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  1. #1
    Thailand Expat TheRealKW's Avatar
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    We call staff at our school artisans, not teachers

    Artisans are experts, creative and caring - so are teachers. That's why this school has changed how it refers to staff


    In early 2019 we made the decision to start referring to our staff not as teachers, but artisans.
    This was something I had been thinking about for some time because we wanted to show our staff and the wider community that we knew the work they did was more than just "teaching" in the traditional sense – reading from textbooks, rote learning, funnelling students through exams – and was something far more meaningful and valuable.

    Teachers are artisans

    The word "artisan" fitted perfectly, for the following three criteria:

    1. They are experts in their craft
    Great teachers are not something that can be easily replaced by a machine, and their skill set can't be quickly learned by someone else. Our outstanding teachers engage on a human level, for example through guided inquiry and debate, which creates a far richer learning experience.

    They have deep subject knowledge, continually improve their craft and are adaptable to new challenges at a moment’s notice – as this year has shown especially.

    2. They are creative
    They teach complex subjects in a way that is engaging, enlightening, challenging and memorable.
    They adapt curricula and find ways to teach that match the ethos we strive for at our school, as well as responding to the contemporary context – rather than simply rehashing the same lesson each year, for example.

    3. They are caring
    They care for their pupils and see them as more than data points in a spreadsheet for grades or exam results.
    They work with each student as an individual, wanting to see them succeed for that child’s specific development, and they craft the right learning environment to achieve this.

    Universal talents

    Of course, any teacher reading this should rightly say, "I have these skills." After all, a teacher anywhere in the world must be an expert in what they do, be creative in how they teach and care for their pupils.

    I fear, though, that sometimes, in the metric-driven focus of much of the world’s schooling, this view of what a teacher is and the importance of their skills is overlooked or lost.
    That is why I wanted to ensure that our staff knew we saw them as having a skill set that merited being referred to as an artisan.

    Why this matters


    We can see the world over that technology is changing many industries – mostly notable through automation and AI.
    And we know that in a world where these technologies became ever more advanced, it would be possible to envision a world that sees the human teachers as a luxury asset – the mostly costly part of delivering education.

    But I deeply believe that no system will be able to replace the learning experience provided by artisan teachers.

    As such, we wanted to take an active step to cultivate this concept now – to show that what our staff do is not something that can be replicated by a machine but is a craft and skill set beyond replication.

    How was it received?


    Most staff were quickly on board and adapted to being referred to as artisans or artisan teachers, although there were some who took longer to come around to the idea.

    Indeed, I had one artisan who emailed back and said they didn’t want the term on their email signature, not seeing it as right for their role. But I said they absolutely were an artisan and outlined why. I think, over time, all staff have now become comfortable with it – or see it as a badge of honour.


    Parents have started to refer to the teachers they engage with in this way, too, and they like the differentiation that it gives.


    It can cause momentary confusion for prospective parents when we tell them they will meet the artisans on a school tour, and they say, "We’d rather meet the teachers." But this is easily explained and quickly becomes natural to them, too.


    And the students? Well, they still refer to teachers as Mr or Mrs, so that has not been a big change.


    How did we make the change?


    We made the change slowly, introducing it to our website, brochures, internal communications and email signatures whenever the need to update something arose, rather than introducing it in one overnight change.

    This meant there was time for staff and the wider community to experience the change slowly and to get used to it. It also meant that, if there were any changes needed to existing marketing information or business cards, for example, we could deal with them as they arose, rather than trying to do everything all at once.


    All this has made it a smooth and welcome change – and I think an important one.


    And our artisans like it, too.


    Bernhard Gademann is the director general of Institut auf dem Rosenberg in Switzerland

    Why we call teachers artisans at our school | Tes News

  2. #2
    Chinese spy
    sabang's Avatar
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    When I was a student, we called our teachers at school many things. None of which you would care to hear. A rose by any other name....

  3. #3
    Thailand Expat TheRealKW's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheRealKW View Post
    And the students? Well, they still refer to teachers as Mr or Mrs, so that has not been a big change.
    So not a change at all. Or at least not a change that affects teacher/student relationships or the teaching and leaning dynamic.


