Curriculum For Excellence Impact On Teacher Professionalism Education Essay

Last Updated: 16 Jun 2020
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The being of a relationship between course of study policy and instructor professionalism would look to be an established premise. This is apparent in claims that course of study reform is frequently regarded as a menace to teacher professionalism ( Al-Hinei 2003 ; Apple 2009 ; Locke et Al. 2005 ) . Most notably, it is frequently claimed that the degree of prescription in the English National Curriculum, with the associated demand to run into the prescribed results, reflects a decrease of instructor liberty in favor of answerability ( Walsh 2006 ) . It would look, at this degree so, possible to reason that a decrease in cardinal prescription equates to an addition in teacher liberty which in bend equates to an sweetening of instructor professionalism. To an extent this would look to be an purpose of recent course of study reform in Scotland in the signifier of the Curriculum for Excellence ( CfE ) . The first page of the first 'Building the Curriculum ' papers that claims that 'teachers will hold greater range and infinite for professional determinations about what and how they should learn ' ( Scots Executive 2006:1 ) .

However, such a straightforward relationship between course of study policy and instructor professionalism would, pulling on Evans ( 2008 ) , be an over-simplification. Evans suggests that professionalism can non be understood entirely, through analyzing instructors ' 'remit and duties ' ( p.23 ) , and instead we must see instructors themselves understand their professional duties. To an extent this would look to be recognised in Scotland 's course of study reform, in for illustration claims that the reform requires a 'culture alteration ' ( Scots Government 2009a:5 ) and the accent on the demand for professional development ( Scots Executive 2006:2 ) . This suggests acknowledgment that a alteration of instructors ' remit and duties entirely will non impact upon professionalism.

In visible radiation of the perceived association between CfE and teacher professionalism - both as stand foring being and necessitating a alteration - it becomes pertinent to see the nature of the professional opinions that greater teacher liberty over the content of the course of study entails, and hence the construct of professionalism it would look to connote. This requires a consideration of the peculiar issues that are associated with the choice of course of study content, and an scrutiny of different constructs of instructor professionalism.

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Course of study

First hence, we must see what is meant by `` course of study '' . As a term it would look to be notoriously difficult to specify, with a battalion of potentially conflicting definitions ( Dillon 2009 ) . By and large it can be suggested that 'curriculum ' does non mention to a list, or patterned advance, of points to be taught. The course of study addresses non merely what is taught, but why and how instruction and larning takes topographic point. As such, curricula reflect and advance beliefs about the purposes and nature of instruction ( Flinders & A ; Thornton 2009:8 ) . They reflect different epistemic and pedagogical beliefs - beliefs about the nature of cognition and acquisition and learning - in, for illustration, their administration of 'knowledge ' ( Carr 1988 ) , for illustration those that emphasise the separation of cognition into topics and those that favour integrating of capable countries. However it should possibly be noted that Carr ( 1988 ) argues that the epistemic and pedagogical bases of much course of study policy is non wholly coherent. It should besides be noted that the current treatment is centred around the construct of 'explicit ' course of study ( REF-moore? ) , - course of study as a statement of the planned or expected acquisition within a school context. Other constructs regard course of study to embrace all the experiences which impact upon a scholar 's development ( REF-Dillon? ) .

However, notwithstanding the scope of attacks to understanding and making course of study, course of study design needfully entails a choice of what is to be taught. Different course of study theoretical accounts may differ in both when and by whom this procedure of choice takes topographic point. In a to a great extent normative, centralised, curriculum much of the choice is being made by policy shapers. At the other extreme, in a strongly child-centred course of study, choice is mostly made by the kid based upon their involvements. ( BACK THIS UP ) . If we consider the CfE itself, it is apparent that it can non be considered to be puting the determination of what to learn entirely in the custodies of instructors. Priestley ( 2010:23 ) suggests that it reflects a tendency in course of study development in general, in which there is an effort to pull on both 'top-down and bottom-up attacks to curriculum be aftering ' . A procedure of choice has already occurred at the national degree in footings of the signifiers of cognition and accomplishments that are to be developed. Even within this 'clear model of national outlooks ' ( Scots Executive 2006:1 ) , instructors do non hold exclusive duty for course of study content choice. In the pledge, 'all kids and immature people should see personalisation and pick... ' ( Scots Government 2008:17 ) , there is an outlook that students will, to a certain extent, besides be doing determinations about course of study content. Further, there is a strong accent upon collegiality, with instructors working together on course of study development ( Scots Government 2009 ) . However it clearly does take to put more duty for pick in the custodies of the instructor, and in making so is potentially impacting the nature of instructor professionalism.


