Two examples of professional linguistic analysis.
This post has two parts:
Part I: The meaning of “master”, “professional”, and “expert”.
Part I: The meaning of “master”, “professional”, and “expert”.
People often use the same words, but imply different meanings. “You told me that …”. “Yes, but, this is what I meant!”.
People believe that the sentence they say has only one meaning – the one they imply in it – but in reality, very often that sentence may have other interpretations. Misunderstanding happens when another person who listen to the sentence perceive its another interpretation. However, that person often does not realize that his/her interpretation is only an interpretation, and believes that his/her interpretation represents the only possible meaning of the sentence, hence believes that what he/she perceives is equal to what the author of the sentence means. In the end, two people (an author and a receiver/listener) assign different meanings to the same sentence, and when they argue, the argue about different things.
When a word or a sentence has a different meaning or interpretation, then we have a case of ambiguity.
Ambiguity is a common reason for misunderstanding.
Clarity is the opposite of the ambiguity.
Clarity becomes with separation of different meanings that used to be used for the same word/term assigning those meanings to different words/terms.
This procedure has a name – a definition. We define the meaning of a word by assigning to that word one specific meaning.
Of course, that is not always possible, but definitions are the fundamental basis for a scientific language.
Science cannot have any ambiguity.
As an example of this approach let us assign specific meaning to three different terms: a master, a professional and an expert.
If you do a simple internet search, this is what you find.
What we immediately notice is that the descriptions do not place the terms in one linguistic domain. However, in our professional life, we use all these terms as a description of a person who has specific work-related responsibilities.
That means, first we need to define a domain where these words would have to be used with their specific meaning, and then we need to assign that meaning.
Let us narrow the domain to professional qualification evaluation.
We will use these terms do describe a person form the point of the quality of view of his/her work.
This is my view and my proposition for assigning specific meanings to terms “master”, “professional”, and “expert”.
The roots of mastership are in the sense of decency.
A master stems from a decent person.
But in this case decency is not understood like a moral prerogative, i.e. to be a good person.
Here, in the field of professional qualification evaluation, decency is understood in a sense of - an intention to do the right thing.
Sometimes the right thing to do may feel moral for one person but immoral for other people.
Maybe there is a better word for a person who always tries to do the right thing, but I do not know that term.
By stating that “decency is an intention to do the right thing” we define the meaning of this term in the field of
And then we start describing the meaning of term “master” by stating that master bust be decent.
If a person does not have decency (when we talk about professional qualification evaluation), it means the person cannot be called a master.
But not every decent person is a master.
Being decent is only the first component of being a master.
It is not enough just to want to do the right thing.
One also has to know what the right thing is (that implies understanding of why that is the right thing to do) and how to do it (that implies an ability to perform the required actions).
These two components represent an expert and a professional.
And expert is the one who knows what is right to do, and a professional knows how to do it. But an expert or a professional may not always want to do the right thing.
Now, after we defined “expert” and “professional” we can define “master”.
A master is a decent expert and professional.
A master knows what is the right thing to do, knows how to do it, and wants to do it.
When a master encounters something wrong, he/she wants to fix it, to make it right, and also has abilities (knowledge and skills) to do it.
A specific approach to professional evaluation and development of teachers, called “Professional Designing”, is described in this publication: “Professional Designing For Teachers”.
Part II: What is “chaos” in a social setting.
Recently I came across an email where a faculty says: “I always expect that the first day of the class will be very chaotic”.
There are two major sources for this type of chaos.
The number one source of chaos is students who do not follow instructions.
In a social system, chaos is a presence of many unexpected events.
Of course, some unexpected events could be due to spontaneous change in the environment, like a natural or technological disaster.
But no one expects an earthquake or a tsunami on the first day of classes.
Hence, the actual unexpected events are the ones initiated by humans.
That means humans – students – will act unpredictably, unexpectedly, not according to the expectations of an instructor.
If all students would have been acting according to the expectations of an instructor, there would be no chaos.
But why don’t students act according to the expectations of an instructor?
Do they do it on purpose?
Or they are incapable of acting like they are supposed to?
Or those expectations are unrealistic?
In my experience, the majority of students want to do the most to succeed, and that includes following instructions. In most of the cases, the main reason for student not actin according to the expectations of an instructor is that those expectations are not articulated in a clear form.
In simple words, the most common source of chaos is insufficient instructions.
Chaos happens when an instructor did not provide students with exact and accurate instructions of what, when and how to do.
This is called bad planning.
Bad planning leads to chaos.
The events of the first day of a class heavily depends on the quality of planning on the part of the instructor.
Planning is a skill and can be trained, improved, developed.
A specific approach to professional evaluation and development of teachers, including planning, is described in this publication: “Professional Designing For Teachers”.
Dr. Valentin Voroshilov
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