The following bullet points list the views of the Senior Tutors regarding professionalism. There were speaking in the introductory podcast to the module ‘The E-learning Professional.’ (H808)
What does it mean to be a Professional (or simply professional)?
* Has been doing it for a long time or hasn’t.
* PhD vs. Undergraduate.
* Has put in the hours or hasn’t.
* Mature or not.
* Experienced or not yet.
* An established field vs. new field.
* Follows standards. vs. No standards followed.
* Part of a professional association. vs. not.
* Part of the UK Higher Education Academy or not.
* Part of a legitimate community or not.
* Committed or not.
* Respectful of learners or not.
* Licensed or not.
* Genuine vs. not.
* Recognised vs. unrecognised.
* Experienced vs. Inexperienced.
* Independent or not.
* Has a technical foundation or doesn’t.
* Takes time or doesn’t.
* Specialist (secretive) vs. Part of the mainstream.
* Enthusiast or not interested enough.
* The professional sports person vs. amateurs.
* Autonomous vs. dependent
* Independent vs. not objective or balanced.
* Part of such a trade association or not.
* Specialist vs. generalist.
* Part of something vs. an outsider.
* Formalised standards vs. none
* Monitored vs. Unmonitored
* Little ‘p’ pr big ‘P.’
To these I would add:
* A Professional had form whereas a non-professional does not.
* Self-taught or received a formal education (HE and beyond)?
I disagree with Gill Kirkup suggestion that only in an established field is something professional. I agree however, with Gill Kirkup’s views regarding ‘respect’.
I disagree with Robin Goodfellow’s view that a professional must be independent. Being Professional doesn’t mean you can’t also be biased or bigoted.
‘Big P, little p’ is an interesting idea.
Depending on how your measure up, by Chris Jones’s definition, you are either Big P or Little p. Is it the case that a practising lawyer is a Professional, while a painter and decorator can be professional? Is a good lawyer a professional Professional, while a good decorator is simple a professional painter?
The term ‘professional’ is an adjective and a noun.
Anyone can be described as ‘professional,’ (adjective) by dint of their behaviour and experience, however to be a ‘professional’, (noun), various criteria should be met.
Might a professional be defined as someone with ‘qualified confidence in their field?’
Professionals put in the time and effort, and follow rather than ignore guidelines for the community in which they operate. It matters that you are paid for something you are good at; being a Professional implies that you are paid.
A final thought
What’s a professional Professional? The opposite of an amateur Amateur.