    Quote Originally Posted by TheRealKW View Post
    Teachers are artisans

    The word "artisan" fitted perfectly, for the following three criteria:

    1. They are experts in their craft

    2. They are creative

    3. They are caring
    So is my barista, but I still call him a barista.

  4. #4
    Chinese spy
    sabang's Avatar
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    It is all semantic really, isn't it? There is nothing wrong with being a Teacher, or being called one (ferget about student taunts). I would be more concerned about your name being usurped by TEFLers.

  5. #5
    Thailand Expat TheRealKW's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sabang View Post
    I would be more concerned about your name being usurped by TEFLers.
    It's not like teachers can protect their brand like champagne or kobe beef.

    Besides, TEFLers are teachers too.

  6. #6
    Chinese spy
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    By the same logic, a witch doctor is a doctor too. Or an on-line PhD grants you the right to be called Doctor, just the same as an Oxbridge doctorate.
    I do not agree. I think TEFL people might better be termed English coaches. Or even educators. But I think the term Teacher should be reserved for qualified teachers.

  7. #7
    Thailand Expat TheRealKW's Avatar
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    Sounds like the Ajarn vs Kru debate.

    Quote Originally Posted by sabang View Post
    But I think the term Teacher should be reserved for qualified teachers.
    How to regulate? Even then, there are many pathways to becoming a teacher.


    Quote Originally Posted by sabang View Post
    By the same logic, a witch doctor is a doctor too.
    Not sure many doctors care what witch doctors call themselves.

    Quote Originally Posted by sabang View Post
    Or an on-line PhD grants you the right to be called Doctor, just the same as an Oxbridge doctorate.
    If they write and defend a research thesis, then does that matter?

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheRealKW View Post
    So not a change at all. Or at least not a change that affects teacher/student relationships or the teaching and leaning dynamic.




    So is my barista, but I still call him a barista.
    But even that's a bit of a wank though isn't it.
    A fancy name to make them feel better about themselves.

  9. #9
    Chinese spy
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    ^^ I'm not really a part of that debate- but we live in a world where anyone can pay some on- line 'academy' and be sent a nice glossy PhD certificate. That does not make him/ her a Doctor, and grants absolutely no right to use the term. I once had a person who faked having a degree from Oxford Uni, when in fact he had a technical certificate from some other place located in Oxford. I sacked him, fortunately before any of our clients found out.

    It might interest you to know I have an on-line TEFL certification too. I did it as an option, to help out at a local school in the Filipines as an English coach (paltry salary- irrelevant). Of course, it was as easy as falling off a log. That does not make me a Teacher, imho.

  10. #10
    Thailand Expat TheRealKW's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sabang View Post
    I'm not really a part of that debate- but we live in a world where anyone can pay some on- line 'academy' and be sent a nice glossy PhD certificate.
    Hang on a sec, you said complete an online degree, now you are taking about printing a fake degree. Different things.

    Quote Originally Posted by sabang View Post
    That does not make me a Teacher, imho.
    I guess not, because a proper TEFL or English language teacher would know that 'teacher' is not captilized.

  11. #11
    Thailand Expat TheRealKW's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cujo View Post
    A fancy name to make them feel better about themselves.
    Indeed, but if I was a teacher, I doubt calling me an artisan would make me 'feel better 'bout myself'.

  12. #12
    Chinese spy
    sabang's Avatar
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    'teacher' is not captilized.
    Then perhaps for a proper, qualified Teacher- it should be.


    you said complete an online degree
    ?? My TEFL certificate is no on-line degree. Contrary to your previous false assertion (I didn't bother correcting it), neither was my MBA. Furthermore, not all on-line or remote learning degrees are falsa anyway- but some are. So I don't really get your point here.

  13. #13
    Thailand Expat TheRealKW's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sabang View Post
    Contrary to your previous false assertion (I didn't bother correcting it), neither was my MBA.
    eh? Where did I say that?



    Quote Originally Posted by sabang View Post
    Furthermore, not all on-line or remote learning degrees are falsa anyway- but some are. So I don't really get your point here.

    That was my point. Online does not automaticaly mean fake.

    You orginally said an online PhD was not equivalent to a Oxbridge PhD and I posed the question, why not? You then started waffling about fake degrees.

    So back to the orginal question posed...


    If they write and defend a research thesis, then does that matter?

