International Summit on the Teaching Profession

2312-7090 (online)
2312-7082 (print)
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The International Summit on the Teaching Profession brings together education ministers, union leaders and other teacher leaders from high-performing and rapidly improving education systems to review how best to improve the quality of teachers, teaching and learning. Each year, Summit organisers produce a report on the state of the profession that is used as a springboard for discussions. This series is a collection of those reports.

Empowering and Enabling Teachers to Improve Equity and Outcomes for All

Empowering and Enabling Teachers to Improve Equity and Outcomes for All You do not have access to this content

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24 Mar 2017
9789264273238 (PDF) ;9789264273221(print)

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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.

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  • 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.

  • Executive Summary

    Despite increased funding, expansion of different educational levels and many reforms, most education systems around the world have not yet found effective ways to improve outcomes to prepare students for our volatile and uncertain world and its increasing demands for higher non-routine skills. As the Red Queen says to Alice in Through the Looking-Glass (Lewis Carroll): “Now, here, you see, it takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place. If you want to get somewhere else, you must run at least twice as fast as that!” This might well be a metaphor for our rapidly changing environment, where education systems need to adapt continuously to keep up with the rapid pace at which technological change and the digital revolution are affecting the way we work, live and relate to one another. Keeping up requires improving the performance of all students, overcoming the factors that may hinder their outcomes, and equipping them with new sets of skills.

  • 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.

  • Ensuring appropriate national education structures and policy environment

    In recent decades, many OECD countries have decentralised their education systems. Many have shifted responsibilities from the central government to different levels of governance, often with greater autonomy for regions, local authorities and schools. Success in granting this increased autonomy depends largely on whether much-needed capacity was built as these new responsibilities were being transferred, and to what extent the regions, local authorities and schools took on increased accountability for student outcomes to parents, communities and education authorities. With this increased complexity in governance arrangements, the efficiency of structures at the systemic level has a direct impact on the quality of the education system, and the increased number of stakeholders requires greater levels of collaboration in both design and implementation of reforms.

  • Striving for sustainable excellence and equity in learning

    High-quality education systems do well in both student performance and equity. These systems have high standards for all students, but also put in place measures to support students who are facing greater challenges. Many countries achieve this winning combination of excellence and equity by addressing factors known to hinder student performance, such as socioeconomic background, gender and immigrant status. Policies to minimise the impact of these factors include providing good-quality early childhood education and care, identifying students at risk of dropping out and offering them additional support and alternative pathways (such as vocational education and training), allocating additional resources to schools in deprived areas, developing the capacity to integrate migrants from different cultural backgrounds and overcome language barriers, and combating prejudices and stereotypes that often influence the perceptions of boys and girls of their abilities in certain fields and their future career expectations.

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