At what point do you, or could you ever be a ‘Professional’ along the lines of a Doctor, Lawyer, Dentist, Accountant or Architect?
1. Full time or part-time … on sabbatical, resting or training? But engaged or prepared to be re-engaged?
2. Member of an appropriate professional association, or two or three. Ideally one with a Royal Charter, or at least National, State, Government recognition.
3. A prescribed and scrutinised code of ethics that if one if found wanting could lead to legal action.
4. Graduated in a relevant subject … so subject matter expert or a technologist or both? In ‘old money’ what counts, a university degree or a diploma from a polytechnic? I ask because their are hints of class-like status seeking snobbery regarding the differentiation of occupations and professions. If you’re a teacher or tutor in e-learning and want Professional status go and train to be a certified Accountant or licensed Lawyer.
6. Compulsory CPD … but in the case of ICT-enabled learning what exactly? Do you need to be a) a qualified teacher b) an electronic-engineer ?
Based on Neal and Morgan (2000) and cited by tutor group colleague Nick Purkis in his forum entry on H808 Core Activity 5.2.
I think if you are a ‘portfolio worker,’ in my case with two (some would argue three ‘jobs’) then being ‘full-time’ is unnecessarily restrictive.
My GP works part-time so that she can spend more time with her family, this doesn’t make her any less professional. Similarly I know accountants and lawyers who choose to work ‘part-time,’ the key to sustaining their professionalisation and legitimacy to trade is the compulsory CPD, and in some cases renewing licenses. I haven’t directed anything in ten years on a professional basis, to say that I have become rusty is an understatement, perhaps if ‘video, TV or film production’ were a profession, even if we went back to the unionisation of that industry, I would have had to keep my hand in … and by default kept up skills and been employable and therefore by default professional … with a professional attitude. I don’t feel that two additional post-graduate courses, one full-time, make me any the more professional (or employable) in a fickle creative industry. You’re as good as your last piece of work and my last professional output was in 1999. (See YouTube under jj27vv for some examples).
The professionalisation of sport
As a keen swimmer I took my children to the pool, we eventually joined a swimming club and I became a poolside helper, then an assistant teacher, then qualified teacher and through various stages I am now a step away from achieving what is currently the highest ASA (Amateur Swimming Association) award as a UKCC/ASA ‘Senior Club Coach’ (Level 3). Each of these stages requires passing a course that is nationally recognised and monitored, UKCC stands for UK Coaching Certification. To be licensed I need to refresh attendance on a Child Protection Course every three years and have so many CPD points as a result of attending additional courses. I have only been ‘professional,’ in terms of taking payment, for the last three years. My interest in swimming includes involvement running a 1000+ member club and liaising with the ASA. A simple way to explain the mission of an association that has 200,000 members, is to be the ASA in name but the PSA in practice … i.e. the Professional Swimming Association. This has seen the introduction over the last five years of a series of actions at the club, coach and swimmer level that by all accounts replicate stages of accreditation and recognition that are akin to learning in primary, secondary and tertiary education, as well as business best practice. i.e. I have witnessed the ‘professionalisation’ of swimming in the UK. Its relevance here is to witness the professionalisation of e-learning, within, or aggregated to the ‘learning professions.’ On a personal level, only with a recognised Sports Science degree, i.e. the need for degree-level qualification, might I consider myself to have become a professional coach.
A final thought, I have found a way to bring a love of film-making and swimming together, see short-film ‘Nightswimming’ (on YouTube http://www.youtube.com/user/jj27vv#p/a/u/2/36PDOeVrKhE).
Indeed an interest in e-learning, swimming and video-production has had me out with professional crew and kit working poolside and with underwater cameras to capture swimmers in order to support the instruction of swimming teachers and coaches.