Many years ago while working in the remote Northern Territory community of Numbulwar, one of my staff members suggested that teaching was an ‘art’ rather than a ‘profession’. That raised some thoughts about definitions and it is a matter I have pondered over the years.

To me, teaching has always been a profession and to think of it otherwise is to deny the impact that takes place at the teaching and learning interface.

But an ‘art’. Well, yes it is. There is an art, a deep personal skill in the presentation of what is being taught. That has to do with speech, speaking, listening, gesture and all the elements that go with the physical portrayal of how teachers present and how they model in classrooms. The matter of role modelling grows from the art of teaching.

In a related context, the classroom is like a stage, the teacher a key actor on that stage. Teaching is both a profession and an art.

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