|dc.description.abstract||Teachers are not just teachers. They are also people. In straddling issues of both professional
and personal identity, this module comes to grips with the professional choices teachers are
required to make, and do make, in developing the knowledge, skills and values of learners.
This module is suitable for both inducting novice teachers into the role of the teacher and for
in-service programmes in which practising teachers could valuably compare their own experiences
with this systematic overview of the role of a teacher and teaching as a profession. The
contextual setting in South Africa is readily adaptable to other settings: the core issues are the
The different sections in this module present a coherent progression. However, the seven
sections are downloadable as individual units.
1. Section One: Introducing the module
This section argues the case for studying what ‘being a teacher’ means in relation to national
needs and those of individual learners, and explains how the writers intended the module to
2. Section Two: Being a teacher in South Africa
This section is not as strongly rooted in South Africa as its title suggests. It addresses the basic
question of what it means to be a teacher in a broader social setting.
3. Section Three: Teaching as a profession
The meaning and implications of teachers’ professional responsibilities are developed and
extended through comparison with other professions.
4. Section Four: The teacher’s authority: sustaining an effective learning environment
The issue of an orderly learning environment (involving rules, discipline and punishment) is
explored in relation to broader issues of individual rights and freedom in a democracy.
5. Section Five: The teacher as knowledge-worker
Should teachers be imparting content knowledge or playing the role of a facilitator in a more
learner-centred approach? This fundamental question – which may not have an either / or
answer – links well the module ‘Learners and Learning’.
6. Section Six: Teachers, values and society
Nothing in teaching is free of social dimensions and value questions. Teaching can therefore
not be ‘neutral’, and teachers cannot sidestep the issue of their role in relation to sets of
values. This section explores the role of the teacher in exercising and encouraging particular
7. Section Seven: Making a difference
What essential qualities do teachers (and schools) need in order to ‘make a difference’? This
section provides a platform for teacher agency and reflective practice.||en