Teachers are not just teachers. They are also people. In straddling issues of both professional and personal identity, this module comes to grips with the professional choices teachers are required to make, and do make, in developing the knowledge, skills and values of learners.

This module is suitable for both inducting novice teachers into the role of the teacher and for in-service programmes in which practising teachers could valuably compare their own experiences with this systematic overview of the role of a teacher and teaching as a profession. The contextual setting in South Africa is readily adaptable to other settings: the core issues are the same.

The different sections in this module present a coherent progression. Access the full version here. Alternatively, the seven sections are downloadable as individual units.



The Learning Guide is supported by a set of 20 readings, some of which can be accessed from this website (highlighted in blue). For those not available, you can contact the publishers listed below for permission to use the readings. A full set is available from Saide at infoatsaide [dot] org [dot] za (info[at]saide[dot]org[dot]za).

Reference list for Section One

Reference list for Section Two

Reference list for Section Three

  • Reading 11: Morrow, W. 1997. Authority, responsibility and democracy in educationIn HDE Module 3: Practices: Orderliness and Chaos. Bellville: University of the Western Cape. By kind permission of the author.
  • Reading 12: Vally, S. 1998. Spoil the rod, spare the childThe Educator’s Voice, December 1998, 2(9): 4–5. South African Democratic Teacher’s Union (SADTU).By kind permission of The Educator's Voice.
  • Reading 13: Winkley, D. 1987. The paradox of discipline. In Education 3–13. October 1987. Financial Times Prentice Hall: London.

Reference list for Section Four

Reference list for Section Five

  • Reading 17: Rachels, J. 1995. The challenge of cultural relativism. From The Elements of Moral Philosophy. New York: McGraw Hill. 15–29.
  • Reading 18: Beck, C. 1990. Morals and values education. From  Better Schools: A Values Perspective. London: The Falmer Press: 143–150.

Reference list for Section Six

  • Reading 19: Onore, C. 1992. Negotiation, language, and inquiry: Building knowledge collaboratively in the classroom. In G. Boomer et al. (Eds.) Negotiating the Curriculum: Educating for the 21st Century. London: The Falmer Press.
  • Reading 20: Huebner, D. 1987. The vocation of teaching. In F. Bolin and Falk, J. (Eds.) Teacher Renewal: Professional Issues, Personal Choices. New York: Teachers College Press, Columbia University: 17–29.

Part of the module is a 47 minute long video which introduces viewers to the perceptions, doubts and concerns of student teachers about their choice of career. Through a range of interviews with two celebrities and teachers, as well as clips of classroom teaching and school management practices, we explore the role of the teacher as a knowledge worker; care giver; and change agent through teaching and management. On the basis of these experiences, we return to the questions that initiated the tour of schools and classrooms. 

Downloadable sections of the video are:

  • Being a Teacher
    Student teachers’ and other teachers’ doubts and concerns about the status of teaching; the views of two celebrities on what good teachers meant for them.
    DOWNLOAD (19.8MB) OR VIEW (6:50 MINS)
  • Teachers as Knowledge-workers
    The teacher as knowledge-worker, with a biology lesson as a basis for exploring ‘lecture’ type approaches to teaching factual content in relation to the learner-centred facilitation of learning.         
    DOWNLOAD (32.9 MB) OR VIEW  (11:32 MINS)
  • Teachers as Care-givers
    Reflection on the above coverage of the ‘alternative’ approaches to teaching, leading to an introduction to the teacher’s social responsibility role.
    DOWNLOAD (21.7 MB) OR VIEW (9:28 MINS)
  • Teachers as Managers
    Management: planning teaching and creating a suitable learning and caring environment. Issues of discipline and freedom are highlighted.
    DOWNLOAD (29.1 MB) OR VIEW (10:45 MINS)
  • Being a Professional Teacher 
    Reflection on the doubts and concerns with which we began; professionalism in the health sector compared to teaching.  What makes a teacher who makes a difference?
    DOWNLOAD (31.3 MB) OR VIEW (7:14 MINS)