Skip to main content

The Real Professional is a Learning Professional

Part of the Springer International Handbooks of Education book series (SIHE)

Abstract

‘Professions’ were called “learned professions in ancient times.” Since then professions and professionals have played a continuing, but constantly changing role, in our organizations and society. Despite the amount of vagueness and ambiguities, the concept of ‘professional’ remains popular. It has been used as a standard, a demand, a defense and as an attack. It is also a concept with many definitions and many connotations and denotations formed by history and social contexts. Many authors have even suggested abandoning the notion of professional as a conceptual tool. We think that it is time to give this concept new clarity, use, and interpretation, fitting better within our time and, most of all, providing value to our work systems. In this chapter, we harvested what history has taught us in order to find a different mindset, to further define and contemplate the professional. Our main tenet is that professionalism is a self-chosen characteristic that is closely related to learning. From the literature, we derived eight characteristics of professionals and connected these to learning. The question of who is and is not a professional has fundamentally changed, going from learned professions to learning professionals. Finally, we present a model of different ways of learning that learning professionals need, both individually and collectively. The chapter ends with implications for theory, research and practice.

Keywords

  • Professional
  • Learning and development
  • Learning landscape
  • Commitment
  • Integrity
  • Body of knowledge
  • Theory of practice
  • Island of expertise
  • Professional frame
  • Autonomy
  • Authority

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Buying options

Chapter
USD   29.95
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Available as PDF
  • Read on any device
  • Instant download
  • Own it forever
eBook
USD   549.00
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Available as EPUB and PDF
  • Read on any device
  • Instant download
  • Own it forever
Hardcover Book
USD   699.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Durable hardcover edition
  • Dispatched in 3 to 5 business days
  • Free shipping worldwide - see info

Tax calculation will be finalised at checkout

Purchases are for personal use only

Learn about institutional subscriptions

References

  • Barber, B. (1963). Some problems in the sociology of professions. Daedalus, 92, 669–688.

    Google Scholar 

  • Bassok, M., & Holyoak, K. J. (1989). Interdomain transfer between isomorphic topics in algebra and physics. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 15, 153–166.

    Google Scholar 

  • Bayles, M. (1988). The professions. In J. C. Callahan (Ed.), Ethical issues in professional life (pp. 113–123). New York: Oxford University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Bereiter, C. (1995). A dispositional view of transfer. In A. McKeough, J. Lupart, & A. Marini (Eds.), Teaching for transfer: Fostering generalization in learning (pp. 21–34). Mahwah: Lawrence Erlbaum.

    Google Scholar 

  • Borghans, L., Golsteyn, B., & de Grip, A. (2007). Wat leert onderzoek ons over informeel leren? [What does research teach us about informal learning?]. In Handboek Effectief Opleiden (pp. 65–84). Amsterdam: Elsevier Human resources.

    Google Scholar 

  • Bourdieu, P., & Wacquant, L. (1992). An invitation to reflexive sociology. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Claxton, G. (1999). Wise up: The challenge of lifelong learning. London: Bloomsbury. Collins.

    Google Scholar 

  • Collins, A., Brown, J. S., & Newman, S. E. (1989). Cognitive apprenticeship: Teaching the craft of reading, writing and mathematics. In L. B. Resnick (Ed.), Knowing, learning and instruction. Essays in honour of Robert Glaser (pp. 453–494). Hillsdale: Erlbaum.

    Google Scholar 

  • Cormier, S. M., & Hagman, J. D. (1987). Introduction. In S. M. Cormier & J. D. Hagman (Eds.), Transfer of learning: Contemporary research and applications (pp. 1–8). San Diego: Academic.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Crook, D. (2008). Some historical perspectives on professionalism. In B. Cunningham (Ed.), Exploring professionalism (pp. 10–28). London: Institute of Education, University of London.

    Google Scholar 

  • De Groot, E. (2012). Learning of veterinary professionals in communities: Using the theory of critically reflective work behaviour with regard to evidence based practice. Doctoral dissertation, Utrecht University.

    Google Scholar 

  • Doornbos, A. J., & Krak, A. J. A. (2001). Learning processes and outcomes at the workplace: A qualitative study. In J. N. Streumer (Ed.), Perspectives on learning at the workplace: Theoretical positions, organizational factors, learning processes and effects (pp. 53–64). Proceedings of the second conference on HRD research and practice across Europe. Enschede: Twente University

    Google Scholar 

  • Eraut, M. R. (1994). Developing professional knowledge and competence. London: Falmer.

