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Language and Education Network seminar with Steven Kurowski (University of Exeter)

Professionalism by Whose Model?

Professionalism and Professionalisation of TESOL and TESOL Teachers Through Autonomy or Accountability

Event details

Professionalism is as well-defined colloquially—as “how-to”—as it is sociologically though a public (i.e.: field) discourse which seems to have moved on from the sociological dialog existentializing professionalism to recognizing the term as a political construct.  Advantages are accrued to those considered to be on the certified end of the spectrum of professionalism based upon a professional ethos.  While many consider TESOL to be a professional field and the TESOL literature exploits the language of professionalism to shift through the spectrum, assuming professionalism by virtue of the emic perception of the work may be, ethically speaking, inexpedient, leading to a generalized assumption of status, autonomy, and ethics, but more specifically to a managerialized form of these determined by individual employment contexts. This small-scale interpretive study explores how eight TESOL teachers originating from multiple contexts substantiate a managerialized form of professionalism as they did not provide examples of how they employ authentic autonomy in their practice, though other important elements such as rigorous training and qualifications were evidenced.  Participant autonomy is prescripted and controlled from management and government intervention showing instead a de-professionalisation of teaching in general and TESOL teaching in particular.  While TESOL can safely be said to be professionalizing, moving through a sense of itself as a non-profession, it is important for the profession to develop not only the stomach but also the teeth of professionalism if TESOL “professionals” are to lose their quotation marks to become professionals in the authentic sense.

Steven Kurowski is a lecturer at A’Sharqiyah University in Ibra, Oman.  He holds a Master’s degree in Applied Linguistics from the University of Birmingham (UK), and is a PhD candidate in the University of Exeter’s Education doctorate program (TESOL).  Spanning over a decade, his career has taken him to Asia, French Canada, and the Middle East.  He has taught in institutions, universities, and within corporate and online settings.  Steven has been a materials developer, a voice performer for listening dialogues, and a television teacher.  His interests include educational technology for language learning and drama as a medium for language learning.



Baring Court 112