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Module 6: The Teacher as a Professional

Week 1: Being Professional and Being a Professional

This week the ECT focused on exploring the notion of professionalism and explored being professional and being a professional.  The ECT firstly, reflected upon individual perceptions of professionals and what defines a profession before exploring the literature around this and models that may support their understanding and application.  Finally the ECT considered elements of their own professionalism.

Reflection and Discussion

This week, the ECT started with some reflective activity and considered the following questions:

Consider the following questions:

  • What traits/values/virtues do you hold that you feel makes you align with the professional values of teaching?

  • What do characteristics (virtues) do/should teachers typically have?

  • What is there that explicitly identifies you as a professional?  

  • Are teachers professional in the way that practitioners of law and medicine are? (Hargreaves & Fullan, 2012, p80)

  • How are teachers different to TAs?

  • Are there things that teachers do that are different to other professions?

  • Are you professional all of the time?  What does that look like?

  • What challenges your professionalism?


Discuss these with the ECT.

The ECT then considered the following questions:

How do you define what it is to be a professional and also what defines a profession?.  

Is being a professional/a profession related to qualifications, job type, pay, an association to a professional body...?   Is a professional teacher the same as a professional cleaner?  What might be the differences? Is there an agreed-upon knowledge base? (Hargreaves & Fullan, 2012, p81)

How is being a professional/a profession different to professionalism?

The ECT then explored character virtues and were asked to identify which of these they felt were important for teachers, using The Jubilee Centre for Character and Virtues' summary (below).

The ECT also reflected upon their character strengths and areas of focus - invite the ECT to discuss these with you.

(Jubilee Centre for Character and Virtues, 2022)

Evidence and Research:

When exploring the research, the ECT was introduced to the nuances of being professional and being a professional.  Invite them to explore this with you.

You may want to frame the conversation using the following questions:

  • What do you understand by 'being professional'?

  • How is being professional different from being a professional?

  • What are the benchmarks for professionalism in teaching?  How are these represented in the Teaching Standards?  What do you feel about Part 2 of the Standards?

  • Invite the ECT to discuss how they interpret the diagrammatic representation of professionalism (below)

Application and Exploration of Practice and Setting:

The ECT produced an action plan identifying three key areas of professionalism they wish to further develop.

Ask to see their action plan and discuss this with them.

You may wish to suggest some ways to support them in achieving their aims.

Week 2: Establishing and Building Effective Working Relationships with Colleagues

This week the ECT focused on establishing and building positive and effective working relationships.  The learning clarified what workplace relationships are in contrast to personal relationships and explored how they can effectively build positive and effective workplace relationships looking at key elements and behaviours and attitudes associated with such.  The ECT reflected upon the working relationships within the school as well as their own behaviours and attitudes based upon their learning.

Evidence and Research:

Within their learning the ECT refreshed the contrast between personal and working relationships and explored the key elements that contribute to effective working relationships and the key behaviours and attitudes that enable them to develop effective working relationships.  Invite the ECT to share their learning with you.  You may find the following questions useful:

  • What are the benefits to the school of establishing positive working relationships?

  • Are there any benefits to yourself personally in developing strong working relationships?

  • What elements define effective/positive working relationships?

  • What skills/qualities/behaviours are important in developing positive working relationships?

Application and Exploration of Practice and Setting:

The ECT was asked to observe working relationships around the school over the course of the week and consider these in relation to the elements that define positive working relationships and also the behaviours and attitudes that support positive working relationships.

These elements and behaviours are within the ECT's learning materials.

Invite the ECT to share their observations with you.

Reflection and Discussion

Looking at the behaviours and attitudes that enhance positive working relationships, the ECT was asked to reflect on these in relation to themselves.

Ask them where they have strengths and where they have areas for development.

You may then want to discuss how they can develop specific behaviours.

Week 3: How to Work Effectively with your TA

This week the TA focused on considering how to work effectively with their TA.  The ECT explored recent EEF research and guidance 'Making the Best Use of Teaching Assistants' and considered how they can apply this guidance to enhance their practice and ensure their TA has maximum impact on learning and student progress in their classroom.

Evidence and Research:

The ECT explored recent EEF research and guidance on 'Making the Best Use of your TAs'.  The ECT focused on recommendations 2-4 from the summary of recommendations (below).

Explore with your ECT the key learning they took from the summary but also the guidance document.

These are both below for your information.

Application and Exploration of Practice and Setting:

The ECT was asked to begin to embed some of the recommended practice from the guidance.  Explore how they have achieved this.  You may want to ask the following questions to support your discussion:

  • When have you been meeting to plan learning with your TA?

  • How have these sessions been?

  • Has your TA used the log of learning?

  • How have they found this?

  • How helpful have you found this?

  • Did you shared and discuss the 'scaffolding framework for teaching assistant-pupil interactions with your TA?'

  • Have you seen them try to apply this?

  • Have you scheduled a feedback session with your TA?

  • What areas of strength will you currently identify?  What are the areas for development?

Reflection and Discussion

The ECT has taken time to reflect on the current way they work/have been working with their TA and have considered some key questions to frame their reflection.

Invite the ECT to share their reflections with you.

These questions may help frame your discussion:

  • How does your current practice align with your learning this week?

  • Does your TA have maximum impact on learning and progress within your classroom?

  • What have you been doing effectively with regards to working with your TA?

  • What do you feel you need to develop further?

  • Does your TA know their strengths and areas for development?

  • What are your plans moving forward to ensure that your TA is an effective resource in your teaching toolkit?

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