What does a job with high visibility mean

Profession, professionalism, professionalism, professionalism - historical and systematic remarks using the example of German teacher training

What professionalization means has to be clarified in relation to the terms profession, professionality and professionalism. Is it about an occupation becoming a profession or about the individual development of professionality or about the formation of a professional identity? These questions are discussed systematically from the point of view of general educational science, complemented by a historical view of the development of teacher education and training in Germany. It is no surprise that the conceptualization of professionalization is contested. Against this background the importance of a clear conceptual basis is emphasized both for national and especially for international-comparative research.

What is meant by professionalization needs to be clarified in the context of the concepts of profession, professionalism and professionalism. Is it about becoming a profession, about the individual development of professionalism or about the development of a professional identity? These questions are discussed from a general educational perspective and with a view to the development of teacher training in Germany. It is not surprising that the respective conceptualizations of professionalization lead to different results. Against this background, the importance of a clear conceptual basis both in the national and especially in the international comparative context is emphasized.

The terms profession, professionalism, professionalism and professionalism denote various issues within a conceptual field. In the first part of my contribution, the terms mentioned are discussed in context, before I give a very brief overview of the history of teacher training in Germany in the second part, which in spite of its brevity does address some of the problems that arise when using the above. Terms related to the teaching profession should make it understandable. I will go into this in more detail in the third part of the article, which is under the question of whether the talk of the profession etc. does not cover up more than it offers possibilities.

1. Definition of terms

First of all, before the terms mentioned are discussed in detail, it should be pointed out that there are differences between the Anglo-American and the continental European tradition, both in terms of professional history and, depending on this, in terms of the terms in this field. Even if some good arguments have recently been made that the distinction between these two language worlds is becoming less important due to internationalization processes and an emerging managerial thinking, "historical accounts" should continue to refer to this distinction (Evetts 2012, 1) traditional differences not to blur.

In the occupational-sociological tradition, the term profession is used to distinguish certain professions from other professions on the basis of certain criteria. Professions are therefore characterized as "the knowledgebased category of occupations which usually follow a period of tertiary education and vocational training and experience" (Evetts 2003, 397). They are related to specific functions and needs and offer services for individuals and society based on specific knowledge and a specific “repertoire of behaviors and skills” (Howsam et al. 1976, 6). Professions have their own organizations, follow their own rules of conduct, are autonomous from the state and clientele, etc. (Tenorth 1977, 458 ff .; Lundgreen 2011, 9).

In this context, the term professionalization describes the process within which a profession becomes a profession. The question then is whether a profession fulfills the above criteria and can therefore be called a profession. In relation to the teaching profession and other pedagogical professions, this question was discussed intensively for a long time, not only in Germany. The discussion led to the result that pedagogical professions do not fully meet the criteria mentioned, i.e. cannot be called professions, but merely semi-professions, because, as Amitai Etzioni stated, “[t] heir training is shorter, their status is less legitimated, their right to privileged communication less established, there is less of a specialized body of knowledge, and they have less autonomy from supervision or societal control than 'the' professions ”(Etzioni 1969, V).

The sharp distinction between the Anglo-American and the continental European tradition of defining professions as opposed to other professions is, as already mentioned above, on the decline and is being replaced by a new understanding of profession: "A different way of categorizing [... ] is to see professions as the structural, occupational and institutional arrangements for dealing with work associated with the uncertainties of modern lives in risk societies. Professionals are extensively engaged in dealing with risk, with risk assessment and, through the use of expert knowledge, enabling customers and clients to deal with uncertainty "(Evetts 2003, 397). Since there is no question that risks and side effects as well as uncertainty are also constitutive for the educational field, it now seems natural that professions in this field can be described as professions, even if they do not meet the traditional criteria for professions.

Against this background, professionalization of pedagogical activity means the development towards professionalism in the area of ​​professional activity, i.e. it is not aimed at becoming a profession, but rather at the individual becoming professional of the occupation owner or at the development of professionalism. Professionalization can refer to both a collective (becoming a professional) and an individual (becoming professional) development (Nittel 2011, 44).

