Questioning professionalism (PAMAOK003)


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First presentation in the series "Professionalising teachers and raising the quality of care" (PAMAOK003); MA in Education Studies , Groningen University (RUG), 10 November 2010.

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  • In this talk however, we take a step back from the management of these relationship, in order to ask the earlier, underlying question of what we actually mean by professionalism, why we need it, and what it does. I will present to you two different perspectives, in order to show you that this is not a matter of common-sense or obvious agreement. The two perspectives are in turn functionalist and constructivist. Of course, while these are here presented as contrasts, the point is sooner that you understand how different ways of thinking and reasoning lead to radically different insight. While it is often assumed that “professionalism” has a unified, collectively shared meaning, sociologists, historians and linguists in particular will often see reason to question that assumption. While a historian might ask how professionalism developed and changed over time, the question a sociologist may ask is, “who benefits from claims about professionalism, and how?”
  • Meijer discusses change in education in terms of increasing differentiation. Subsequent sessions of this module each address other ways of managing the relationships, especially in terms of delivering quality care in a professional manner. Question: What sorts of things are missing from this differentiation? Examples: parents, data, an ‘evidence’-base, technologies and technological insfrastructures, institutions, and policy….
  • PS: Michael Rosenberg is departmental colleague of Edward Pajak.
  • Functionalist perspectives on professionalism tend to black-box: the social construction of expertise, the convenient exploitation of problems, the dilemmas inherent in social webs of action, the reinforcement of prior existing inequities, self-interest, the collusion with popular and political ambitions, (et cetera)
  • Question: Can you think of other factors that help sustain the number of children ‘at risk’ in education? Given this, how might we otherwise conceive of the ‘child sciences’?
  • Contrary to Meijer’s conclusions, a critical constructivist sociology of professionalisation would forward the idea that boundaries are constituted and maintained as practice, so that defining differences between roles requires constant work . That ‘boundary work’ is what is made visible across the full range of texts used in this module: at the same time as intending to “divide the labour” involved in special needs education, it offers, through its insistence on particular forms of labour, a vision of the divisions that are taken to define practice. What results is the conclusion that instead of practice being ‘systematic’, orderly, structured or well-divided between roles, practice can equally be understood as messy, heterogeneous, locally achieved or performed. In other words, practice is underdetermined by reference to professionalisation alone.
  • Question: What critique can you give of professional practice?
  • Questioning professionalism (PAMAOK003)

    1. 1. Professionalising teachers and raising the quality of care An introduction PAMAOK003: Professionalising teachers and raising the quality of care Lecture 1 | 10 November 2010 Ernst D. Thoutenhoofd To review this presentation see
    2. 2. Contents <ul><li>1 Summary of this module’s lectures and assignments </li></ul><ul><li>2 Introduction to the module: </li></ul><ul><li>● Functionalist and constructivist perspectives on professionalism </li></ul><ul><li>● Example of professionalism: assessment-based intervention </li></ul><ul><li>‘Handelingsgerichte diagnostiek’ or HGD </li></ul><ul><li>Clinical supervision </li></ul>
    3. 3. Outcome targets for this Master-track <ul><li>Insight into the causes and consequences of problems with learning. </li></ul><ul><li>Insight into the possibilities of (early) recognition, diagnosis, treatment and prevention. </li></ul><ul><li>Systematic intervention with respect to learning problems on micro-, meso- and macro-levels. </li></ul><ul><li>Understanding of, and insight into, the care-structure of the school. </li></ul><ul><li>Evaluate the care for learners, notably the care offered by teachers and resident/ambulant support services. </li></ul><ul><li>Demonstrate understanding of different models for improving the quality of care, including assessment-based intervention (handelingsgerichte diagnostiek) and consultative support for learning (consultatieve leerlingebegeleiding). </li></ul><ul><li>Practice coaching and consultation competencies aimed at professionalisation of teachers. </li></ul>