In order to analyze this claim more closely it is necessary to see the significance of 'professionalism ' itself. As with 'curriculum ' , it would look that 'professionalism ' is a hard term to specify with many different positions as to what it truly means ( Al-Hinei 2003:41 ; Evans 2008 ) .

By and large nevertheless, the term 'profession ' may be regarded as bespeaking a distinguishable 'class or class of business ' consisting of occupations such as physician or attorney, and sometimes teacher ( Carr 2000:22 ) , to which a certain position may be attached. This should be regarded as distinct from the mundane usage of 'professional ' as distinguished from 'amateur ' which focuses on whether or non an person is paid ( REF-Carr? ) .

The intent of sing some businesss as 'professions ' differs harmonizing to different positions. Some respect it as a socially constructed construct, proposing it is a agency of continuing power and position with a certain group of people ( Locke et al. 2005:558 ) . Carr ( ? ? : ? ? ) suggests it refers to those businesss that are required to keep civil society ( wellness, justness and instruction ) . Others suggest that there are certain specifying features which mark out an business as carry throughing the standard for 'profession ' ( Locke et al 2005:558 ; Christie 2003:845 ) .

Whilst this diverseness of positions exists, there does look to be a general sense that those businesss that are classed as professions involve a degree of liberty to do determinations, a distinguishable cognition base or expertness, and some signifier of attention or service to society ( Carr 2000 ; Christie 2003 ; Goodson 2003 ; Locke et Al. 2005 ) .

Professionalism itself may be possibly regarded as the manner in which we describe a profession in footings of its features in relation to these constructs ( Goodson 2003:126 ) . In kernel professionalism is concerned with sing the degree of liberty afforded to persons by an business and the nature of the professional cognition or expertness involved.

In this manner, the averment referred to earlier, that the English National Curriculum is considered as a procedure of de-professionalisation, may be regarded as a belief that the degree of prescription involved is cut downing teacher liberty and altering the nature of the expertness required to make the occupation. As such, the distinguishable features of learning are more narrowly defined. Carr ( 2000:15 ) refers to such a decreased liberty and cognition base as 'restricted professionalism ' .

It is suggested that instruction is alone amongst the professions in footings of its balance between liberty and answerability ( Carr? ? ) . As Locke et Al ( 2005: 564 ) point out, there is a 'tension ' between professional liberty and answerability. This alone answerability is related to the relationship between instruction and society.

Education, or instead schooling, is basically concerned with 'the sort of society we want to be ' ( White 2004:2 ) and is frequently related to the economic wellness of a state ( REF... . ) . This is apparent in the claim that the 'Curriculum for Excellence can play a important function ' in accomplishing the Scots Governments purpose 'to make Scotland smarter, safer and stronger, wealthier and fairer, greener and healthier ' ( Scots Government 2008:3 ) . It is from this impression of schooling as helping, and potentially formative, society as a whole that it is suggested that schools and instructors are accountable in ways that other professions are non ( Carr 2000:44 ) . It is further suggested that instructors are besides more accountable to parents and must accept the legitimacy of the positions of 'non-professionals ' in a manner that attorneies or physicians do non ( Carr 2003:64 ) .

It may be as a consequence of this answerability to the province and parents that the dominant construct of instructor professionalism, in policy at least, has become that of the 'competent instructor ' with a focal point on meeting prescribed criterions. ( Goodson 2003:127 ; Menter et al 2010:21 ) .

Sing teacher professionalism in footings of criterions is argued to potentially take to a state of affairs in which the professional cognition base of instruction is strictly related to practical accomplishments, such as effectual communicating and the ability to pull off behavior ( Goodson 2003:130 ) . It is besides argued that such a position of instructor professionalism can take to 'unreflective application of regulations ' ( Hegarty 2000:456 ) , instead than size uping and oppugning policy and course of study. It would look sensible to tie in a normative course of study with such a construct of instructor professionalism, as so Menter et Al. ( 2010:22 ) do.

