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
Professional learning and development to support teachers' work
Education systems around the world are changing in order to equip students with higher levels of skills and new horizontal skills. Teachers need support to actively participate in this transformation and demand high standards from all students, while taking into account the increasing diversity in their classrooms. In most countries, teachers undergo pre-service training, followed by a selection process, with subsequent in-service training provided mostly through courses and workshops. New evidence shows that the proportion of certified teachers and most forms of professional development have a weak impact on student performance. Thus, many reforms aim to improve the quality of teacher training, make selection procedures more demanding, develop new forms of professional development and raise curricular standards. Since teacher-directed and adaptive instruction have a positive impact on student outcomes, school autonomy has beneficial effects when school principals and teachers are prepared to use their responsibility effectively and schools are held accountable. But teachers can only be effective if the disciplinary climate in the classroom is positive.