approach to designing, operating, and reporting, 2nd, Tel Aviv: Oron Publications.

Source: Professionalism Among Teachers

Tunay Na Kaibigan

kaibigan

Simple ang tanong. Kaylan masasabi na ang taong tinatawag kang kapatid, kapuso, kapamilya o kabarkada ay tunay mo ngang kaibigan at hindi nagpapanggap lamang? Nakakatiyak ka ba na ang fren o BFF mo, na minsan ay tinatawag mong sister o brother, kahit hindi kayo magkadugo, ay tunay mong kasangga at pinagmamalasakitan ka?

Tunay ngang napakasarap na magkaroon ng kaibigan. Iyong taong kasama mong tumatawa kapag ikaw ay masaya at kasama mong nagdiriwang kapag ika’y nagtatagumpay. Subalit hindi sa lahat ng pagkakataon ay masaya ka, nakakamit mo ang iyong mga pangarap, at ang takbo ng buhay mo ay sumasangayon sa iyong kagustuhan. May mga panahong igugupo ka ng kalungkutan at kabiguan. Ito ang pagkakataong kaylangan mo ng balikat na iiyakan…ng taong kadamay.

Ang kaibigan bang kasama mo kapag masaya ka at masagana ay nandoon rin kapag gumagapang ka sa balag ng pighati at kabiguan? Kung siya ay nandoon kasama mong sumasagwan habang ang bangka mo ay tumatawid sa lawa ng kalungkutan at paghihirap ay mapalad ka sa dahilang meron kang tunay na kaibigan.

Hindi kasi lahat ng taong akala mo ay kaibigan ay tunay na nagmamalasakit sa iyo at handa kang damayan sa abot ng kanilang makakaya. May mga tao na gusto ka lamang kasama sa lakaran, inuman, kainan o kantahan. Wika nga sa English, “friends in good times,” lalo na nga kung ikaw ang taya.

May mga tao kasing ang pananaw sa pakikipagkaibigan ay nakabase sa tanong na ,“Ano ba ang pakinabang ko sa iyo?” Kung merong mapapala mula sa iyo ay babarkadahin ka upang sa panahon na may kaylangan sila ay tatawagin o pupuntahan ka.

May ganyan bang tao na kaybigan ang tawag sa iyo? Mag-ingat ka dahil siya ay “user.” Maaala-ala ka lang ng ganyang uri ng kaibigan sa pagkakataon na may hihingin siyang pabor o kaya nalulungkot siya kaya kaylangan ng kausap. Kabilang ka sa listahan ng mga tinatawag niyang kaibigan dahil may mapapala sa iyo. Paminsan-minsan na may gagawin siyang pabor para sa iyo para hindi siya halatain. Pero kung lilimiin mo nang mas malalim ay makikita mo na hindi “symbiotic” ang uri ng relationship ninyo. Makikita mong para siyang “parasite” na gusto laging kumabig. Hindi ka naman tanga para hindi mo mapansin na ang taong iyan ay  “selfish” at puno ng “selfish intentions.”

Hindi sa naghihintay ka ng kapalit sa mga bagay na ginagawa mo sa iyong kaibigan. Hindi rin materyal na bagay ang pinaguusapan dito. Ang pagtulong natin sa mga kaybigan sa ano mang paraan ay pagpapakita natin ng kagandahang loob. At lahat ng tao, ano man ang estado sa buhay, may pinagaralan man o wala, mahirap man o mayaman, ay alam na dapat sinusuklian ang kagandahang loob kahit sa pinakasimpleng paraan. Subalit kung ang taong tinatawag kang kaibigan ay hindi alam iyan dapat eh magisip-isip ka.

Hindi lamang mga kaibigang may “selfish intentions” ang pag-iingatan mo. Baka rin may mga taong hitik “with bad intentions” na ang tawag din sa iyo ay kaibigan. Sila ang mga taong kapag nakatalikod ka lahat ng baho mo ay isinisiwalat sa iba. Kaya’t kilatisin mo ng mabuti kung ang pinagsasabihan mo ng iyong mga problema at mga hinaing sa buhay ay mapagkakatiwalaan o hindi.

