Martin Rothland

The “Teacher Personality”: Secret of the Teaching Profession?


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The popularity of the idea of a “teacher personality” is not limited to the self-awareness of experienced teachers. The newer academic discourse on teacher education, as well as the academic discussion on the teaching profession, reveal an astonishing persistence of the construct. Because of its assumed decisiveness for the learning success of pupils, the “teacher personality” is designed and demanded as the goal of teacher education and professionalization as personality development. At the same time, the “teacher personality” seems indeterminable, as if it can neither be operationalized nor measured. Rather, it appears as a universal answer to what cannot be explained or empirically reconstructed about the teaching profession. But what cannot be determined, what does not seem to be comprehensible, can hardly be learned or taught. In this respect, the demand to link professionalization for and professionalism in the teaching profession to the training of the “teacher personality” cannot be met at all.

teacher education, teaching profession, teacher personality, professionalization, professionalism