Professionalism by Whose Model? Professionalism and Professionalization of TESOL Teachers Through Autonomy or Accountability

  • Steven James KurowskiEmail author
Part of the English Language Education book series (ELED, volume 15)


Professionalism is as well-defined colloquially as it is sociologically through a public (i.e., field) discourse which seems to have moved on from the sociological dialog existentializing professionalism to recognizing the term as a political construct. Advantages are accrued to those considered to be on the certified end of the spectrum of professionalism. While many consider TESOL to be a professional field, assuming professionalism by virtue of the emic perception of the work may be, etically speaking (Pike, Language in relation to a unified theory of the structure of human behavior. Glendale, CA: Summer Institute of Linguistics, 1954.), inexpedient, leading to a generalized assumption of status, autonomy, and ethics but, more specifically, to a managerialized form of these determined by individual employment contexts. This small-scale interpretive study explores how eight TESOL teachers in an Omani university substantiate a managerialized form of professionalism as they did not appear to employ authentic autonomy in their practice, though other important elements, such as rigorous training and qualifications, were evidenced. Participant autonomy is prescribed and controlled through management and government intervention showing a de-professionalization of teaching in general and TESOL in particular. While TESOL can be said to be professionalizing, it is important for the profession to develop not only the stomach but also the teeth of professionalism if TESOL “professionals” are to lose their quotation marks to become professionals in the authentic sense.


Professionalism Professionalization Authentic Managerialization TESOL Autonomy 


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© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of ExeterExeterUK

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