This would nevertheless, seem an deficient history of instructor professionalism to run into the demands of a course of study which gives teacher greater liberty of what to learn. Therefore, through concentrating on the particular issues which arise in relation to curriculum content choice, attending will be paid to theoretical accounts of professionalism which could possibly be regarded as more appropriate. Two thoughts will be addressed in relation to content choice. The first: the deductions of sing content choice as a pedagogical accomplishment ( REF... ? ? ) with instructors pulling on, for illustration, cognition of kid development. The 2nd considers the deductions of sing course of study as a 'selection of civilization ' ( Giroux 1980:228 ) , indicating to content choice as holding ethical deductions.

Curriculum Content Selection

Sing content choice as a pedagogical accomplishment would possibly reflect White 's ( 2004a:20 ) averment that instructors ' 'expertise ' prevarications in 'deciding what specific purposes and what student experiences best suit the peculiar kids ' . In this instance, instructors professional cognition may be regarded as wider than that of practical accomplishments, instead it involves pulling on pedagogical, capable specific cognition and cognition of kid development, to choose and order the content that makes up the course of study ( REF ) .

The instructor is using their professional cognition in order to do professional opinions as to the content which will travel an person to the following phase of development.

Clearly this points to the demand for some signifier of course of study purposes. As White ( 2004:6 ) points out, we can non sanely make up one's mind what to learn without mention to an purpose, an indicant as to what the following phase of development really is. Using such an apprehension to the CfE, we can see that the overall curricular purposes are set out in footings of the 'four capacities ' - statements as to the type of individual the course of study seeks to develop ( Learning and Teaching Scotland 2010 ) . At a more elaborate degree, the 'experiences and results... describe the outlooks for larning and patterned advance for each of the eight course of study countries ' ( Learning and Teaching Scotland 2010 ) . The instructor, so, would look to hold autonomy in taking what they teach in order to accomplish the expected acquisition.

The demand to do professional opinions of this nature would look to indicate to a construct of a more enhanced professionalism than a more normative course of study, and may indicate to such theoretical accounts as the 'reflective instructor ' ( Moore 2004:4 ) . Such a theoretical account of professionalism is regarded as comprehending learning as affecting more than practical accomplishments. Rather the instructor reflects upon their schoolroom pattern, measuring their instruction, possibly pulling on their theoretical apprehension with a position to bettering and developing their instruction ( Moore 2004 ) . It could besides associate to the construct of 'the asking instructor ' ( Menter et al. 2010:23 ) , in which instructors are regarded as research workers, pulling on observations in the schoolroom to inform their professional determinations in their planning. It is suggested that such a construct of the instructor is 'very apposite in the context of the Curriculum for Excellence ' ( Menter et al. 2010:23 ) , which seeks to give instructors greater liberty in course of study development.

These theoretical accounts would surely look to widen the construct of instructor professionalism beyond that of the sensed technicism of the 'competent ' instructor. As such they may supply suited theoretical accounts for instructors who are involved in the choice of course of study content, puting an accent on instructors ' pedagogical expertness.

However, if we turn to the 2nd construct, an apprehension of course of study content as a 'selection of civilization ' ( Giroux 1980:228 ) , understanding instructor professionalism in footings of pedagogical expertness may get down to look inadequate.

Culture, in its broadest sense, may be regarded 'as a whole manner of life ' , embracing all facets of society including the cognition, accomplishments and activities, such as athletics and 'recreation ' , of that society ( Entwistle 1977:111 ) . However, if we regard instruction as being, in some manner, involved with 'betterment ' ( Entwistle 1977:111 ) , schooling can non be concerned with all those things that make up a civilization. Rather, Entwistle ( 1977:111 ) , suggests that in schooling we select those facets of civilization which are regarded to be contributing to the 'improvement of the person or group ' .

This once more points to a consideration of the purposes of instruction: it is merely through an consciousness of what is regarded as 'betterment ' , and hence, what we are taking to accomplish through instruction, that choice of content can sanely be carried out ( White 2004:6 ) . Related to this, cultural choice clearly besides implies a procedure of rating, separating between those things which we regard as 'desirable or unwanted ' facets of civilization ( Entwistle 1977:110 ) .

Therefore concerns about the choice of civilization which makes up the content of a course of study can possibly be regarded as originating both in relation to the purposes of the course of study and in the ratings of the comparative desirableness, or worth, of different cultural elements.

