Chapter 4. Attracting and effectively preparing candidates

This chapter examines the process through which in-service teachers were attracted to the profession and describes how teachers and school leaders were prepared for their roles. After analysing the prevalence and features of training programmes identified as effective in the research literature, it examines the relationship between the features of these programmes and a range of quality indicators, including teachers’ sense of preparedness, self-efficacy in teaching and job satisfaction. Adopting a model that considers teacher education as a continuum, the chapter also explores the support provided to new teachers in their early career years.

    

A note regarding Israel

The statistical data for Israel are supplied by and under the responsibility of the relevant Israeli authorities. The use of such data by the OECD is without prejudice to the status of the Golan Heights, East Jerusalem and Israeli settlements in the West Bank under the terms of international law.

Highlights
  • Across the OECD countries and economies that participate in the Teaching and Learning International Survey (TALIS), around 90% of teachers consider the opportunity to influence children’s development and contribute to society to be a major motivation for joining the profession. Only 60% to 70% of teachers report that the financial package and working conditions of the teaching profession were important to them, but this share is higher in countries where teachers are highly valued in society and their economic status is better than that of other professions.

  • On average across OECD countries and economies in TALIS, two out of three teachers report that teaching was their first choice as a career. While almost 70% of women report teaching as their first choice as a career, only 59% of men do so.

  • Other than subject content, pedagogy and classroom practice, teachers’ formal education and training tends to include instruction on student behaviour and classroom management (for 72% of all teachers across OECD countries and economies in TALIS), monitoring students’ development and learning (70%), teaching cross-curricular skills (65%), teaching in a mixed-ability setting (62%) and use of information and communication technology (ICT) for teaching (56%). In comparison, teaching in a multicultural or multilingual setting (35%) is more rarely included as an element of teachers’ formal education or training.

  • School leaders have a higher level of educational attainment than teachers, with 63% of school leaders but only 44% of teachers holding a master’s degree or equivalent, on average across the OECD countries and economies that participate in TALIS. However, only 54% of school leaders have completed a programme or course in school administration or principal training before taking up their position as principal, with the same share having completed an instructional leadership training programme or course.

  • On average across OECD countries and economies in TALIS, novice teachers work one hour less per week in total than teachers with more than five years of experience. This is because novice teachers tend to work part-time more often than experienced teachers do.

  • On average across OECD countries and economies in TALIS, only 38% of teachers participated in either formal or informal induction activities in their first employment, and 42% did so at their current school. Nevertheless, teachers who took part in some kind of induction activity tend to feel more confident in their teaching abilities and more satisfied with their job.

  • While school principals generally consider mentoring to be important for teachers’ work and students’ performance, only 22% of novice teachers have an assigned mentor, on average across OECD countries and economies in TALIS.

Introduction

Many countries grapple with the difficulties of attracting individuals, particularly highly-skilled and motivated candidates, to become teachers and school leaders and training them adequately for their roles. Yet, there is evidence that certain features of initial teacher training systems, such as programme duration, certification or content, do make a difference in teaching quality and student learning (Darling-Hammond, 2000[1]; Hanushek, Kain and Rivkin, 1998[2]). It is, thus, crucial to explore the features of selection (and self-selection) of future teachers and training systems for teachers and principals to help countries to overcome these difficulties.

The second part of this volume, which begins here, examines how initial training for teachers and principals (Chapter 4) and in-service training (Chapter 5) can drive the success of teaching and schooling. This is done by analysing the prevalence and features of training programmes identified as effective in the research literature and the relationship between the features of such programmes and a range of quality indicators, including teachers’ sense of preparedness, self-efficacy in teaching and job satisfaction.

This chapter focuses on the mechanisms available to support lifelong learning for teachers and school leaders throughout their careers. In line with the recent OECD report Flying Start – Improving Initial Teacher Preparation Systems, this chapter adopts a model that considers teacher education as a continuum (König and Mulder, 2014[3]; Roberts-Hull, Jensen and Cooper, 2015[4]), and examines how teachers new to the profession are supported in their early career years, after initial recruitment, selection and training. The chapter also expands the relatively limited knowledge about the prevalence and features of initial training for principals, in a cross-country comparative perspective.

