Profession of those who give instruction, especially in an elementary or secondary school or a university. The teaching profession is a relatively new one. Traditionally, parents, elders, religious leaders, and sages were responsible for teaching children how to behave and think and what to believe. Germany introduced the first formal criteria for the education of teachers in the 18th century. In the 19th century, as society became more industrialized, the concept of schooling became more universal. In industrialized nations today, most teachers are university graduates. Teacher-training programs usually include both general and specialized academic, cultural, or vocational courses; the study of educational principles; and a series of professional courses combined with practical experience in a typical school setting. Most countries also require professional certification following formal training. See alsoNational Education Association.