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Nature of teaching as a profession

In its broadest sense, teaching is a process that facilitates learning. Teaching is the specialized application of knowledge, skills and attributes designed to provide unique service to meet the educational needs of the individual and of society. The choice of learning activities whereby the goals of education are realized in the school is the responsibility of the teaching profession.

In addition to providing students with learning opportunities to meet curriculum outcomes, teaching emphasizes the development of values and guides students in their social relationships. Teachers employ practices that develop positive self-concept in students. Although the work of teachers typically takes place in a classroom setting, the direct interaction between teacher and student is the single most important element in teaching.

The continued professionalization of teaching is a long-standing goal of the Alberta Teachers’ Association. The Association continues to work to advance teaching as a profession. Professionalism is a complex and elusive concept; it is dynamic and fluid. Six generally accepted criteria are used to define a profession. The teaching profession in Alberta fulfills those criteria in the following ways:

1. Its members have an organized body of knowledge that separates the group from all others. Teachers are equipped with such a body of knowledge, having an extensive background in the world and its culture and a set of teaching methods experientially derived through continuous research in all parts of the world.

2. It serves a great social purpose. Teachers carry responsibilities weighted with social purpose. Through a rigid and self-imposed adherence to the Code of Professional Conduct, which sets out their duties and responsibilities, teachers pass on their accumulated culture and assist each student under their care in achieving self-realization.

3. There is cooperation achieved through a professional organization. Cooperation plays an important role in the development of the teaching profession because it represents a banding together to achieve commonly desired purposes. The teaching profession has won its well-deserved place in the social order through continuous cooperation in research, professional preparation and strict adherence to the Code of Professional Conduct, which obligates every teacher to treat each student within a sacred trust. Teachers have control or influence over their own governance, socialization into teaching and research connected with their profession.

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Alberta Alberta Teachers Association Association


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