What motivates teachers to choose the profession?

A recent OECD report explored system-level aspects of teacher policies that are common and, in some cases, unique to countries and economies with high performance in the OECD Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) (OECD, 2018[5]). The report analysed indicators on teachers’ careers and teacher-appraisal systems from Education at a Glance and expanded to partner countries and economies participating in PISA 2015, through a special system-level data collection (OECD, 2018, pp. 42-43[5]). It revealed that high-performing countries often use different instruments to select teachers, including competitive examinations for admission, pre-service teacher education to start teaching and successful completion of a probation period. The same diversity of instruments is found among TALIS countries and economies – see Tables II.6.56 and II.6.57 in PISA 2015 Results (Volume II): Policies and Practices for Successful Schools (2016[6]).

However, only a few countries seem able to attract into teaching students who perform in the upper part of the school achievement distribution (Blömeke, Kaiser and Lehmann, 2010[7]; Golsteyn, Vermeulen and de Wolf, 2016[8]; Tatto et al., 2012[9]). In PISA 2015, the typical profile of students who expected to work as teachers later in life varies across countries. However, in many countries, students who expect to work as teachers have poorer mathematics and reading skills than those who expect to work in other professions that, like teaching, require at least a university degree (OECD, 2018, p. 130[5]). While factors that shape teenagers’ career expectations greatly determine the overall pool of future candidates to enter the teaching profession, PISA results still need to be regarded cautiously, as they are based on the expectations and proficiency of 15-year-old students, rather than those of actual or candidate teachers. One paper has actually used available data from international adult skills surveys to examine the cognitive skills of teachers. Using data for countries that have participated in either the Adult Literacy and Lifeskills (ALL) survey or the OECD Programme for International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC), Golsteyn, Vermeulen and de Wolf (2016[8]) find that the literacy and numeracy skills of primary and secondary teachers are higher than the average for the overall population and not so different from the proficiency of the average tertiary graduate. Some researchers also looked at whether the cognitive skills of teachers, as measured by PIAAC, can explain between-country differences in student achievement, as measured by PISA, and they found a strong positive association between teachers’ skills and students’ outcomes in PISA (Hanushek, Piopiunik and Wiederhold, 2014[10]; Meroni, Vera-Toscano and Costa, 2015[11]).

Beyond the system-level approaches for selecting candidates, TALIS can help to better understand the self-selective process through which teachers choose their profession. This step can actually be considered prior to actual teacher selection or recruitment. Logically, individuals must be attracted by a job to apply for it, although the information known about the selection process may affect an individual’s occupational interests. Exploring individuals’ motivations to become teachers helps to shed light on the aspects of teaching that make the profession attractive. This can help policy makers to design recruitment campaigns or teacher policies to enhance the attractiveness of the profession. However, TALIS data is limited for this purpose, as TALIS questionnaires are administered only to in-service teachers. They do not reach candidates who fail to enter the profession or those who leave it after some initial experience.

TALIS asks teachers how important seven factors were in their motivation to become a teacher, asking them to mark one choice among four options: “not important at all”; “of low importance”; “of moderate importance”; or “of high importance”. The most important motivations reported by teachers pertain to a certain sense of self-fulfilment through public service. On average across the OECD1, around 90% of teachers consider it of moderate to high importance that “teaching allowed [them] to influence the development of children and young people” (92%) and “teaching allowed [them] to provide a contribution to society” (88%). In addition, 75% of teachers report that “benefitting the socially disadvantaged” was a motivating factor of moderate or high importance in their decision to become a teacher. The factors reported least often pertain to the economic characteristics and working conditions of the profession: 1) “teaching offered a steady career path” (61% of teachers across the OECD reported this as a motivating factor of moderate or high importance); 2) “the teaching schedule (e.g. hours, holidays, part-time positions) fits with responsibilities in my personal life” (66%); 3) “teaching provided a reliable income” (67%); and 4) “teaching was a secure job” (71%) (Figure I.4.1, Table I.4.1).

