chapter  1
22 Pages

The effective, extended professional

Expertise does not exist in a vacuum. Although it may be argued that one might be expert at almost anything, cleaning your own teeth for example, being expert at any old thing is not the point. Expertise is associated with knowledge and skill, but also with value. Some expertise is highly valued and highly rewarded, other forms much less so, and those two elements, value and reward, exist in a creative tension. Before examining expertise per se, it is important to establish some fundamentals about effective teaching and teaching as a profession and about professions more generally. A concept such as expert teaching cannot be understood in a vacuum, and this book is addressed to readers who want to understand such expertise in its context. Comparisons with other forms of professional expertise are highly illuminating, and the term ‘professional’ is essential in defi ning the context in which teaching takes place. All kinds of teaching take place in many ‘amateur’ settings, and these are of interest; for example, in the performing arts, the concept of the master class will be discussed below. However, the kind of teaching we are focused upon has developed within a professionalised environment. The term teaching also needs some scrutiny, partly because it does not begin to capture the multiplicity of roles and functions that a teacher makes use of to create students’ actual learning. It also needs examination in relation to what is considered to be effective teaching before it is reasonable to examine what may be called expert teaching.