    Google Scholar 

  • Eraut, M. R. (1998). Development of knowledge and skills in employment. Brighton: University of Sussex Institute of Education, Education Development Building.

    Google Scholar 

  • Evans, L. (2008). Professionalism, professionality and professional development. British Journal of Educational Studies, 56, 20–38.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Evetts, J. (2003). The sociological analysis of professionalism: Occupational change in the modern world. International Sociology, 18, 395–415.

    Google Scholar 

  • Friedson, E. (1986). Professional powers. A study of the institutionalization of formal knowledge. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Friedson, E. (1989). Theory and the professions. Indiana Law Journal, 64, 423–432.

    Google Scholar 

  • Friedson, E. (2001). Professionalism. The third logic. Cambridge: Polity Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Gardner, H., & Shulman, L. S. (2005). The professions in America today: Crucial but fragile. Daedalus, 13–18.

    Google Scholar 

  • Greenwood, E. (1957). Attributes of a profession. Social Work, 2, 45–55.

    Google Scholar 

  • Horstman, K., & Houtepen, R. (2008). Van sturen naar leren [From steering to learning]. In Goed werk. Verkenningen van normatieve professionalisering (pp. 106–124). Amsterdam: Uitgeverij SWP.

    Google Scholar 

  • Illich, I. (1971). Deschooling society. London: Calder and Boyars.

    Google Scholar 

  • Kubr, M. (2002). Management consulting. A guide to the profession. Geneva: International Labour Organization.

    Google Scholar 

  • Kwakman, C. H. E. (1999). Leren van docenten tijdens de beroeploopbaan [Learning of teachers during their career]. Doctoral dissertation, Nijmegen University.

    Google Scholar 

  • Larson, M. S. (1978). The rise of professionalism: A sociological analysis. Berkeley: University of California Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Leonard, D., & Swap, W. (2005). Meesterschap [Mastership]. Amsterdam: Uitgeverij Business Contact.

    Google Scholar 

  • Lubell, M. S. (1978). The significance of organizational conflict on the legislative evolution of the accounting profession in the United States. College Park: University of Maryland.

    Google Scholar 

  • Maister, D. H. (2006). Why (most) training is useless. Retrieved from http://davidmaister.com/articles/1/96/

  • Marsick, V. (2001). Informal strategic learning in the workplace. Paper presented at the second conference on HRD research and practice across Europe, Enschede, The Netherlands.

    Google Scholar 

  • Mayer, R., & Greeno, J. G. (1972). Structural differences between learning outcomes produced by different instructional methods. Journal of Educational Psychology, 63, 165–173.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Millerson, G. (1964). The qualifying associations: A study in professionalisation. London: Taylor & Francis Group.

    Google Scholar 

  • Nonaka, I., Reinmoeller, P., & Senoo, D. (1998). The ‘ART’ of knowledge: Systems to capitalize on market knowledge. European Management Journal, 16, 673–684.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Onstenk, J. H. A. M. (1997). Lerend leren werken. Brede vakbekwaamheid en de integratie van leren, werken en innoveren [Learning to work in a learning way. Broad craftmanship and the integration of learning, working and innovating]. Amsterdam: Katholieke Universiteit Nijmegen.

    Google Scholar 

  • Parsons, T. (1954). The professions and social structure. In T. Parsons (Ed.), Essays in sociological theory (pp. 34–49). New York: Free Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Perks, R. (1993). Accounting and society. London: Chapman & Hall.

    Google Scholar 

  • Riel, M., & Lepori, K. (2011, April). A meta-analysis of the outcomes of action research. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association conference, New Orleans.

    Google Scholar 

  • Ruijters, M. C. P. (2006). Liefde voor leren [Love for learning]. Doctoral dissertation, Utrecht University.

    Google Scholar 

  • Ruijters, M. C. P., & Simons, P. R. J. (2006). Het leerlandschap van organisaties [The learning landscape of organisations]. Develop, 2, 54–63.

