Study Concludes That Teaching Must Become More Complex If Social

The Developer, March 1995, National Staff Development Council

The way to improve the social standing of teachers and to attract able recruits to the profession is to make the work of teachers more complex, according to Brian Rowan writing in the August-September issue of Educational Researcher ("Comparing Teachers' Work with Work in Other Occupations: Notes on the Professional Status of Teaching".) To reach this conclusion Rowan compared teachers' work in the areas of data, people and things (the categories for analysis provided in The Dictionary of Occupational Titles) to the work of those involved in a number of professional, technical, and managerial occupations.

Rowan suggests that teachers' work can be made more complex if they have greater coordinating responsibilities in schools, mentor others within their schools, and are involved in creating new knowledge. "The creation of mentor teacher roles, the implementation of site-based management, and changes in school organization that allow teachers to have more personalized relationships with students all have the potential to make the work of teachers more complex," he writes. While Rowan concedes that current efforts to professionalize the occupation of teaching are aimed at the right target, he cautions that "Many of the observations just made suggest that the professional status of teaching cannot markedly change without fundamental (and controversial) changes in the larger system of education professions."