Teaching as a Professional Discipline

By Geoffrey Squires | Go to book overview
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Chapter 3

Analysing the Course

The model that will be set out in this and the next chapter did not emerge fully fledged from the conceptual analysis of professional disciplines in the previous chapter. As described in the Preface, it developed gradually out of a combination of such reading and thinking, and work with practitioners in the teaching and training fields over the last ten years or so. That work has been documented in a number of occasional and previous publications (Squires, 1982, 1988, 1990) and culminated in the publication of a comprehensive training package for use in courses and workshops (Squires, 1994). That package has been used quite widely by myself and others with a wide variety of groups, both in the UK and abroad, and has proved a very useful means of testing and refining the model in practice.

The way in which the model developed is hardly important here, but several points should be made because they may help to explain where it has come from and how it should be viewed. As pointed out in the Preface, my work has been in the fields of post-school education and training, and the model is likely to reflect, consciously or not, that provenance. The ways in which it may relate to the schools sector will therefore be specifically discussed at various points in this and the next chapter.

Secondly, the fact that I have had a foot in both the education and training camps has no doubt affected my approach. Like many educators, I think I brought a degree of prejudice to the training field when I first became involved in it, but I have learned a great deal from working with trainers and managers. The field of training has, I think, become much more interesting because work in a modern economy has itself become more complex and fluid, and contemporary training programmes are often a very long way from the drill-like stereotype that teachers (and educational philosophers) often had of them in the past.

Thirdly, my background in continuing education and my research on informal learning in particular (Gear, McIntosh and Squires, 1994) make me very aware of the fact that a great deal of self-directed and self-organized learning goes on outside the education and training systems altogether. This has perhaps made me view the main features of the educational system—institutions, curricula, teachers, examinations—with a certain provisionality, a certain detachment. Teaching has to be associated with learning, but learning does not always have to be associated with teaching. Behind much of what I say about teaching stands, as it were, the ghost of the autodidact.

Finally, it goes almost without saying that a model such as this should be treated as just that: a model. Whatever one may think about the various paradigms


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