Concerns that rise in relation to the purposes of the course of study are possibly best exemplified by the unfavorable judgments of a course of study whose purpose is, for illustration to increase employability accomplishments. Those who regard cognition acquisition as holding value in its ain right would see an instrumental attack to content choice as an poverty of instruction, restricting entree to many signifiers of civilization which may non hold direct instrumental value ( pulling on Carr et Al. 2006:17 ) . In this manner so, we can see that the choice of content is in some manner impacted upon by our beliefs about the intent of instruction, and as such sing choice of content as proficient accomplishment may be deficient.

However, it is possibly in relation to the rating as to the comparative worth of facets of civilization that the most complex issues originate. It is in sing the relationship between cognition and power that cultural choice becomes debatable. This becomes apparent when we draw on Bourdieu 's ( 1986:106 ) construct of 'cultural capital ' . Bourdieu ( 1986:106 ) suggests that different signifiers of 'culture ' are invested with value which can be drawn on for pecuniary addition, or an addition in societal position. If we consider this in footings of 'knowledge ' as a signifier of civilization, so acquisition of certain signifiers of cognition by an person can be utilised in bring forthing income and increasing societal position. For illustration, geting specific biological and medical cognition can enable one to derive both the income and position conferred upon a physician. However, it is non merely the acquisition of the cognition per Se. which is valuable, but instead gaining institutional acknowledgment - in the signifier of an academic making - of possessing a peculiar signifier of civilization ( Bourdieu 1986:110 ) . In this sense, certain signifiers of cognition, certain signifiers of civilization, have greater value by virtuousness of being 'institutionalised ' in the signifier of a making ( Bourdieu 1986:109 ) .

This would propose hence, that schools are involved in both the transportation of signifiers of civilization which enable an person to derive economic capital or societal position, but besides in some manner specify what signifiers of civilization are of value. Such an averment is supported by Giroux 's ( 1980:228 ) statement that the civilization that is selected to organize the course of study becomes 'legitimised ' by the really fact of its inclusion in the course of study. This construct can farther be seen in claims that the 'traditional ' academic course of study is an elitist choice of civilization, giving value to signifiers of cognition associated with the in-between category ( REF! ) .

It is the comparative value that become associated with different signifiers of cognition and different accomplishments that signifiers portion of what is termed 'hidden course of study ' ( Ref ) . This is a mention to the values and thoughts that a school may non explicitly plan to learn, but which however are transmitted to students ( REF ) . It is suggested hence that the exclusion of an facet of civilization from the course of study communicates to pupils a belief about the comparative worth of this facet of civilization ( REF..exemplify? )

Moore ( 2004 ) provides an interesting illustration of this claim of elitism in cultural choice. Moore focuses on portraitures in movie of instructors who are regarded as 'saviours and non-conformists ' ( Moore 2004:58 ) , such as 'Ms Johnson ' in the movie Dangerous Minds. He argues that whilst the attack they take to instruction may be extraordinary, the content of that instruction is non. Moore ( 2004 ) contends that the cultural choice made by these instructors, of what he regards to be representative of in-between category values, 'may be read as lending to and corroborating societal and cultural prejudices ' ( p.58 )

It is in this sense that Young ( 2006:734 ) argues that 'social involvements are ever involved in course of study design ' , those with the power to choose what is included in the course of study have, to an extent, the power to legalize certain signifiers of cognition and certain patterns. It is suggested that through this procedure of advancing and legalizing in-between category civilization ( here we have the impression that a society consists of many 'cultures ' ( ref ) ) , schools are implicated in intrenching inequalities of societal category ( REF ) .

Such a claim requires closer consideration in order to understand the agencies by which cultural choice may be regarded to be implicated in affairs of societal justness. One manner in which it is suggested that this is the instance is that persons from a in-between category background have greater entree and exposure to the signifiers of cognition that are regarded as valuable by schools ( Reay 2006 ) . In this manner, Reay ( 2006 ) suggests, kids from in-between category backgrounds are at an advantage, able to pull on the cultural capital they already possess in order to execute good at schools, deriving institutionalized acknowledgment through academic makings, and therefore addition position in society.

This would look to foreground a tenseness for those involved in choosing the content of a course of study. On the one manus, it is suggested that if schools do non supply the 'high position cultural capital that academic and economic success requires ' so kids from working category backgrounds are potentially deprived of the ability to raise their societal position ( Anyon 2006:44 ) . However in making so, they are possibly complicit in reproducing prejudice as to what is regarded as legitimate and valuable cognition.

