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Learning to be professional

Page history last edited by Anthea Wilson 12 years, 4 months ago

Wikipedia adopts an exclusive definition of a professional as someone who has been admited to and works in a recognisable profession who requires a large body of knowledge derived from extensive on the job training and tertiary academic study.


A 'true' professional must be proficient in the requirements for working in the field in which they are practising professionally. They must have (adapted from wikipeda):

  •  Relevant academic and perhaps also professional qualifications
  • Be competent and expert in the use of specialised knowledge in the field of professional practice
  • Possess excellent manual/practical and literary skills in relation to the requirements of the profession
  • Produce consistently high quality work in (examples): creations, products, services, presentations, consultancy, primary/other research, administrative, marketing or other work endeavours
  • Embody in their practice a high standard of professional ethics, behaviour and work activities while carrying out their work (as an employee, self-employed person, career, enterprise, business, company, or partnership/associate/ colleague, etc.) ‘


The exclusive definition of a professional, although easy to implement, restricts the use of the term to someone who is admitted into a recognisable profession. It excludes many people who do not work in a recognisable profession but who are required to think, plan, act, improvise and generally learn through working in complex problem working situations and who fullfil all or most of the criteria outined above.


In our conference we are searching for a broader meaning of what learning to be professional mean (whilst not excluding those disciplines that are linked to well recognised professional fields). We are adopting a conception of what being professional means that can be applied to many different work roles into which graduates progress. We are interested in how higher education prepares learners so that they develop the understandings, practical capabilities, dispositions and personal agency that will enable them to progress quickly into and be effective in their chosen professional role or to engage in further study or training relevant to their intended professional role.


Some questions - please add your own

  • What does 'learning to be professional' mean?
  • How do programmes in different disciplines convey what being professional means in a particular field?
  • How do learners develop their understandings of what being professional means?
  • What are the basic criteria/requirements to be professional in the career pathways chosen by learners on your progammes?
  • How do learners following 'para-professional' programmes (e.g. associate practitioners) present themselves as professional to people in established professional roles?


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