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Professionalism Essay

Although I must await the board of examiners meeting in September to have my provisional pass confirmed, I now feel confident enough to share my professionalism essay (not to be plagiarised) in case anyone happens to be interested.

Professionalism Essay

Click on the image above to read the essay on Scribd

The essay is one half of the Module 1 assignment at Edinburgh and I was given the choice of considering professionalism and teaching in the context of current educational issue. I took this choice and used the curriculum for excellence as my issue (as was pretty obvious from my brief obsession with posting on Don’s blog).

I found writing this to be very stimulating, and really forced me to examine the curriculum for excellence. This has been enormously beneficial for me as a teacher – surely the very point of the way the masters route to CTeach has been constructed!

I’m hoping that as my confidence grows, I will be able to post my assignments online before submission and make use of this community (as demonstrated by Margaret). However, as this was my first attempt I really had no idea if I was anywhere near what was required, so I shied away from uploading.

Thanks for all of the assistance, comments and support during module 1.


I notice a lot of people are still reading this post. There’s a better format version of this essay as a PDF here: http://fkelly.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/The-Nature-of-Professionalism.pdf

It's done!

I’ve done all I can and my module 1 assignment is in its folder and ready to be handed in this morning. Fingers crossed I’ve passed!

This is probably my last post of the term, so have a great summer everyone.

See you in August.

TESS Friday 13th

TESS 13th June

I don’t know what to write about following a read through this week’s TESS. Should it be Fiona Hyslop’s thoughts on the Chartered Teacher programme, or the continuing discussions surrounding aCfE and the exam reform plans.

Given my current time pressures (only 7 days to Module 1 deadline!!) I’m not sure I can even manage a coherent discussion on even just one of these! However, I don’t think I can really let the CT article pass without a mention.

I wasn’t able to make it to the CT conference, but it sounds as if the Minister made these comments there. She was responding to the Report of the Chartered Teacher Review Group, published online on the same day as the comments were made. The review group made a number of recommendations:
– That the GTCS should, in consultation with all relevant stakeholders, review the SCT and the CT modular route format.
– To be eligible to embark on the CT scheme a teacher must be at the at the top of the main grade pay scale, be fully registered with the GTCS and have maintained a CPD portfolio, which itself must include robust, validated evidence of good classroom practice. The GTCS will issue guidelines on the construction of a portfolio.
– All stakeholders should actively promote the CT scheme.
– All providers should review and re-submit their programmes to the GTCS to ensure that an appropriate proportion of validated school based evidence is a requirement of the programme.
– Headteachers should continue to discuss and agree with CTs, and those following the modular programme, the duties from Annex B of TP21 that they should perform. These tasks should be appropriate to their sector, experience and related to the SCT.
– Headteachers should ensure that CTs are allowed to link their CT modular work with their annual 35 hour CPD activities.
– The Scottish Government should take steps to routinely capture information on the impact of CTs in school. This should cover impact in its broadest possible terms and include the views of colleagues, pupils and parents.
– A teacher who embarks on the CT scheme should inform their Headteacher of this.
– CTs and those working towards CT status should ensure that their portfolio is benchmarked against the SCT for the purposes of the PRD process.
– Local authorities should ensure that locally agreed procedures are in place to ensue that schools monitor, as with all teachers, that their CTs are continuing to meet the SCT.
– The GTCS should close access to the accreditation route in 2008 as originally planned but also ensure that arrangements are put in place to assess those participants currently on the route within a stated timescale.

Obviously, there’s a lot in here – too much for little old me to digest! One aspect that does catch my eye however is the recommendation that the entry criteria be strengthened to include “a CPD portfolio, which itself must include robust, validated evidence of good classroom practice.” I appreciate that this has come from the variety of portfolios reaching the GTCS, but in many ways isn’t this the point of module 1? I do hope that this doesn’t go too far. Yes, you should be a good teacher prior to embarking on the course – but why would I be paying hundreds of pounds to learn how to gather robust and valid evidence if I already knew how to do this!?!

Ms Hyslop’s reaction is of much more consequence than my own. She expressed “frustration and disappointment” with the report and is pushing for senior colleague endorsement for entry to the programme. She also states that CTs should regard their status as a “school-wide” resource, not purely a personal accomplishment. I’m not sure what the outcome of the first of these suggestions would be. Would they merely check/validate that you are a “good teacher”? Or would they form some sort of quasi-selection process? If so, would I have been allowed to embark on this? By what criteria could someone bar you entry to this self-funded Masters programme??

I find the second of these most perplexing. By the very nature of the Masters programme, one must become a school-wide resource. This is partly due to the standards themselves, which require a contribution to the whole school. But this is also driven by the nature of the course work and discussions which follow from it. Since starting the course I have been extremely motivated to become a school-wide resource, and I’ve not earned one penny extra for my efforts yet. And before you say it, I am not alone. I have yet to meet a CT or someone working towards CT status who sits in their classroom with a smug smile of satisfaction on their face. That is not the nature of the people who fork out both the time and money to complete the course or in the nature of the course itself.

Obviously, these opinions stem from my own limited experience. Please feel free to correct/enlighten me…

Target Literacy Conference


I attended the East Lothian Target Conference this morning in Musselburgh. We were there to discuss the nature of literacy and consider what we already do, and could do, to target literacy in East Lothian. There were lots of outcomes from this morning.

Firstly, we got to hear from Matthew Fitt, the author working with Itchy Coo. It was great to hear Matthew speak with passion about the Scots language – although a little uncomfortable to be up pointing to ma ned and gieing ma bahookie a slap! Hard not to join in when there are so many enthusiastic primary school teachers in the room!! As an outsider I’m quite fascinated by the Scots language and love learning the words. For example, I was totally flummoxed when a pupil asked me recently if the graph I was asking him to draw should be muckle.

The rest of the morning was spent in groups discussing what it means to literate and what we can do to promote literacy. This was fascinating on two counts. I discovered that literacy is not as simple a term as it first appears. Is it simply the ability to read and write? Or does it also encompass one’s ability to communicate orally? Does reading body language count? What about emotional literacy? In addition to the discussion, it was also really interesting to speak to people who work in other sectors. As well as us teachery folk there were also NHS staff, police, QIOs, outreach, librarians, parents and a pupil (brave child)! The opportunity to meet and discuss issues with colleagues and stakeholders from other sectors must have been on many peoples’ evaluations at the end of the day, I know it was on mine.

On a different note, my mind was also slightly preoccupied today with the notion that what we are trying to do here has so many similarities to what was going on in the Caprivi Region of Namibia when we were there. Literacy is their greatest challenge to learning and so many of the comments really resonated with my experiences of working there on behalf of VSO. I made a list of the similarities:
– The literacy levels of parents is key to the success of the pupils
– There are many barriers between us as professionals and those parents most in need of support, and it is very difficult to engage those most vulnerable.
– One of these barriers is childcare. Parents here struggle to attend training as they have other children to look after, just like in Namibia.
– Getting the community to actively engage in the life of the school is challenging, and becomes more so as pupils move up through the years to High School.
– And on the notion of language, Caprivians are desperately trying to ensure that all lessons are taught in English as opposed to their various mother tongues. Meanwhile Matthew is busy championing the return of the Scots’ mother tongue to the classroom. A lesson for the future for the Caprivians I think.

I know in many ways it shouldn’t surprise me that we are all so similar, but for some reason it does.