Mahirap magkaroon ng kaibigang makati ang dila na ang kaligayahan ay siraan ang mga tinatawag niyang kaibigan sa iba niyang mga kakilala. Kaya’t mag-ingat ka. Hindi nangangahulugan na kapag ang kaibigan mo may pinag-aralan na siya ay matinong tao. Hindi ibig sabihin na kung ang tumatawag sa iyo ng kaibigan ay pala-simba, nagnonobena at nagrorasaryo na siya ay isang santo o santa.  Ang siste nga ay kung habang nasa simbahan mismo kayo ay kung ano-ano ang kanyang pinupuna at sinasabi sa mga taong hindi naman ninyo kakilala eh magisip-isip ka na.

Ano pa ba ang ibang uri ng kaibigan na hangga’t maaari ay iwasan?

May mga kaibigan ka ba na sa tuwing kausap mo ay puro tsismis at kasiraan ng ibang tao ang laging bukang-bibig? Tandaan mo ito… kapag wala ka at kausap niya ay ibang tao, isa ka sa mga pinaguusapan nila. Pinagpipyestahan nila ang mga problema at sikreto mo. Tiyak iyan.

May kabarkada ka ba na kapag kausap mo ay puro pamimintas at paghuhusga ang ginagawa sa iyo? Iwasan mo siya. Okay lang na sabihan ka sa mga maling ginagawa mo pero alam mo kung ano ang pagkakaiba ng pagpapayo upang itama mo ang isang pagkakamali  at pagsasabi ng pagkakamali mo para pintasan at husgahan ka.

At kung may kaibigan ka na minemenos ka’t minamaliit, aba, ora mismo, lumayo ka. Ang tunay na kaybigan ay dapat pinapalakas ang ating loob at naniniwala na may kakayanan tayo. Gusto nilang tayo ay magtagumpay at makamit natin ang ating mga pangarap sa buhay.

Meron kasing mga grupo ng magkakaibigan na kapag sama-sama sila ay kaylangang merong isa sa kanila na pagtsismisan, merong hahamak-hamakin at merong pagtatawanan. H’wag kang pumayag na ikaw iyon.  Umiwas ka sa ganyang uri ng grupo. Mero’t merong kang mahahanap na mga barkada na may paggalang at tunay na pagmamalasakit sa bawat isa.

Hindi tayo perpekto. Walang taong perpekto. Kaya’t kaylangan natin, bukod sa pamilya,  ng mga kaibigan na tutulong upang maiangat natin ang ating mga sarili. Iyon bang susuporta sa pakikipagtunggali natin sa mga hamon ng buhay. Hindi iyong lalo pang magpapabigat sa ating mga dalahin. Kaylangan natin ng mga kaibigang bukal sa loob ang pagtulong at hindi pansariling interes lang ang iniisip… kaybigan marunong magbalik ng kagandahang loob, sa ano mang paraan, hindi mo man ito hinihingi.

Kaylangang natin ng mga kaibigan na nakatampuhan mo man, may nasabi man kayong hindi maganda sa isa’t-isa, sa paglipas ng panahon, kapag muli kayong nagkita, nagkapaliwanagan ay muli ninyong yayakapin ang isa’t-isa. Ganyan ang tunay na kaybigan. Minsan nga, matindi man ang tampuhan ninyo, kapag nagkita kayong muli at nagyakapan ay ni hindi na kaylangan ng paliwanagan.

Isa pang palatandaan ng tunay na pagkakaibigan ay ang pagiging bukal sa puso ng pagtulong sa bawat isa. Hindi na kaylangang hingin…hindi na kaylangang sabihin. Ano mang bagay na makakatulong ay kusang loob na ibinibigay o ginagawa natin para sa ating mga kaybigan.

Ang tunay na kaibigan ay iyong naaalala ka kahit walang kaylangan…iyong tipong bigla kang yayayaing mag-kape dahil nami-miss ka.

Huling tanong, “Anong uri ka ng kaibigan, tunay o nagpapanggap?”

 

Reconfiguring Mythology

(I wrote this essay a few years ago after watching the first ‘Avengers’ movie and before the showing of “Prometheus.” Screenwriters and movie producers have mined the pages of Mythology and Legend for their movie projects. Both Marvel and DC (and their partners) keep coming out with movies where their resident superheroes either make friends or clash with mythological and legendary characters and creatures. Watch “Wonder Woman” and you’ll see how elements of “Greek Mythology” were fused into the movie. Go watch the latest “Transformers” movie next and find out whether Merlin, King Arthur and the knights of the round table sided with the Autobots or with the Decepticons.)

Recent movies I watched (“Clash of the Titans”, “Thor” and the “Avengers”) have brought me endless amazement.  Amazed because my favorite characters in classic literature come alive in fresh story lines stuffed with visual and sound effects  that are breathtakingly outstanding and astounding.

