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Journal of Education (University of KwaZulu-Natal)

On-line version ISSN 2520-9868
Print version ISSN 0259-479X


GAMBLE, Jeanne  and  HEWLETT, Lynn. In search of teacher professionalism: TVET teachers' "dual narrative" of professionalism. Journal of Education [online]. 2022, n.89, pp.122-145. ISSN 2520-9868.

Teachers in public sector technical and vocational education (TVET) colleges in South Africa have recently moved into the 'required to be professionally qualified' category. Required professionalism differs from enacted professionalism, so the research study on which we report in this article sought to understand how National Certificate (Vocational) (NC(V)) lecturers in Engineering Studies and Business Studies comply with, accommodate, or resist the institutionalised professional culture(s) of their colleges and classrooms. We gathered data through surveys and focus group interviews from 205 lecturers in 10 TVET colleges in five provinces for this study. We found a "dual narrative" of professionalism. NC(V) teachers aspire to a distinctive vocational pedagogy that confirms their status as professional TVET teachers, but it is beyond their reach when institutionalised professional cultures constrain rather than enable. They, therefore, describe the cultural milieu of college and classroom in terms of idealised educational values (as they would like them to be rather than as they are) to enable, potentially, an enacted professionalism that allows them to cope with restrictive and assessment-dominated professional cultures as currently experienced.

Keywords : professionalism; teacher qualifications; technical and vocational education; National Certificate (Vocational).

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