  14. #14
    Chinese spy
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    Where did I say that?
    In another thread some weeks ago, where I suppose I must have had the temerity to ask the awkward question, or quote the inconvenient truth- rather my stock in trade actually. It was quite hilarious, to find out I had left Thailand in a hurry (18 months seemed like a long time to me), and was a Nazi with an on-line MBA.


    ^On-line does not necessarily mean fake, as I said- but neither is an on-line degree equivalent to a full time degree from a prestigious college. Get real. And neither is a TEFLer equivalent to a fully qualified Teacher.

  15. #15
    Thailand Expat armstrong's Avatar
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    There's a new school in Bang Na that calls it's teachers "Learning Designers".

  16. #16
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    Some high class call girls have business cards too. Erection and demolition specialist.

  17. #17
    Thailand Expat TheRealKW's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sabang View Post
    In another thread some weeks ago, where I suppose I must have had the temerity to ask the awkward question, or quote the inconvenient truth- rather my stock in trade actually. It was quite hilarious, to find out I had left Thailand in a hurry (18 months seemed like a long time to me), and was a Nazi with an on-line MBA.

    You're rambling old man, I have no idea when you left Thailand nor the circumstances in which you did so. Nor do I have any knowledge of your qualifications, be they online or not.


    Quote Originally Posted by sabang View Post
    but neither is an on-line degree equivalent to a full time degree from a prestigious college. Get real.
    Again, you are obfuscating.

    Compare apples.

    Online versus face to face (and what about blended learning?)

    Part time versus full time.

    Oxbridge verus less famous universities.

  18. #18
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    ^Flake. Plain and simple. At least you're paid more than a TEFLer- and I am not the least curious about your mediocre qualifications. Those who can, Do. Those who can't.....

  19. #19
    Thailand Expat TheRealKW's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sabang View Post
    and I am not the least curious about your mediocre qualifications.
    when did they come into the discussion?



    Quote Originally Posted by sabang View Post
    Those who can, Do. Those who can't.....
    Yeah, righto...


    Quote Originally Posted by sabang View Post
    ^Flake. Plain and simple. At least you're paid more than a TEFLer

    You're not really interested in a discussion at all, are you? I mistakely thought you were.

    As you were, then.

  20. #20
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    The discussion endeth where it began- I care not for this semantic b/s, any more than I care for fake degrees.
    But ok artisan, up to you.
    Last edited by sabang; 20-11-2020 at 10:05 AM.

  21. #21
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    I'm referred to as a "coach"......

  22. #22
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    I think that is a good way to put it. Look, I'm no expert- but isn't that how this whole TEFL/ TESOL thing came about? To get students to practise and use their English to communicate, rather than have some plonker who could structure an English sentence grammatically, but not be able to communicate a word of it? In Thailand, many of the local English teachers were exactly like that. So how can they teach others?

  23. #23
    Thailand Expat TheRealKW's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sabang View Post
    I care not for this semantic b/s,
    nor do I, as I thought I made clear at the start.

    Quote Originally Posted by sabang View Post
    any more than I care for fake degrees.
    Again, you were the only one banging on about fake degrees, I'm not a big fan either.

    Quote Originally Posted by sabang View Post
    But ok artisan, up to you.
    Pretty sure I am not an artisan.



    Quote Originally Posted by sabang View Post
    The discussion endeth where it began
    With you obfuscating, pontificting and avoiding the questions while dropping the odd personal jab? Yes, indeed.

  24. #24
    disturbance in the Turnip baldrick's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Topper View Post
    I'm referred to as a "coach".....
    couch ?

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    Teacher in Mongolian = bagsh (pronunciation is more obvious when written in Cyrillic, but my keyboard can't do that.)
    I can't really say any of these things bother me or seem to have massive impact on the classroom and the learning dynamic within it. Either a class is well managed by the teacher and has a learning dynamic conducive to learning or it doesn't, faux honorific titles really aren't going to do much imo.

    When I was at school, I called by teachers sir, or it was detention time! There was certainly a hierarchy in class that at times seemed oppressive and near clinical. The students sat and took notes carefully, that's about it. Did I respect my teachers,really? No, not at all. "Respect" for me in class is a class that collaborates over difficulties, has empathy and exhibits signs of good social and emotional health.
    Last edited by Mandaloopy; 20-11-2020 at 11:59 AM.

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