But more than the amazement, the said movies  also inspired  me to revisit the subject in Literature that I have always considered most interesting – Mythology.

Of course we know that the Titans are entities from Greek Mythology. Seemingly, movie producers are casting their lots on the Titans nowadays. “Prometheus” (which is the title of the movie that soon I will be watching) himself is another Titan.  What remains to be seen is whether or not in the movie Prometheus plays out his role of stealing the heavenly fire for the benefit of humanity.

Conversely, Thor and Loki, who appeared in both “Thor” and “The Avengers” are both characters in Norse Mythology.

Generally,  script writers and movie producers  are seemingly mining the pages of Mythology  for their movie projects.

Movies similar to the aforementioned clearly show how enormous advancement in technology  benefited  Mythology.  There’s nothing now that creative writers can’t describe in their narratives that 3D and 4D computer graphics can’t project unto the silver screen.

The unbelievable visual  effects made possible through Computer Graphics Imagery (CGI) thrill movie goers and startle them no end. This is one of the best ways to present Mythology. All those imaginary creatures, out-of-this world settings and incredible circumstances would no longer be left for the audience to imagine but for their eyes to feast upon.

What would be the educational implications of this modern rendition of Mythology?

Teaching the said subject has become easier and learning on the part of the students become more fun. For teachers, the movie versions (or even just a few clips) of stories from the pages of Mythology may serve as their audio-visual materials. Discussions during  classes will be greatly augmented by the visuals students see in the movies. Lest we forget that the current generation of learners  are visual. The better they learn when presented with images, pictures and colors. With the right  movies, they learn while having fun.

It could be true that the movie versions of Mythology may make students disinterested with reading but one thing we should bear in mind is that the learning landscape has changed. Through viewing learning could be achieved as well. Viewing, just like reading , has lately been classified as a macro skill in language also.

These reminds me of the suggestion made by one of my students in Creative Writing before. She said that to make sure that the students would read the original story and not just rely on the movie version one activity that could be designed is ask them to find the portions of the original story modified in the movie version.

Could it be that learning Mythology becomes more effective through “viewing” than through “reading?” This is not saying that today’s generation of learners should no longer be encouraged to read. For each area of knowledge there is a corresponding macro skill most applicable. Methinks that for Mythology it is “viewing.”

However, teachers need to pay attention to the discrepancies between the original story and the movie versions. They have to warn the students about such.

For instance, in the movie “Troy”, the Trojan war took place in less than a month. In the original story (Homer’s Iliad), the war ended after ten years. The movie also shows Paris killing Menelaus which is not the case in the original story. The foregoing are but a few of the many discrepancies.

The teachers have to be on the lookout for possible changes to the original story. They themselves need to recognize the changes so the students get to be informed.

Perhaps the movie producers needed to tinker with the original storylines of the “classics” to make the movie versions more cinematic. Understandably, not all the details in the original stories can be included but at least the brains behind the movie production be sensible enough not to change significant details in the story.

Another thing that teachers should be ready for are questions like “Are the Hulk and the Iron Man mythological characters?”

“Myth” is traditionally defined as a story about gods, heroes or imaginary animals which has been handed down  from  one  generation   to another from primitive  times  and is  usually of a religious nature. Additionally the  purpose  of myths is   to explain some belief or natural phenomenon.

Should the foregoing definition be considered, the Hulk and the Iron Man are not mythological characters. In the movie “The Avengers” only Thor and Loki fall in that category.

Experts differ in opinion as to whether or not the companions of Thor and Loki in “The Avengers” be classified as mythological characters. Others contend that they are simply fictional  characters or superheroes that appear in comic books. Their stories do not bear the prerequisites for a myth.

Some are saying that stories in the comic books are part of “modern mythology.” It is not. In a strict sense the term “modern mythology” is delivering classic mythology using as medium the modern technology available nowadays.

What could really be considered as modern version of mythology are the “urban legends.” “Batman,” also a famous character from the comic books is said to be part of urban legend. Thus, if the  comic book character Batman, technically, is a Mythological character, urban legends being a modern version of Mythology, what about the rest of the comic book characters?

Then, the discussion goes in full circle again.

But who knows, with characters from Mythology and comic books finally brought together either as friends cooperating or enemies locking horns in the movie “The Avengers” a redefinition of the term MYTH may follow.

Source: Reconfiguring Mythology

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