    4. 4. Module details <ul><li>Learning outcomes </li></ul><ul><li>1. Reflect on the knowledge and skills needed for professionalisation. </li></ul><ul><li>2. Appraise different approaches to professionalisation. </li></ul><ul><li>3. Propose goals that can be pursued through professionalisation. </li></ul><ul><li>Assignments </li></ul><ul><li>Learning gains—what do you know before and after the module? </li></ul><ul><li>Book review—how do different approaches compare? </li></ul><ul><li>Options for professional practice—which goals may be pursued? </li></ul><ul><li>Please note: the deadline for all assignments is 12 January 2011. </li></ul>
    5. 5. Lectures <ul><li>10-11-2010 Assessment-based interventions Ernst Thoutenhoofd </li></ul><ul><li>17-11-2010 Consultative support for learning Marja van Duin </li></ul><ul><li>24-11-2010 Thinking skills + workshop Rob de Haas </li></ul><ul><li>01-12-2010 Professional learning conversations Ernst Thoutenhoofd </li></ul><ul><li>06-12-2010 Wenckebach visit Pauline Bakker </li></ul><ul><li>08-12-2010 Practising consultation Marieke van Roy </li></ul><ul><li>15-12-2010 Learning conversation + evaluation Students </li></ul><ul><li>12-01-2011 Assignment deadline Students </li></ul>
    6. 6. Objectives for this introductory lecture Put the role of educational expertise in improving the quality of educational practice up for discussion. Firstly, by detailing a constructivist perspective, in order to make visible what is often taken for granted in the notion of professionalism. And secondly, by describing assessment-based intervention as a widely-used functionalist approach to improving educational practice, before other approaches are introduced. NB: ‘assessment’ is here used as English equivalent of the Dutch term ‘diagnosis’; in both cases what is meant is a formal, normative, expert appraisal aimed at determining a causal interaction.
    7. 7. Professional differentiation over time curriculum ¶ Based on Meijer et al. (2008): Leren met meer effect. teacher pupil scientist pupil curriculum advisor assistant teacher manager
    8. 8. A functionalist perspective <ul><li>Vincent Connelly and Michael Rosenberg Special education teaching as a profession (2009) </li></ul>
    9. 9. Developmental functionalism <ul><li>Some developments act in favour of professional autonomy: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>complex knowledge of work to be done </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>period of induction </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>ongoing career development </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>training in new approaches </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>substantial authority over action </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>relatively high salaries </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Other developments act against autonomy: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>as in medicine, conflicting interests and (counter-)claims </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>unlike in law, the state directly interferes in autonomy </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>as in engineering, escalating influence of markets </li></ul></ul>¶ Based on Connelly and Rosenberg (2009) Special education teaching as a profession .
    10. 10. From functionalism to constructivism <ul><li>Functionalist perspectives tend to assume realism. </li></ul><ul><li>However, problems and their solutions are never naturally occurring but constructed realities: things could typically have been perceived differently, and acted upon differently. </li></ul><ul><li>E.g. disorder classifications; language and cultural capital; social inclusion and integration; ethnicity and gender; intelligence and performance; educational targets and aspirations; etc. </li></ul><ul><li>Education professionals confront elaborate constructions on a daily basis. </li></ul>
    11. 11. A constructivist perspective <ul><li>Jeroen Dekker Children at risk in history: a story of expansion (2009) </li></ul>
    12. 12. The number of children ‘at risk’ <ul><li>Child science and child acts served as major multipliers for the number of children at risk. </li></ul><ul><li>Professionals contribute to expansion by e.g. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>using research methods that inflate numbers </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>broadening the definition of child maltreatment </li></ul></ul><ul><li>The moral dimension of child science has become increasingly prominent over time. </li></ul><ul><li>Addressing the needs of an expanding population leads to greater influence of better organised professionals. </li></ul>¶ Based on Dekker (2009) Children at risk in history .
    13. 13. Summary of professionalism as critique Constructivism is alert to socio-political dimensions, while functionalism focuses on the quality of the task. Education professionals confront both constructivist and functionalist dimensions of professionalism on a daily basis. There is a highly symbiotic (mutually enhancing) relationship between science, professionalism and policy; e.g. raising the quality of educational care. Education scholars are becoming increasingly interventionist, while education professionals become increasingly scientific .
