Despite increased funding and many reforms, most education systems are still seeking ways to better prepare their students for a world in which technological change and the digital revolution are changing the way we work, live and relate to one another. Education systems that have succeeded in improving student outcomes show that the way forward is by making teachers the top priority. The adaptability of education systems and their ability to evolve ultimately depends on enabling teachers to transform what and how students learn. This requires strong support and training for teachers, both before and after they enter the profession, with new forms of professional development to help teachers engage in more direct instruction and adapt it to the needs of their diverse classrooms. Education systems need to perform well in two dimensions: excellence and equity. Many high performers do well on both, demonstrating that they are not mutually exclusive. To do so requires specific measures to overcome factors that can hinder student performance, such as socio-economic background, immigrant status and gender.
- 24 Mar 2017
Foreword and Acknowledgements
The expectations for teachers are high and rising each day. We expect teachers to have a deep understanding of what they teach and to keep up with the rapidly expanding knowledge base; to be passionate, compassionate and thoughtful; to make learning central and encourage students’ engagement and responsibility; to respond effectively to students of different needs, backgrounds and mother tongues, and to promote tolerance and social cohesion; to provide continual assessments of students and feedback; and to ensure that students feel valued and included and that learning is collaborative. We also expect teachers themselves to collaborate and work in teams, and with other schools and parents, to set common goals, and plan and monitor the attainment of goals collaboratively. And there is more to this: successful learners generally had a teacher who was a mentor and took a real interest in their aspirations, who helped students understand who they are, discover what their passions are and where they can capitalise on their specific strength; who taught them how to love to learn and to build effective learning strategies as the foundation for lifelong learning.