There is little variation across countries in the most frequently reported motivating factors to join the teaching profession. Influencing the development of children and young people is the most frequently reported factor in 37 countries and economies and the second most frequently reported factor in 10 countries. But there are some notable exceptions, countries where the economic and working conditions of teachers’ jobs weigh particularly heavily in the decision to become a teacher. Job security is the most cited factor by teachers in Latvia (93% of teachers find it of moderate or high importance in deciding to become a teacher) and the second most cited factor in Japan (86%) and Korea (88%). That teaching offered a steady career path (95%) and a secure job (93%) are also as frequently reported as more altruistic motives by teachers in Shanghai (China). Finally, that teaching provided a reliable income and offered a steady career path are the second and third most cited factors by teachers in Finland (reported by about 75% of teachers) (Table I.4.1). These few exceptions are in countries where the teaching profession is typically highly valued in society (OECD, 2014[12]). Interestingly, these countries and economies also are among the top-performing systems in PISA. All this suggests that high-performing systems have developed both an efficient workforce and an economically attractive profession, factors that work together to attract quality candidates to the ranks of future generations of teachers. The challenge for policy makers is to understand how to initiate this positive spiral of change. The second volume of this report will delve deeper into some of these issues to better understand what is distinctive about other aspects of teacher professionalism in high-performing systems.

Figure I.4.1. Motivations to become a teacher
Percentage of lower secondary teachers who report that the following elements were of “moderate” or “high” importance in becoming a teacher (OECD average-31)
Figure I.4.1. Motivations to become a teacher

Values are ranked in descending order of the importance of the motivation for becoming a teacher.

Source: OECD, TALIS 2018 Database, Table I.4.1.

 StatLink http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/888933932475

Motivations to become a teacher do not differ greatly between novice teachers (teachers with up to five years of teaching experience) and more experienced teachers (those with more than five years of experience). On average in OECD countries and economies, novice teachers are more likely to consider benefitting the socially disadvantaged as a factor of moderate or high importance. This holds true in 12 countries and economies, particularly in European Nordic countries (Finland, Iceland, Norway), Estonia and New Zealand, where there is a difference of 10 or more percentage points between the shares of novice teachers and experienced teachers citing the importance of benefitting the socially disadvantaged (Table I.4.1). Across the OECD, novice teachers are less likely to consider job security a factor of moderate or high importance. This holds true in 18 countries and economies, especially in Portugal, where 71% of experienced teachers and only 39% of novice teachers report job security as an important factor.

These differences between novice and experienced teachers may result from generational effects, whereby those who grew up before the years of mass unemployment and mass migration are less concerned with benefit to the socially disadvantaged than those who grew up more recently, for whom unemployment and diversity have always been part of their experience (Heath et al., 2016[13]). Given that teachers are asked to respond retrospectively about their initial motivations for joining the profession, the gap should not result from any age effect, but it may be the case that older people with additional family responsibilities retrospectively value job security more highly. It may also result from a period effect, whereby there is less and less job security in the education sector. Faced with teacher shortages, some education systems (particularly in developing countries) have accepted lower certification and educational requirements, eliminated teacher tenure, hired inexperienced teachers on a contract basis and curtailed teacher salaries to fill vacant teaching positions (Chudgar, Chandra and Razzaque, 2014[14]). By contrast, some other education systems, such as the Netherlands, may have improved contract modalities by offering higher salaries, thanks to a combination of government contributions to labour cost development and additional investments.

