Is Education A Profession Or A Craft?
One of the most controversial issues in education industry is actually the primary definition of the term education. Whereas many believe that education is actually a craft, others still believe that education is a craft. Further, others think that education is a combination of professionalism and craft. This paper looks at the definition of the terms, profession and craft, in the efforts of coming up with a proper classification of education. Sacs presents a taxonomical definition of a profession as, “possessing a diverse range of characteristics differentiating them from other occupations. These characteristics centrally encom-passed knowledge and expertise – as well as others such as playing a positive part in the community” (Sacs, 2012). Following this definition, it can be argued that education is actually a profession since teachers have diversified characteristics that set them apart from other forms of occupations.
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Education involves more than just theoretical work learned in college. Education involves learning through experience and gaining more trade tools in the process of teaching. Education is a craft since it involves rigorous exercise of practical skills in imparting knowledge, motivation, mentorship, and nurturing of skills through direct engagement with students. However, it is not possible to exercise the above efficiently without nurturing the skills through experience. For instance, skills needed to handle one set of students may be different from those required in handling a different set of students. Teachers have to learn in situ and react appropriately depending on the demands of the situation. The experience acquired through interacting with students makes education a craft.
On the other hand, education involves application of theoretical knowledge learned previously. Teaching becomes a profession since it involves application of evidence-based techniques. Teachers have to undergo rigorous training and learning in order to acquire the skills to impart to students. Through acquisition of theoretical and technical skills, teachers become autonomous consequently becoming professionals. It is undeniably true that lack of professionalism or craft in education is detrimental to the quality of education. Again, according to Gordon (2011), “It would be presumptuous in the extreme to set to one side the extensive evidence base on teaching and learning and to proceed only on the basis of personal experience of a classroom environment.” Definitely, it is justified to take a central stand and define education as a synergistic application of both craft and professionalism. Otherwise, skewed approach to education on either side will certainly not yield the desired results.
Gordon, Kirk. (2011). It's not craft or profession. Teachers without both skills will be a walking disaster. Retrieved from http://www.tes.co.uk/article.aspx?storycode=6069934
Saks, M. (2012). Defining a Profession: The Role of Knowledge and Expertise. Professions And Professionalism, 2(1). doi:10.7577/pp.v2i1.151
Tyreman, Stephen. (2008).Valuing osteopathy: What are (our) professional values and how do we teach them? International Journal of Osteopathic Medicine. Vol 11: 3 , pp 90-95.