    14. 14. Critical de- differentiation ¶ Based on Meijer et al. (2008): Leren met meer effect. scientist pupil curriculum advisor assistant teacher manager scientist pupil curriculum advisor assistant teacher manager
    15. 15. Assessment-based intervention <ul><li>Pameijer and van Beukering (2004) Handelingsgerichte diagnostiek. </li></ul><ul><li>The approach is known in the Netherlands as HGD, and this is the term used here for assessment-based intervention. </li></ul><ul><li>For the purposes of this module, it is assumed that HGD and its various incarnations (cf. Pajak) provide general, widely used frameworks for intervention used by e.g. orthopedagogen in the Netherlands and educational psychologists in the UK. </li></ul><ul><li>HGD can therefore provide the large backdrop against which to explore other approaches to professionalisation in education. </li></ul>
    16. 16. Starting points of HGD <ul><li>Assessment-based intervention (HGD) is a systematic, cyclical procedure for evidence-based decision-making in education. </li></ul><ul><li>Diagnosis is not a goal in itself, but a means to base advice in good evidence. The diagnostic cycle is complete when the client receives advice that is both welcome and usable. </li></ul><ul><li>The goal of HGD is to provide advice that has the support of teachers, carers and the child; the approach is holistic, inclusive and participatory. </li></ul>
    17. 17. The six phases of HGD intervention <ul><li>intake phase (re)formulate the request for help </li></ul><ul><li>strategy phase gather data relevant to decision-making </li></ul><ul><li>research phase question-guided analysis </li></ul><ul><li>assessment phase translation from diagnosis to advice </li></ul><ul><li>advising phase adjusted to means and wishes </li></ul><ul><li>evaluation phase evaluate diagnosis and advice </li></ul>
    18. 18. Guiding principles of HGD <ul><li>Engagements are transactional—it is recognised that all participants reflect on, and adjust to, the intervention that is taking place. </li></ul><ul><li>HGD distinguishes between risk factors and protective factors. </li></ul><ul><li>Goodness of fit is reflected in the expectations of parents vs. the capacities, motivation and behaviours of the child. </li></ul><ul><li>The cause of a learning problem is less relevant than its meaning for properly adjusting the education of the child. </li></ul><ul><li>Collaboration with school, parents and child is crucial, calling for open communication and clear agreements. </li></ul>
    19. 19. Edward Pajak’s focus on clinical supervision <ul><li>Pajak positions the evolution of assessment-based intervention in the sociology of John Dewey (1859-1952). </li></ul><ul><li>‘ When Dewey called for the application of the scientific method to educational problems, he was referring to reflective inquiry as a guide to practice.’ (Pajak 2000:2-3) </li></ul><ul><li>According to Dewey, </li></ul><ul><li>• Democratic supervision recognises the worth of individuals; </li></ul><ul><li>•  Democracy is action oriented (the pursuit of intelligent solutions through problem-centred groups); </li></ul><ul><li>•  Schools are information-based organisations. </li></ul>
    20. 20. Thank you for your attention
    21. 21. References <ul><li>Connelly, Vincent J., and Michael S. Rosenberg (2009) Special education teaching as a profession: Lessons learned from occupations that have achieved full professional standing, in Teacher Education and Special Education 32(3):201-214. </li></ul><ul><li>Dekker, Jeroen J.H. (2009) Children at risk in history: A story of expansion, in Paedagogica Historica 45(1):17-36. </li></ul><ul><li>Pajak, Edward (2000) Approaches to clinical supervision: Alternatives for improving instruction. Norwood, US: Christopher-Gordon Publishers. </li></ul><ul><li>Pameijer, N. and Beukering, T van (2004) Handelingsgerichte diagnostiek: Een praktijkmodel voor diagnostiek en advisering bij onderwijs- en opvoedingsproblemen. Leuven, België: Acco. </li></ul>