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DR CHRISTINE COOMBE DUBAI MEN’S COLLEGE TESOL PRESIDENT (2010-2013) Professionalizing Your English Language Teaching.

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Presentation on theme: "DR CHRISTINE COOMBE DUBAI MEN’S COLLEGE TESOL PRESIDENT (2010-2013) Professionalizing Your English Language Teaching."— Presentation transcript:

1 DR CHRISTINE COOMBE DUBAI MEN’S COLLEGE TESOL PRESIDENT ( ) Professionalizing Your English Language Teaching

2 Agenda What is a profession? What does it mean to be a professional? Contributing elements to teacher professionalism Myths associated with professionalism Characteristics of professionalism General strategies for improving your professionalism Field-specific strategies for improving your professionalism Challenges to becoming a professional

3 Definitions of terms Profession:  a distinct category of occupational work Professionalization:  a process in which a professional group pursues, develops, acquires and maintains more characteristics of a profession Professionalism:  the conduct, demeanor and standards which guide the work of professionals

4 What is a profession? The Oxford English Dictionary defines a profession as “a paid occupation, especially one that involves prolonged training and a formal qualification” and in its definition of a professional, the dictionary uses the words “competent, skillful, or assured”.

5 What defines a true teaching professional? Puts customer or student satisfaction first Has expert and specialized knowledge in teaching Exhibits excellent practical/communication skills Does high quality work, even more than is expected Demonstrates high standards of professional ethics (behavior & activities) Shares knowledge and expertise Praises peers not themselves Has a positive attitude even during tough times

6 What it means to be professional? Being professional means being an expert. Professionals have a commitment that is deeply personal. In daily practice, professionals are results centered, internally directed, other focused and externally open. (Bowman, 2012) Dedicated to professional development both for themselves and for those people who are affected by their work. Associated adjectives: trustworthy, reliable, dedicated and committed Are reflective.

7 Research on professionalism Teaching experience is not related to professionalism Amount of PD attended was found to be an important variable Academic qualifications were not related to professionalism Those with higher professional qualifications were found to possess a (perceived) higher degree of professionalism  Keng, Hoong & Aun, (2008)

8 Contributing elements to professionalism Knowledge (Snoek, 2009)  Thorough knowledge of the subject  Thorough knowledge of the teaching & learning process  Thorough knowledge of society  Knowledge of policy and organization in education Skills  Able to communicate and discuss educational issues  Able to account the quality of work to the outside world  Able to conduct research within schools  Able to contribute to collaborative learning of professional communities  Able to translate outcomes of educational research to innovations in the classroom/school

9 Contributing elements of professionalism Attitudes:  Dedication to student learning  Committed to the profession and the collective group of professionals  Willing to contribute to the collective knowledge of the profession  Committed to the ethical code of the profession and the integrity of his/her work  Willing to account the quality of work to the outside world  Focused on continuous professional development  Focus on improvement and innovation of teaching

10 Myths associated with professionalism Professionals work for big companies/organizations/institutions. Professionals have senior titles. Professionals know everything. Professionals lack manners.

11 Behaviors of professionals Professionals solve more problems than they create. Conveying hardship on others doesn’t convey importance; it  wastes times;  creates inefficiency;  diminishes overall importance. A true professional works to bring up the level of those around him, not diminish colleagues in order to feel better by comparison.

12 General characteristics of professionalism (Joseph, 2012) Appearance  A professional is neat in appearance and should meet or even exceed the requirements of your organization’s dress code. Demeanor  should exude confidence but not cockiness; be polite and well- spoken when dealing with others; keep calm, even under tense situations. Reliability  Respond to others promptly; follow through on promises in a timely manner

13 General characteristics of professionalism 2 Competence  strive to become an expert in their field; continue their education; attend seminars; attain any related professional designations. Ethics  Teachers/teacher trainers should display ethical behavior at all times Poise  maintain their poise even when facing a difficult situation; never resort to the same type of behavior.

14 General characteristics of professionalism 3 Phone/written correspondence/social media etiquette  What are your views on self-disclosure? Organizational skills  Professionals can quickly and easily find what is needed.  Their work area should be neat and organized, and their briefcase should contain only what is needed for the job at hand.

15 General characteristics of professionalism 4 Accountability  Be accountable for their actions at all times. If they make a mistake, they own up to it and try to fix it if possible. Don’t try to place the blame on others. Vocabulary  It isn’t the use of big words, it’s the use of the right words  Professionals can convey their intended message in a way others understand.

16 General characteristics of professionalism 5 Attitude  A positive attitude greatly increases the chances of success Mind set  Need to be able to focus on the task at hand, to see the whole picture as well as the bit parts Obstacles  Most people think the biggest obstacles for being a professional are money and education. In reality, the biggest obstacles are learning to see ourselves as professionals

17 Behaviors of effective teachers and teacher trainers Are lifelong learners  Further their education  Seek out/take advantage of PD opportunities Are reflective Keep up-to-date in the profession  Read professional journals Are professional citizens  Belong to professional associations  TESOL International or IATEFL; TESOL Arabia & TELLSI  Within their area of specialization (ILTA)

18 Behaviors of effective teachers and teacher trainers Engage in professional activities  Present at conferences  Do research  Take on volunteer & paid leadership positions  Organize PD events  Publish their work  Mentor other professionals Plan their life and careers strategically

19 Recommendations for improving your professionalism 1 Start with yourself  Self-knowledge is the beginning of self improvement (Spanish proverb)  Know Thyself. (Temple at Delphi)  Conduct a critical self-evaluation or SWOT analysis Look for tools to help you be more efficient Seek out individuals who can help you achieve your goals (i.e, your personal ‘Board of Directors’ or an ‘accountability buddy’)

20 Recommendations for improving your professionalism 2 Take advantage of every opportunity.  Opportunity doesn’t knock just once, it knocks all the time. Most of us, however, do not recognize the sound. Ask questions.  Talk to successful people to find out their secret to success.  The quality of the info you receive will depend on the quality of the questions you ask.  A conversation can lead to a relationship (mentor-mentee) and this relationship can produce amazing results

21 Recommendations for improving your professionalism 3 Invest in yourself.  Two-way street; know where to spend your $$ and when to pass on financial opportunities Take advantage of PD opportunities.  Be selective Find strategies to improve your time management. Work towards being a mentor.  Start with a two-directional peer mentoring experience

22 Recommendations for improving your professionalism 4 Share your knowledge and skills.  He who wants to be a leader. Let him be a bridge. (Arabic saying) Take on leadership positions.  Teaching is a flat profession.  Sometimes unpaid leadership positions are the best PD opportunities. Know when to be out in front and when to lead from behind. Put customer satisfaction first.  Cornerstone of successful business practice.

23 Challenges of being a professional Work/life balance Lack of resources (i.e, equipment, books, $$$, internet access etc) Time management Lack of information Bad attitude Workload (often unpaid)

24 The way forward……. Are there other strategies that you can recommend? What can we do to overcome the challenges? What is your action plan towards improving your professionalism?  Next month  A year  2 to 3 years

25 Closing thoughts…. A professional teaching qualification does not make you a professional. Success in anything doesn’t happen without a strategic plan in place. Successful teacher trainers need to first be highly- effective teachers. Only then can they be the role models/mentors they need to be.

26 Presenter contact Dr Christine Coombe Add me on Facebook Follow me on Twitter


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