oa Journal of Education - What is teachers work?

Volume 41, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0259-479X



This paper asks why conscientious teachers are chronically overloaded. Its central claim is that a failure to recognize the distinction between the formal and material elements of the concept of teaching provides a main part of the answer. An analysis of the Norms and Standards for Educators shows how, by failing to distinguish between the formal and material elements of the concept of teaching, it projects a conception of teaching which contributes to the overload of schoolteachers. The paper then contrasts the Norms and Standards with A National Framework for Teacher Education � 16th June 2005, which puts a formal definition of teaching up front. The latter part of the paper moves to a discussion of the functions of schools, and proposes that both caregiving and the teaching of the young are crucial in our context; with caregiving becoming increasingly salient in the light of poverty and the HIV and AIDS pandemic. But we need to pose the question of whether caregiving should be regarded as part of the formal work of teachers, or whether others should be employed for this work, enabling schoolteachers to focus more sharply on their defining function.

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