AskDefine | Define teaching

Dictionary Definition



1 the profession of a teacher; "he prepared for teaching while still in college"; "pedagogy is recognized as an important profession" [syn: instruction, pedagogy]
2 a doctrine that is taught; "the teachings of religion"; "he believed all the Christian precepts" [syn: precept, commandment]
3 the activities of educating or instructing or teaching; activities that impart knowledge or skill; "he received no formal education"; "our instruction was carefully programmed"; "good teaching is seldom rewarded" [syn: education, instruction, pedagogy, educational activity]

User Contributed Dictionary




  1. Something taught by a religious or philosophical authority.
    Many follow the teachings of Confucius.
  2. The profession of teaching.
    Teaching has seen continual changes over the past decades.


something taught
the profession of teaching


  1. present participle of teach

Related terms


Extensive Definition

In education, teachers facilitate student learning, often in a school or academy or perhaps in another environment such as outdoors. A teacher who teaches on an individual basis may be described as a tutor.
The objective is typically accomplished through either an informal or formal approach to learning, including a course of study and lesson plan that teaches skills, knowledge and/or thinking skills. Different ways to teach are often referred to as pedagogy. When deciding what teaching method to use teachers consider students' background knowledge, environment, and their learning goals as well as standardized curricula as determined by the relevant authority. The teacher should also be able to deal with students with different abilities and should also be able to deal with learning disabilities. Many times, teachers assist in learning outside of the classroom by accompanying students on field trips. The increasing use of technology, specifically the rise of the internet over the past decade has begun to shape the way teachers approach their role in the classroom.
The objective is typically a course of study, lesson plan, or a practical skill, including learning and thinking skills. The different ways to teach are often referred to as the teacher's pedagogy. When deciding what teaching method to use, a teacher will need to consider students' background knowledge, environment, and their learning objectives. A teacher may follow standardized curricula as determined by the relevant authority. The teacher may interact with students of different ages, from infants to adults, students with different abilities and students with learning disabilities.

Secondary School Teachers

Perhaps the most significant difference between primary and secondary teaching in the UK is the relationship between teachers and children. In primary schools each class has a teacher who stays with them for most of the week and will teach them the whole curriculum. In secondary schools they will be taught by different subject specialists each session during the week and may have 10 or more different teachers. The relationship between children and their teachers tends to be closer in the primary school where they act as form tutor, specialist teacher and surrogate parent during the course of the day.
This is true throughout most of the United States as well. However, alternative approaches for primary education do exist. One of these, sometimes referred to as a "platoon" system, involves placing a group of students together in one class that moves from one specialist to another for every subject. The advantage here is that students learn from teachers who specialize in one subject and who tend to be more knowledgeable in that one area than a teacher who teaches many subjects. Students still derive a strong sense of security by staying with the same group of peers for all classes.

Professional educators

Teaching may be carried out informally, within the family (see Homeschooling) or the wider community. Formal teaching may be carried out by paid professionals. Such professionals enjoy a status in some societies on a par with physicians, lawyers, engineers, and accountants (Chartered or CPA).
A teacher's professional duties may extend beyond formal teaching. Outside of the classroom teachers may accompany students on field trips, supervise study halls, help with the organization of school functions, and serve as supervisors for extracurricular activities. In some education systems, teachers may have responsibility for student discipline.
Around the world teachers are often required to obtain specialized education and professional licensure. The teaching profession is regarded for having a body of specialised professional knowledge, codes of ethics and internal monitoring.
There are a variety of bodies designed to instill, preserve and update the knowledge and professional standing of teachers. Around the world many governments operate teacher's colleges, which are generally established to serve and protect the public interest through certifying, governing and enforcing the standards of practice for the teaching profession.
The functions of the teacher's colleges may include setting out clear standards of practice, providing for the ongoing education of teachers, investigating complaints involving members, conducting hearings into allegations of professional misconduct and taking appropriate disciplinary action and accrediting teacher education programs. In many situations teachers in publicly funded schools must be members in good standing with the college, and private schools may also require their teachers to be college members. In other areas these roles may belong to the State Board of Education, the Superintendent of Public Instruction, the State Education Agency or other governmental bodies. In still other areas Teaching Unions may be responsible for some or all of these duties.

Teaching around the world

There are many similarities and differences among teachers around the world. In almost all countries teachers are educated in a university or college. Governments may require certification by a recognized body before they can teach in a school.