    Google Scholar 

  • Runté, R. (1995). Is teaching a profession? In G. Taylor & R. Runté (Eds.), Thinking about teaching: An introduction (pp. 288–299). Toronto: Harcourt Brace. Retrieved from http://www.uleth.ca/edu/runte/professional/teaprof.htm

  • Ryan, R. M., & Deci, E. L. (2012). Multiple identities within a single self. A self-determination theory perspective on internalization within contexts and culture. In M. R. Leary & J. Price Tangney (Eds.), Handbook of self and identity (pp. 225–246). New York: The Guilford Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Salomon, G., & Perkins, D. N. (1989). Rocky roads to transfer: Rethinking mechanisms of a neglected phenomenon. Educational Psychologist, 24, 113–142.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Schinkel, W., & Noordegraaf, M. (2011). Professionalism as symbolic capital: Materials for a Bourdieusian theory of professionalism. Comparative Sociology, 10, 67–96.

    Google Scholar 

  • Schön, D. (1983). The reflective practitioner. How professionals think in action. London: Temple Smith.

    Google Scholar 

  • Schwab, J. (1965). Supervisor, biological sciences curriculum study, biology teachers’ handbook. New York: Wiley.

    Google Scholar 

  • Sennett, R. (2008). De ambachtsman [The craftsman]. Amsterdam: Meulenhof.

    Google Scholar 

  • Simons, P. R. J. (1990). Transfervermogen [Transfer-ability]. Inaugural lecture. Nijmegen: Quick Print.

    Google Scholar 

  • Simons, P. R. J. (1999). Transfer of learning: Paradoxes for learners. International Journal of Educational Research, 31, 577–589.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Simons, P. R. J., & Verschaffel, L. (1992) (Red.). Transfer: Onderzoek en onderwijs [Transfer: Research and education]. Tijdschrift voor Onderwijsresearch, 17, 3–16.

    Google Scholar 

  • Tonkens, E. (2003). Mondige burgers, getemde professionals. Marktwerking, vraagsturing en professionaliteit in de publieke sector [Responsible citizens, tamed professionals. Martkets, demand drivenness and professionality in the public sector]. Utrecht: Nederlands Iinstituut voor Zorg en Welzijn.

    Google Scholar 

  • Van Gunsteren, H. (1994). Culturen van besturen [Cultures of governmental boards]. Amsterdam/Meppel: Boom.

    Google Scholar 

  • Van Houten, D. (2008). Professionalisering: Een verkenning [Professionalizing: An exploration]. In G. Jacobs, R. Meij, H. Tenwolde, & Y. Zomer (Red.), Goed werk. Verkenningen van normatieve professionalisering (pp. 16–35). Amsterdam: Uitgeverij SWP.

    Google Scholar 

  • Von Krogh, G., Ichijo, K., & Nonaka, I. (2000). Enabling knowledge creation. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Van Veldhuizen, B. (2010). Werkend Leren, Lerend Werken. Professionele ontwikkeling van docenten in persoonlijk en organisatieperspectief [Learning while working, working while learning: Professional development in personal and organizational perspective]. Doctoral dissertation, Utrecht University.

    Google Scholar 

  • Wanrooy, M. (2001). Leidinggeven tussen professionals [Leadership between professionals]. Schiedam: Scriptum.

    Google Scholar 

  • Watson, J. B. (1913). Psychology as the behavourist views it. Psychological Review, 20, 158–177.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Watson, T. (2003). Professions and professionalism should we jump off the bandwagon, better to study where it is going ? International Studies of Management and Organization, 32, 93–105.

    Google Scholar 

  • Weggeman, M. C. D. P. (2007). Leiding geven aan professionals? Niet doen! [Leading professionals? Don’t do it!]. Schiedam: Scriptum.

    Google Scholar 

  • Wenger, E. (1998). Communities of practice. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Wilensky, H. L. (1964). The professionalization of everyone? American Journal of Sociology, 70, 137–158.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to P. Robert-Jan Simons Ph.D. .

Editor information

Editors and Affiliations

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

Copyright information

© 2014 Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht

About this chapter

Cite this chapter

Simons, P.RJ., Ruijters, M.C.P. (2014). The Real Professional is a Learning Professional. In: Billett, S., Harteis, C., Gruber, H. (eds) International Handbook of Research in Professional and Practice-based Learning. Springer International Handbooks of Education. Springer, Dordrecht. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-017-8902-8_35

Download citation