If there is a strong similarity between the two worlds of discourse, it looks different when it comes to professionalism. In English, unlike in German, “professionality” is hardly used and the expression “professionalism” is found much more frequently, which in turn is translated into German as “professionalism”. However, this translation appears imprecise, because the term professionalism primarily refers to the structural and collective characteristics of profession and is used more as an ideological-normative term (Evans 2008), which refers to the "occupational value of professionalism" (Evetts 2014, 36) which in turn tends to become a value in itself in the dispute about “salary, status and power as well as the monopoly protection of an occupational jurisdiction” (ibid., 37). This understanding of professionalism seems to be contained in the German word professionalism on the one hand - as an ascription to the totality of the members of a profession, who are all professionals and whose collective practice can be described as professional, regardless of the quality of this practice. On the other hand, professionalism in a narrower sense refers to precisely this quality of the exercise and fulfillment of professional occupational tasks by the professional owner. We can ask whether they act professionally, which is why it seems appropriate to use the word professionality in English alongside the expression professionalism when referring to “knowledge, skills and procedures that teachers use” (Evans 2008, 8 f.) On the other hand, to introduce the term professionalism in German when the self-image of the professional group as a whole is discussed.

In summary, it can be stated that the term profession either addresses the profession as a whole or the professional practice of the individual professional owners. Professionalization accordingly refers on the one hand to the profession as a whole (becoming a profession), on the other hand to the processes of developing professionalism. Finally, professionalism is tied to practice and describes a specific quality of professional action, while professionalism describes the self-image associated with it.

If one follows Linda Evans, one can point out two poles of a professional continuum in the area of ​​teacher action: a “restricted model” that focuses on “experience and intuition” and an “extended model” that focuses on theory and “the adoption of a generally intellectual and rationally-based approach to the job ”(Evans 2008, 8 f.). The individual teacher places himself within this continuum. In another perspective, however, action that is situated close to the first-mentioned pole could be described as non-professional, while action, which is situated close to the second pole, could be described as professional without excluding it wanting experience and intuition to play an important role. But above all, it seems important to me to clarify how experience and intuition interact with theory and knowledge.

In Germany, two approaches in particular are being discussed in this context: the competency-theoretical and the structural-theoretical (Nittel 2011; Terhart 2011). The competency-theoretical approach assumes that it is possible to theoretically and empirically analyze the tasks that have to be completed in the field of action and to develop competencies and knowledge that are necessary for these tasks. In this regard, a teacher is professional "if he has the highest possible or developed competencies and skills in the various requirement areas (teaching and educating, diagnosing, assessing and advising, individual further training and collegial school development; ability to self-regulate in dealing with work-related stress, etc.) has appropriate attitudes, which are summarized by the term 'professional action competencies'. "(Terhart 2011, 207)

In contrast, the structural theoretical approach emphasizes the moment of uncertainty in the action situation caused by contradicting requirements and structural antinomies (including closeness vs. distance, student orientation vs. factual orientation, interaction vs. organization, autonomy vs. heteronomy). Here “professionalism is shown in the ability to properly handle the multiple tensions and the aforementioned antinomies. Competent, reflective handling of insecurity and indeterminacy that cannot be eliminated, but which can nevertheless be dealt with daily and in fact somehow somehow, become the core of educational professionalism in the structural-theoretical approach. "(Ibid., 206)

Both approaches represent the above-mentioned poles in a certain way: If professionalism always tends to be at risk according to the structural theory approach, the question must be asked why such a long training at universities is necessary when the practice depends to a large extent on experience, intuition or personal judgment . From a competence theoretical point of view, on the other hand, it is questionable whether the promised findings from research are so clear that one can actually derive instructions for professional practice from them, which one only has to appropriately acquire in training in order to be able to act professionally - especially as well here a certain “situational uncertainty” is not denied and a causal schematization of action and effect should not be assumed.

However, the combination of these two approaches may create a perspective. "Professionalism represents a fleeting aggregate state of professionalism - a state that must be created and maintained interactively and that requires a high degree of reflexivity and the ability to justify on the part of the service provider." (Nittel 2011, 48). Knowledge and situational, context-sensitive and appropriate action (Lorenz and Schwarz, 2014, 414) must come together in order to be able to characterize educational action as professional action. In a certain way, this consideration leads back to an ancestor of pedagogical thinking, namely to Johann Friedrich Herbart, who coined the classic expression “pedagogical tact” (Herbart 1802/1997). The pedagogical tact acts as a link between theory and knowledge on the one hand and action on the other. Because theoretical knowledge (or the results of empirical research) can never fully grasp the specific individual case, practitioners need practical experience in addition to theoretical knowledge in order to be able to develop this tact that enables them to reflect on the general knowledge on the case relate to act professionally. According to Herbart, you can only develop the rhythm in practice, but only if you have previously acquired the appropriate scientific knowledge.

In this sense, professionalization is a process that can only be fully seen from a professional biography perspective, because neither the initial training (knowledge) nor the activity (experience) alone are sufficient, but only their combination enables the development of professionalism (Terhart 2011 , 208 ff.).