England and Wales

Nursery, Primary and Secondary School teachers ranged from £20,133 to £41,004 in September 2007, although some salaries can go much higher depending on experience. Preschool teachers may earn £20,980 annually. State school teachers must have at least a bachelor's degree, complete an approved teacher education program, and be licensed.
Many counties offer alternative licensing programs to attract people into teaching, especially for hard-to-fill positions. Excellent job opportunities are expected as retirements, especially among secondary school teachers, outweigh slowing enrollment growth; opportunities will vary by geographic area and subject taught.


In France, teachers, or professors, are mainly civil servants, recruited by competitive examination.

Republic of Ireland

Salaries for primary teachers in the Republic of Ireland depend mainly on seniority (i.e. holding the position of principal, deputy principal or assistant principal), experience and qualifications. Extra pay is also given for teaching through the Irish language, in a Gaeltacht area or on an island. The basic pay for a starting teacher is 31,028 p.a., rising incrementally to €57,403 for a teacher with 25 years' service. A principal of a large school with many years' experience and several qualifications (M.A., H.Dip., etc.) could earn over €90,000.


In Scotland, anyone wishing to teach must be registered with the General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS). Teaching in Scotland is an all graduate profession and the normal route for graduates wishing to teach is to complete a programme of Initial Teacher Education (ITE) at one of the seven Scottish Universities who offer these courses. Once successfully completed, 'Provisional Registration' is given by the GTCS which is raised to 'Full Registration' status after a year if there is sufficient evidence to show that the 'Standard for Full Registration' has been met.
For salary year beginning April 2008, unpromoted teachers in Scotland earned from £20,427 for a Probationer, up to £32,583 after 6 years teaching, but could then go on to earn up to £39,942 as they complete the modules to earn Chartered Teacher Status (requiring at least 6 years at up to two modules per year.) Promotion to Principal Teacher positions attracts a salary of between £34,566 and £44,616; Depute Head, and Head teachers earn from £40,290 to £78,642.

United States

see Paraprofessional educator
In the United States, each state determines the requirements for getting a license to teach in public schools. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that there are 1.4 million elementary school teachers, 600,000 middle school teachers, and 1 million secondary school teachers employed in the U.S.
US teachers are generally paid on graduated scales, with income depending on experience. Salaries vary greatly depending on state, relative cost of living, and grade taught. The median salary for all primary and secondary teachers was $46,000 in 2004, with the average entry salary for a teacher with a bachelor's degree being an estimated $32,000. Median salaries for preschool teachers, however, were less than half the national median for secondary teachers, clock in at an estimated $21,000 in 2004. For high school teachers, median salaries in 2007 ranged from $35,000 in South Dakota to $71,000 in New York, with a national median of $52,000. Some contracts may include long-term disability insurance, life insurance, emergency/personal leave and investment options. The American Federation of Teachers' teacher salary survey for the 2004-05 school year found that the average teacher salary was $47,602.


Misconduct by teachers, especially sexual misconduct, has been getting increased scrutiny from the media and the courts. A study by the AAUW reported that 9.6% of students in the United States claim to have received unwanted sexual attention from an adult associated with education - be they a volunteer, bus driver, teacher, administrator or other adult - sometime during their educational career. A study in England showed a 0.3% prevalence of sexual abuse by any professional, a group that included priests, religious leaders, and case workers as well as teachers. It is important to note, however, that the British study referenced above is the only one of its kind and consisted of "a random ... probability sample of 2,869 young people between the ages of 18 and 24 in a computer-assisted study" and that the questions referred to "sexual abuse with a professional," not necessarily a teacher. It is therefore logical to conclude that information on the percentage of abuses by teachers in the United Kingdom is not explicitly available and therefore not necessarily reliable. The AAUW study, however, posed questions about fourteen types of sexual harassment and various degrees of frequency and included only abuses by teachers. "The sample was drawn from a list of 80,000 schools to create a stratified two-stage sample design of 2,065 8th to 11th grade students" (17). Its reliability was gauged at 95% with a 4% margin of error.
In the United States especially, several high-profile cases such as Debra LaFave, Pamela Rogers, and Mary Kay Latourneau have caused increased scrutiny on teacher misconduct.