It should be pointed out that this debatable history of cognition and cultural choice does non propose that 'knowledge ' is incorrect or should non organize the footing of a course of study ( Young 2006 ) . Rather it suggests the demand to see the exact nature of the content we are taking to include, and significantly exclude, from the course of study. It suggests the demand for contemplation on our grounds for content choice, necessitating an consciousness of our ain prejudices we bring to the procedure ( Chan 2009: ? ? ) .

From these observations, in which the choice of course of study content is regarded as holding societal deductions and is implicated in the transmittal of values, an apprehension of instructor professionalism which emphasises practical accomplishments or even pedagogical cognition possibly begins to look inadequate.

Therefore the balance of this essay will see the impression that instruction is inherently ethical in its nature, and that teacher professionalism should therefore Centre upon the moral features of the profession ( Goodson 2003 ; Campbell 2003 ; Carr 2006 )

Carr ( 2006:172 ) argues that whilst all businesss are in some manner concerned with ethical issues, these by and large play a 'regulative ' function - they indicate criterions for good pattern. However he suggests that this is non the instance with instruction, instead he suggests that ethical considerations are 'constitutive ' of learning. This is possibly more clear in Campbell 's ( 2007:604 ) averment that:

'It is far more ambitious to extricate the moralss of learning from the really procedure, pattern and content of teachingaˆ¦ ' ( CHECK CONTEXT )

It would look that what is meant by this is that the determinations and actions taken by a instructor have 'moral ' significance ( pulling on Campbell 2003:1 ) . By its really nature instruction is involved in organizing kids 's values and apprehension of the universe and as such is involved in conveying construct as to what is 'right ' and 'wrong ' ( REF ) . Further, as discussed earlier the determinations made potentially impact upon an persons accomplishment in schooling and therefore perchance impact their future chances.

Following from this construct that issues of moralss are inbuilt into instruction, Campbell ( 2008:605 ) argues that 'ethical codifications ' are deficient to turn to the issues faced by instructors. Rather she suggests that instructors requires an understanding by instructors of the complex moral issues they must turn to ( Campbell 2008:605 ) .

It would look that within the Scots context there is acknowledgment of this. The 'Standards for Initial Teacher Education ' in Scotland, which 'specify what is required of a pupil instructor ' ( Christie 2003:847 ) , includes mention to 'professional values and personal committedness ' ( Christie 2003:848 ) .

There is a danger, Carr ( ? ? ? ) suggests, in bordering values as a competency or criterion, in that it would look to propose that the other facets of learning are 'value-neutral ' . In this manner, the ethical nature of learning possibly can non be reduced to a competence or criterion. Rather Carr ( 2006:178 ) suggests that it is about instructors 'taking moral issues and inquiries earnestly ' . It should be noted that this does non propose that instructors do non presently take moral and ethical considerations earnestly, Campbell ( 2003:2 ) argues that many instructors are cognizant of the moral deductions of their actions.

However, Locke et Al. ( 2005:570 ) do suggest that when instructors are capable to high degrees of answerability it can take instructors 'doing things right ' instead than 'doing the right thing ' . Potentially, hence, the CfE 's focal point on greater liberty could supply greater flexibleness for instructors to do the determinations they regard to be ethically sound. At the same clip, by increasing instructors ' range for taking what to learn the ethical nature of learning possibly comes even more to the bow.

It would look so, that in taking to give instructors greater liberty over the content of the course of study, the CfE both can be viewed as potentially heightening instructors ' professionalism as understood in footings of degrees of liberty. However, it besides seems to necessitate a consideration of the professional cognition base on which professionalism is based. The importance of pedagogical expertness and development is clearly of import and highlighted as so ( e.g. Scots Government 2009:4 ) . Yet, sing the complexness, and potentially value loaded nature of the cultural choice involved in choosing course of study content it would look of import to underscore the ethical nature of instructor professionalism. In kernel so, the greater liberty afforded to instructors to choose the content of the course of study by the CfE would surely look, as Menter et Al ( 2010:23 ) suggest, to indicate to a theoretical account of teacher professionalism in which instructors both reflect upon and develop their pattern. However in visible radiation of the basically ethical issues involved in content choice, it would look just to propose that instructors ' contemplations and determinations should pull non merely on theoretical and practical cognition, but must besides see the ethical grounds for taking to include, or non to include content in their instruction.

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