Source: Teachers and Teaching: theory and practice, Vol. 16, No. 4, August 2010, p. 437-459.
(Reviewed by the Portal Team)
The purpose of this study is to describe the extent to which elementary teaching in Turkey exhibits the characteristics of a profession. This study focuses on two questions:
(1) How professionalized is the elementary teaching occupation in Turkey?
(2) Do teachers, principals, supervisors, and university professors share a consensus on the current state of elementary teaching as a profession in Turkey?
Evidence was drawn primarily from a Delphi methodology.
It consisted of three rounds of questions designed to achieve consensus across several groups such as faculty members from colleges of education, elementary teachers, elementary principals, and elementary supervisors.
Selection of the panel groups
Four groups of participants were selected.
Specifically (1) the first group was composed of 35 faculty members of the colleges of education, identified in their resumes as teachers of courses related to general pedagogical knowledge or educational researchers.
(2) The second group was composed of 35 highly successful elementary school principals selected with the help of elementary supervisors.
(3) The third group was composed of 35 elementary school supervisors whose names were provided by the elementary school supervisors’ union.
(4) The fourth group included 35 elementary school teachers whose names were provided by the faculty members, the principals, and the supervisors.
It is concluded from this study that, on the basis of the criteria used in this study, teaching does not qualify fully as a profession.
According to the expert panel that participated in this study, elementary teaching met only two of the 11 characteristics analyzed and failed to meet four.
The participants agreed that advanced university training and professional organizations are the key factors to the professionalization of elementary teaching in Turkey.
In addition, the absence of an effective pre-service teacher training at the universities negatively affects the use of specialized knowledge for teaching.
All of these policies contribute to the low pay, low status, and low levels of specialization in teaching. Ineffective teacher organizations, on the other hand, contribute, through their lack of a code of ethics, poor in-service training and induction, and also low compensation.
This situation calls for the professionalization of elementary teaching in Turkey.
It can be stated that the degree to which elementary teaching advances as a profession will greatly influence the quality of school education. The universities, the ministry of education, and the teacher organizations should combine their efforts in the design of a common action plan.