World Teachers’ Day

UNESCO inaugurated World Teachers’ Day on 5 October1994 to celebrate and commemorate the signing of the Recommendation Concerning the Status of Teachers on 5 October1966. World Teachers’ Day also highlighted the Recommendation Concerning the Status of Higher Education Teaching Personnel adopted in 1997.
Some countries or regions such as Taiwan also celebrate Teacher's Day as a national holiday, while others ignore it completely. In Brazil and Chile, it is celebrated on October 15, while in India it is celebrated on 5 September, in honour of a thinker and President Dr. Radhakrishnan.. In Brunei, it is celebrated on September 23. In Turkey it has been celebrated on 24 November since 1928. Northern Cyprus also celebrates this day. In Malaysia and in Colombia, it is celebrated on 16 May. In South Korea, Teachers' Day is celebrated on 15 May. Teachers' Day is a school holiday for students in primary and secondary schools and junior colleges/centralised institutes in Singapore celebrated on 1 September. In China, it is celebrated on September 10. Although it is not a national holiday in China, it is a custom for students to visit teachers that have taught them before on this day.

Spiritual teacher

In Hinduism the spiritual teacher is known as a guru. Traditionally, a spiritual seeker would revere his or her guru highly, and demonstrate utmost submission and humility through menial service in order to prove worthy to be a recipient of the knowledge the guru has attained by initiation practices. There are many sayings on the teacher like "Guru devo bhava" (Guru is God), which reflects of the esteem associated with a guru's role.
In the Latter Day Saint movement the teacher is an office in the Aaronic priesthood, while in Tibetan Buddhism the teachers of Dharma in Tibet are most commonly called a Lama. A Lama who has through phowa and siddhi consciously determined to be reborn, often many times, in order to continue their Bodhisattva vow is called a Tulku.
There are many concepts of teachers in Islam, ranging from mullahs (the teachers at madrassas) to ulemas.
A Rabbi is generally regarded as the Jewish spiritual teacher.


teaching in Bulgarian: Учител
teaching in Catalan: Mestre
teaching in Chuvash: Вĕрентекен
teaching in Czech: Učitel
teaching in Danish: Lærer
teaching in German: Lehrer
teaching in Spanish: Maestro
teaching in Esperanto: Instruisto
teaching in French: Enseignant
teaching in Hebrew: מורה
teaching in Croatian: Učitelj
teaching in Indonesian: Guru
teaching in Italian: Docente
teaching in Latin: Magister
teaching in Latvian: Skolotājs
teaching in Lithuanian: Mokytojas
teaching in Lojban: preske
teaching in Malay (macrolanguage): Guru
teaching in Dutch: Onderwijzer
teaching in Japanese: 教員
teaching in Norwegian: Lærer
teaching in Polish: Nauczyciel
teaching in Russian: Учитель
teaching in Albanian: Mësuesi
teaching in Simple English: Teacher
teaching in Finnish: Opettaja
teaching in Swedish: Lärare
teaching in Thai: ครู
teaching in Ukrainian: Педагог
teaching in Yiddish: לערער
teaching in Contenese: 先生
teaching in Chinese: 教师

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

a belief, adage, ana, analects, aphorism, apothegm, article of faith, assignment, autodidactic, axiom, belief, byword, canon, catchword, chalk talk, charge, coeducational, collected sayings, command, commission, credo, creed, cultural, current saying, dictate, dictum, didactic, direction, disciplinary, discourse, disquisition, distich, doctrine, dogma, edifying, educating, educational, educative, enlightening, epigram, exercise, exhortatory, exposition, expression, faith, gnome, golden saying, harangue, homework, homiletic, homily, hortatory, illuminating, informative, initiatory, injunction, instruction, instructive, introductory, lecture, lecture-demonstration, lecturing, lesson, maxim, moral, moral lesson, morality, moralization, mot, motto, object lesson, oracle, order, orthodoxy, phrase, pithy saying, preaching, preachment, precept, preceptive, prescript, prescription, principle, propaedeutic, proverb, proverbial saying, proverbs, recital, recitation, religion, religious belief, religious faith, saw, saying, self-teaching, sentence, sententious expression, sermon, set task, skull session, sloka, stock saying, sutra, system of beliefs, talk, task, tenet, text, theology, tradition, tuitionary, verse, wisdom, wisdom literature, wise saying, witticism, word, words of wisdom
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