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Comparing Teacher's Work with Work in Other Occupations: Notes on the Professional Status of Teaching

Brian Rowan
Educational Researcher
Vol. 23, No. 6 (Aug. - Sep., 1994), pp. 4-17+21
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1176784
Page Count: 15
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Comparing Teacher's Work with Work in Other Occupations: Notes on the Professional Status of Teaching
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Abstract

Educational researchers frequently compare teachers' work with work performed in other occupations. In this article, I discuss the promises and pitfalls of this type of analysis. Using data from "The Dictionary of Occupational Titles" (U.S. Department of Labor, 1991), I examine the nature of teachers' work and compare teaching with the work performed in other occupations. On the basis of this analysis, I conclude that teaching is a complex form of work that requires high levels of formal knowledge for successful performance. I also argue that the professional status of teaching is closely tied to the complexity of teachers' work and that educational reforms intended to further professionalize the occupation of teaching can succeed only to the extent that they make teachers' work even more complex than it currently is.

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