2. (Very) brief outline of the history of teacher training in Germany

The emergence and development of the teaching profession in Germany can only be understood against the background of the development of the modern school system. The teaching profession was constituted at the turn of the 18th and 19th centuries and is associated with the introduction of examination regulations, access restrictions and the establishment of specific training institutions and courses. This new profession emerged roughly in parallel in the two sharply separated areas of higher (grammar schools) and lower schools (elementary school and elementary school until the 1960s, since then Hauptschule). The development of these two separate teacher groups proceeded quite differently well into the 20th century, which is why they are each presented separately in the following (as a basis see Bölling 1983; Keiner and Tenorth 1981; Führ 1985; Horn 2002; Horn 2008; Kemnitz 2014; as a basis, see also Bölling 1983; Keiner and Tenorth 1981; Führ 1985; Horn 2002; Horn 2008; Kemnitz 2014; Kluchert 2014).

a) high school teacher

Since the beginning of the 19th century, future teachers at grammar schools had to prove a university education. In Prussia, the “examen pro facultate docendi” was introduced as a state exam in 1810, during which trial lessons had to be held without the candidates having previously heard educational lectures at the university. From 1831, the Prussian examination regulations provided for an examination in philosophy and education. In 1898 an examination in pedagogy became part of the general final examination at the end of the course - a regulation that was withdrawn in 1917: pedagogy was again relegated to a mere minor subject. Until the 1960s, students who wanted to become high school teachers only had to attend a few pedagogical lectures, which they could at times replace entirely with lectures in philosophy. At the beginning of the 1970s, pedagogical lectures only made up a very small proportion of the degree (around one hour per week on average) and a university examination in pedagogy only took place in a few federal states (e.g. in Hamburg).

Since then, the picture has changed insofar as the number of pedagogical lectures and seminars to be completed has grown, with their share of the overall degree rarely exceeding the 20% mark - the lion's share of the degree is still made up today by the specialist degree.

For a long time, pedagogical and didactic content was only or primarily in the practical training phase in the pedagogical seminars resp. Study seminars mediated. In 1826 a year of probation at a school became compulsory, in 1890 the compulsory attendance of a study seminar was added, during which the future high school teachers were obliged to complete courses in teaching methods, high school pedagogy and didactics as well as to hold practice lessons in the school. This second phase of teacher training (legal clerkship) was subsequently extended to two years and is still a central location for teacher training today.

b) Elementary / elementary school teachers, secondary school teachers

As with high school teachers, the first independent training institutes were established for the training of teachers in elementary schools at the beginning of the 19th century. However, these non-academic institutes - teacher seminars in Prussia, normal schools in Bavaria, etc. - were not part of the higher, but part of the lower school system. The focus here was on the repetition of the curriculum of the elementary schools that the teacher training candidates had previously attended, supplemented by pedagogical and didactic content that gained greater importance in the course of the 19th century. In addition, the candidate teachers had to sit in on class and teach themselves, with the latter being observed and assessed by their seminar teachers.It was not until the Weimar Constitution of 1919, as a result of which the Abitur became a prerequisite for starting elementary school teacher training, that education for the teaching post at elementary schools was upgraded and became part of the higher education system (tertiarization). In some Länder, however, the existing institutes were retained (e.g. Bavaria, Württemberg), in some others the earlier institutes were converted into academies (e.g. Baden, Prussia), and in some of the Länder the former teacher training institutions were dissolved and relocated training to universities (e.g. Braunschweig, Hamburg, Hessen, Mecklenburg). Between 1933 and 1945 the tertiarization and academization were gradually withdrawn, so that in 1945 the situation was again as it was before 1919.

In the Federal Republic of Germany, the federal states initially took different paths, but in the 1950s all federal states returned to tertiary, academic teacher training for elementary school teachers, with Hamburg acting as a pioneer, where elementary school teacher training was re-affiliated to the university as early as 1947. The 1950s then saw the beginning of the dissolution of the training of elementary and secondary school teachers, which was separated from the universities and which, with the exception of Rhineland-Palatinate (only in 1990), was completed at the end of the 1970s. Only in Baden-Württemberg do there still exist pedagogical universities for the training of future primary, secondary and secondary school teachers.

For a very long period of time, primary school teacher training in Germany was based on the master craftsman model, i.e. H. the future teachers learned to teach by observing experienced teachers. The theoretical-pedagogical parts of the training increased over the decades, but without changing the high regard for the practical training. Only with the tertiarization and academization in the 1920s and the integration into the universities since the 1950s did the theoretical-pedagogical side of the training reach a significant extent. Although today (with the exception of Baden-Württemberg) all future teachers are studying at universities, not only are the proportions of pedagogical and (subject) didactic studies different in the various training courses, but also the number and scope of internships vary significantly. All in all, the pedagogical components of the degree rarely exceed 25% of the total scope of the degree.

