ERIC Number: ED265948
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1985-Sep
Reference Count: N/A
The Nature of Professions: Where Is Early Childhood Education?
Katz, Lilian G.
Based on the current drive toward professionalism in early childhood education and the low status and prestige afforded teachers in this field, this paper applies some of the main concepts of professionalism to the current state of the art of early childhood education. Two uses of the term "professional" are delineated: the "folk" concept and the scientific concept. The first use is explained in terms of an honorific designation, and early childhood practitioners are not seen in the public mind to have achieved the goals implicit in this concept. In the scientific conceptions of the term "profession," eight criteria must be met: social necessity, altruism, autonomy, code of ethics, distance from client, standards of practice, prolonged training, and specialized knowledge. The current status of different aspects of early childhood education is then assessed in relation to meeting these individual criteria. In a closing section, the work of several contemporary developmental researchers is cited as rich in implications for principles of education in the early years. Finally, the difficulty that the field of early childhood education experiences in producing reliable and persuasive empirical evidence for the activities of its practitioners is discussed. (DST)
Descriptors: Altruism, Child Caregivers, Early Childhood Education, Educational Practices, Educational Principles, Educational Theories, Preschool Teachers, Professional Autonomy, Professional Development, Professional Education, Professional Recognition, Specialization, Standards, Teacher Education
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; ERIC Publications
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Office of Educational Research and Improvement (ED), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: ERIC Clearinghouse on Elementary and Early Childhood Education, Urbana, IL.