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Teachers, Professional Status of

In various historical and societal contexts, teaching has been considered a profession—or not—as the result of a historical process in which teachers have experienced professionalization, deprofessionalization, or proletarianization. This entry discusses the professional status of teachers from functionalist and conflict perspectives.

Functionalist Perspective

From a functionalist perspective, professionalism is tied directly to a positive “social fact”: that there are professions (prototypically medicine and law), non-professions, and “semi-professions.” In this view, professionals are differentiated from workers in other occupations because they (a) perform an essential service or task; (b) engage in mental versus manual work; (c) function based on an ideal of service; (d) gain their expertise and values through extensive preservice education; (e) operate with autonomy in the workplace; (f) have colleagues (versus nonprofessionals) in control of ...

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