Differences have also been demonstrated with regard to the self-image of teachers, which seem to be specific to the school type: For the professionalization of grammar school teachers, a knowledge that led to a fundamentally professional self-image became decisive with the scientific and subject-related training (Schubring 1991). In contrast, a traditionally more pedagogical (self) attribution is documented for the lower teachers. This is reflected, for example, in setting different priorities in various teacher training courses for future high school teachers or primary / secondary / secondary school teachers.

3. Teaching profession and professional teachers?

The history of teacher training in Germany is definitely marked by reforms - tertiarisation, academisation, scientificisation - which speak in favor of professionalisation, at least if one looks at the structural side of professionalisation. Assuming that a profession is a special occupation that has to deal with "the uncertainties of modern lives in risk societies [...] with risk, with risk assessment" in order to enable customers and clients to "deal with uncertainty" ( Evetts 2003, 397), we can describe educational professions as professions and pedagogical practitioners as professionals (in the sense of: members of a profession). However, this does not automatically mean that all professionals act professionally in the narrower sense. If professionalism describes a certain quality of pedagogical action, a distinction can therefore be made between professionals who act professionally and professionals who act non-professionally. A condition for becoming a professional is scientific training, in our case well-founded educational training. But this scientific training alone is not sufficient. It must be supplemented by practical experience, but also by a practice that is based on an educational science education, which creates the opportunity to gain experience - and not just impressions or experiences.

In view of the history of teacher training in Germany, however, it seems rather questionable whether we can regard teachers as professionalized, because for a long time there was on the one hand a science-remote and primarily practical training for future elementary school teachers and on the other hand a scientific, but especially focused on Subject-related (content knowledge in the sense of v. Shulman 1986) and non-pedagogical training for future high school teachers. And even if the share of general pedagogical knowledge and pedagogical content knowledge is a larger share than it was thirty years ago, it remains far from making up the main share. It therefore hardly seems appropriate to speak of a professionalization of teachers.

In addition, internships are usually rated higher by student teachers than lectures and seminars, because they supposedly convey experiences that are necessary in order to be able to survive as teachers later on. On closer inspection, however, internships often turn out to be a hindrance to experience, because students tend to teach like their mentors, forgetting what they have learned or could have learned beforehand during their studies. However, they often do not have experiences (in the sense of Herbart), but only pseudo-experiences. In the second phase of the training, this phenomenon is reinforced when schematic lesson preparations are presented according to the specifications of the seminar lecturers and reflections on lessons take place at the level of everyday observation and language without reference to general pedagogical knowledge, which virtually prevents professionalization and rather one Support the tendency towards deprofessionalization (Kunze 2014).

However, if professionalization is viewed as a process that continues after the degree and the second phase, then a professional and biographical perspective seems to be central. Not only the university studies should therefore be considered, and also not only the second phase, but also the experiences and attitudes that teacher training candidates had or developed before their studies (Cramer 2011), but also and above all the professional activity itself should be more in guessed the look. However, we should also remember that schemata, routines and traditions of educational action have always played a major role and perhaps lead to constancy rather than changes in action once acquired - not only in the past (Cuban 1993), but also in Future.

The professionalization of religious education teachers is on the one hand part of the general professionalization of the teaching profession. Here we have to differentiate between three levels: 1) professionalization in the sense of becoming a profession, 2) professionalization as the development of professionalism in order to be able to act professionally as a teacher, 3) professionalization as the expression of a professional identity, which I mentioned above under the keyword professionalism have developed. On the other hand, there seems to be an additional strong challenge with regard to religion teachers: the connection of the various dimensions of professional competence (content knowledge, general pedagogical knowledge, pedagogical content knowledge) with faith and vocation as special features of religion teachers. If the professionalization of the teaching body as a whole is a never-ending process, then this seems to be even more important for religious teachers because of this specificity.

Annotation: The English version of the article was published in: Peter Horn (2016), Profession, professionalisation, professionality, professionalism - historical and systematic remarks using the example of German teacher education, British Journal of Religious Education, 38: 2, 130--140, DOI: 10.1080 / 01416200.2016.1139888, © Christian Education, reprinted by permission of Taylor & Francis Ltd, www.tandfonline.com on behalf of Christian Education.


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Published online: 2016-6-1
In print: 2016-6-1

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