Pedagogical Knowledge and the Changing Nature of the Teaching Profession

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Highly qualified and competent teachers are fundamental for equitable and effective education systems. Teachers today are facing higher and more complex expectations to  help students reach their full potential and become valuable members of 21st century society. The nature and variety of these demands imply that teachers, more than ever before, must be professionals who make decisions based on a robust and updated knowledge base.

This publication presents research and ideas from multiple perspectives on pedagogical knowledge - the knowledge of teaching and learning - and the changing nature of the teaching profession. It provides a modern account of teachers’ professional competence, and how this relates to student learning. The report looks at knowledge dynamics in the teaching profession and investigates how teachers’ knowledge can be measured. It provides precious insights into 21st century demands on teacher knowledge.

This volume also offers a conceptual base for a future empirical study on teachers’ knowledge. It will be a useful resource for those interested in understanding the different factors underlying high quality teaching through examining and outlining the complexity of the teaching profession. In particular, this publication will be of interest to teacher educators, educational leaders, policy makers and the research community.


The teaching profession and its knowledge base

Centre for Educational Research and Innovation

This chapter outlines the context for investigating teacher knowledge by providing a brief overview of the teaching profession. First, we summarise some of the sociological literature on professions, including how professions have been conceptualised, what their main attributes are and how teaching is seen within these approaches. Second, we review the main factors that have exerted influence on the status of the teaching profession such as autonomy, governance, self-regulation and teacher education. These reflections prompt questions on teachers’ scientific knowledge base, their professional competence and how the two are related. Questions raised in this introduction provide the rationale for this publication: the need to derive evidence-informed suggestions for educational policy and future research by examining the current state of teachers’ pedagogical knowledge and implications for the instructional process.


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