01 SES 13 B, Defining and Implementing Professional Standards
The aim of this study is to find out the perceptions of school principals regarding the occupational professionalism of teachers. In Longman dictionary professionalism is defined as the expected standard of skill from a professional person; professional is described as the person who works in a job that requires special knowledge, skills and training (Longman, 2009). Professionalism, maximizing knowledge and skills, multi-dimensional structure of behaviors exhibited in order to improve the quality of the work, is expressed as willingness of individuals to participate in professional development process (Demirkasımoğlu, 2010). Hargreaves (2000) and Whitty (2000) state that professionalism is not a static concept. Professionalism is influenced by government, government policies, the media, the public and the teaching profession itself, and the meaning of the concept is expanding day by day. Professionalism for teachers is to increase their knowledge for their students and try to catch high standards in teaching practices (Helsby & McCulloch, 1996,56; Tichenor & Tichenor, 2004).
Occupational professionalism is based on some concepts. Among these concepts; trust, values, ethical principles, control, such as the requirements of professionalism is expressed as the elements (Evans, 2008). In this respect, the issue of accepting the teaching profession as a professional profession has been widely discussed. Some researchers (Etzioni 1969, Lortie 1969) argued that they could not be a professional occupation by stating that they considered teaching as a semi-profession. On the other hand, it has been suggested that teaching should be accepted as a profession with factors such as the increasing expectations of the society from teaching and increasing the accumulation of knowledge of teachers (Andrew 2005, Whitty, 2000). Teachers were expected to undertake only the roles of teaching and knowledge transfer in the past, however; today they are expected to fulfill many tasks such as guidance, democratic attitude and appreciation, guiding learning and adapting to developing technology (Yılmaz, 2012). This situation reveals the need for teachers to have some competencies.
It is seen that the studies about teacher professionalism have increased in the last 30 years (Ekiz, 2003). It is seen that the studies about teacher professionalism mostly focus on the conceptual aspect of the subject and what are the characteristics that professional teachers should have. Unlike other similar researches on teacher professionalism this specific study focuses on defining the barriers to teacher professionalism while providing solutions according to to the views of the school principals who are also responsible for supervising the teachers. In this context, the problem statement of the study is expressed as What are the views of school principals regarding teacher professionalism?
The study is a qualitative research in phenomenological design. The study group consisted of 22 school principals working at primary, secondary and high schools during 2017-2018 academic year. The study group was determined according to the maximum diversity sampling method. The sample of the study is suitable for maximum diversity sampling because it consists of 4 types of school with various characteristics. The aim of maximum diversity sampling is to create a relatively small sample and to reflect the diversity of individuals who may be a part of the problem in the sample to the maximum extent (Yıldırım & Şimşek, 2013: 136). Semi-structured interview form has been used as the data collection instrument. The researchers prepared a draft interview form and the questions in this form were evaluated by three expert faculty members and the pilot study was conducted by three school principals. After the modifications the interview form contained 3 open-ended questions. These questions are: 1. What do teachers do for their professional and personal development in the context of professional professionalism? 2. What are the barriers that teachers face in providing their professional and personal development? 3. What should be done to remove barriers to teachers' professional and personal development? The form also included questions about the age, seniority, type of school where they work, the total number of teachers in the school, the total number of in-service training activities, seniority in the management position and the demographic information related to their educational status. Content analysis has been employed in the research in order to analyze the data gathered through the interviews.
The main findings of this study reveal that school principals think teachers cannot improve themselves sufficiently both professionally and personally. They further state that teachers mostly attend in-service education and training activities, seminars and conferences; use social media and internet sources and collaborate with their colleagues to ensure their professional and personal development. The principals also indicate that the obstacles that hinder teachers’ professional and personal development mainly stems from teachers themselves such as financial problems and lack of time. The results of the study suggest that financial problems that affect teachers’ professional and personal development be solved, effectiveness of in-service planning and implementation be increased by improving the quality and the number of in-service training activities, teachers’ assigned duties and responsibilities be revised so that they can have more time for professional and personal development, occupational professionalism should be supported via competency based career path.
Andrew, M. D. (2005). Teacher preparation- transition and turmoil. In D. M. Moss, W. J. Glenn & R. L. Schwab (Eds.), Portrait of a profession: Teaching and teachers in the 21st century (pp. 27-61). Westport, CT: Praeger. Demirkasımoğlu, N. (2010). Defining teacher professionalism from different perspectives. Procedia-Socialand Behavioral Sciences, 9, 2047-2051. Evans, L. (2008). Professionalism, professionality and professional development. British Journal of Educational Studies, 56(1), 20-38. Etzioni, A. (1969). The semi-professions and their organization: Teachers, nurses, social workers. New York: Free Press. Hargreaves, A. (2000). Four ages of professionalism and professional learning. Teachers and Teaching: Theory and Practice, 6(2), 151-182. Helsby, G. & McCulloch, G. (1996) Teacher professionalism and curriculum control, in: I. Goodson & A. Hargreaves (Eds)Teachers’ Professional lives, London: Falmer Press. Longman (2009). Dictionary of Contemporary English For Advanced Learners. England: Pearson Education Limited. Lortie, D. (1969). The balance of control and autonomy in elementary school teaching. In A. Etzioni (Ed.), The semi-professions and their organizations: Teachers, nurses and social workers (pp. 1-53). New York: Free Press. Tichenor, M. S., & Tichenor, J. M. (2005). Understanding teachers' perspectives on professionalism. Professional Educator, 27(1), 89-95. Whitty, G. (2000). Teacher professionalism in new times. Journal of in-Service Education, 26(2), 281-295. Yıldırım, A. ve Şimşek, H. (2011). Sosyal bilimlerde nitel araştırma yöntemleri. Ankara: Seçkin Yay. Yılmaz, K. (2012). Eğitimin Temel Kavramları. In H. B. Memduhoğlu ve K. Yılmaz (Edt.). Eğitim bilimine giriş. (pp. 1-20). Ankara: Pegem Akademi.
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