Foundations of Teaching for Learning 7: Being a Professional

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Course Date: 22 September 2014 to 03 November 2014 (6 weeks)

Price: free

Course Summary

This course will help you to consider what is expected of you as a member of the teaching profession. You will consider ethical behavior and the need to respect the laws and regulations governing teaching.

Estimated Workload: 4-6 hours/week

Course Instructors

Stephen Dinham

Stephen Dinham is Chair of Teacher Education and Director of Learning and Teaching at the University of Melbourne.  Prior to entering academia, he taught in government secondary schools in New South Wales.  He is a regular presenter at international, national and state conferences, and has conducted consultancies with a wide range of educational bodies nationally and internationally.  Stephen is the author of the acclaimed 2008 book How to Get Your School Moving and Improving, which provides insights on how teachers, teaching and schools affect student success. 

He is President of the Australian College of Educators and Chair of the ACE Board.  In 2011 Stephen received the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) for service to educational research and to professional associations.

John MacBeath

John MacBeath is Professor Emeritus at the University of Cambridge, UK where he held the Chair of Educational Leadership from 2000 to 2012. From 1997 to 2001 he was a member of the UK Government National Schools Standards Task Force. His consultancy work has included the OECD, UNESCO, the International Labour Organisation, the Bertelsmann Foundation, the European Commission and the Education Bureau in Hong Kong. More recently in his role as Project Director of the Centre for Commonwealth Education he has, in collaboration with the University of Cape Coast, helped embed leadership for learning in government policy in Ghana.  He was awarded the OBE (Order of the British Empire) for services to education in 1997 and an honorary doctorate from the University of Edinburgh in 2009. He has authored and co-authored 20 books in education, including most recently A Common Wealth of Learning (Routledge, 2013) with Mike Younger and Learning in and out of School: the selected works of John MacBeath (Routledge, 2012).

Course Description

This course will emphasise what you can do to act professionally. This includes developing your own philosophy of teaching and making sure that you continue to improve your knowledge and skills. It also considers what it means to be part of a community of professionals, working with others to improve what happens in your school, community and profession.

This course is part of the Foundations of Teaching for Learning program which is designed to assist people who are currently teaching but have had no formal teacher education improve their understanding of their role and work as a teacher.  This set of courses will enhance your knowledge and understanding about learning and teaching and what makes a teacher a professional.  

Practical activities are provided to assist you in using what you have learned to improve your teaching practice.  While these are optional, it is strongly recommended that you undertake them if at all possible.

Of particular importance is a guide to the development of a portfolio to help you organize and document your thinking about what you have learned. In addition, you may be able to use the portfolio to access other opportunities in the future.


  • Will I get a Statement of Accomplishment after completing this class?

On the satisfactory completion of each course you will receive a statement of accomplishment related to the course. These courses form part of a Specialization and if you have enrolled for signature track and satisfactorily completed each of the eight courses in the Specialization you will be able to participate in the capstone project. On completion of the capstone project you will receive a verified Specialization certificate for the entire program. 

  • Is there any point in taking just one course out of the program?

Each course covers a different topic and can be taken separately though we would recommend that the introduction is taken first as it explains the techniques used and sets the scene for the other courses.  


In this course you will explore:

  • what it means to be a professional;
  • ethics, codes of conduct and standards for teachers;
  • legal and administrative responsibilities of a teacher;
  • developing a personal philosophy of teaching;
  • being part of a professional learning community;
  • seeking advice on how to improve your teaching; and
  • planning for your future development as a teacher.

Course Workload

4-6 hours/week

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