TALIS also asks teachers whether teaching was their first choice as a career, defined as having a paid job that one regarded as likely to form one’s life’s work. On average across the OECD, two out of three teachers did report that teaching was their first choice as a career (Table I.4.4). But there are important cross-country variations. Fewer teachers report teaching as their first career choice in English-speaking countries, including England (United Kingdom) and the United States (both 59%), Australia (58%), New Zealand (55%), and some European countries, including Finland and Sweden (both 59%) and the Netherlands (53%), in Ciudad Autónoma de Buenos Aires (hereafter CABA) (Argentina) (53%), as well as in South Africa (49%). More teachers report teaching as their first career choice in the eastern part of the globe, including Viet Nam (93%), Georgia (89%), Shanghai (China) (87%), Saudi Arabia (83%), Japan (82%) and Korea (80%), but also in Portugal (84%) and Slovenia (82%). These cross-country variations may reflect institutional differences in the selection and certification processes of teacher candidates, with more selective and lengthy systems leading to higher shares of first-choice vocations. They could also result from cultural differences in the way individuals view their working life and in national job markets, with possibly more flexibility and mobility across sectors in English-speaking and European Nordic countries, and more stability in the eastern countries. The likelihood of reporting teaching as a first career choice also varies greatly by teacher gender. In almost all TALIS countries and economies, significantly fewer male teachers report teaching as their first career choice than their female counterparts. The largest gender differences are observed in Eastern European countries, especially in Estonia (41% of male teachers versus 69% of female teachers) and Latvia (55% versus 76%) (Table I.4.4). This global gender difference is consistent with that found in professional aspirations reported by 15-year-old students in PISA (OECD, 2018[5]). In 2006 and 2015, on average across OECD countries and economies, 15-year-old boys were less likely than girls to expect to work as teachers by the time they are 30 years old, suggesting that teaching was more often envisaged by girls as a first career choice than by boys.

Motivations to become a teacher differ depending on whether or not one considered teaching a first career choice. In quite a few countries and economies participating in TALIS, teachers whose main motivation to enter the profession is to have a steady career path or a secure job, to influence the development of children or to contribute to society, also tend to make teaching their first career choice. However, in around one-third of the countries and economies participating in TALIS, teachers for whom teaching was not a first choice tend to be motivated by the work schedule of the profession (Figure I.4.2, Table I.4.5). This suggests that later vocations are, perhaps, motivated by the possibility of better reconciling work life with the responsibilities of personal life.

Figure I.4.2. Relationship between teaching as a career choice and motivation to become a teacher
Likelihood of teaching not being a first choice as a career related to the teaching schedule fitting responsibilities in the personal life reported as being of “moderate” or “high” importance in the decision to become a teacher1, 2
Figure I.4.2. Relationship between teaching as a career choice and motivation to become a teacher

1. Results of binary logistic regression based on lower secondary teachers’ reports. The regression model also included six other explanatory variables referring to different motivations to become a teacher and was controlled for the following teacher characteristics: gender and age.

2. An odds ratio indicates the degree to which an explanatory variable is associated with a categorical outcome variable. An odds ratio below one denotes a negative association; an odds ratio above one indicates a positive association; and an odds ratio of one means that there is no association.

Note: Statistically significant coefficients are marked in a darker tone (see Annex B). Countries and economies are ranked in descending order of the likelihood of teaching not being a first choice as a career, related to the teaching schedule fitting responsibilities in the teacher’s personal life reported as being of “moderate” or “high” importance in the decision to become a teacher.

Source: OECD, TALIS 2018 Database, Table I.4.5.

 StatLink http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/888933932494

The desire of teachers to make teaching their first choice as a profession is also related to job satisfaction and reported self-efficacy. Regression analysis shows that, after controlling for teacher characteristics, such as gender and teaching experience, and for teachers’ self-efficacy, those teachers whose first career choice was teaching are also more likely to be satisfied with their job (Table I.4.6). The relationship holds in all but three countries with available data participating in TALIS (Lithuania, Portugal and the United States). Similarly, irrespective of gender and teaching experience, teachers for whom teaching was their first career choice also tend to report higher self-efficacy in around two-thirds of countries and economies participating in TALIS (Table I.4.7). This may derive from the fact that teachers for whom teaching was their first career choice pursued a more linear study and career path, which brings along a higher sense of purpose and individual performance. Nevertheless, regression results need to be interpreted with caution, as the explanatory power of the model is limited (the coefficients of determination R2 are low).

Box I.4.1. Motivations to join the teaching profession for primary and upper secondary teachers

TALIS findings suggest that primary, lower secondary and upper secondary teachers have somewhat different reasons for joining the profession. Overall, in the 13 countries and economies with data for ISCED 1 and 2, there is a greater prevalence of altruistic motives among primary teachers than among lower secondary teachers, such as wanting to “benefit the socially-disadvantaged”, “contribute to society” and “influence the development of children and young people”, with these considered to be of “moderate” or “high importance” (Table I.4.2). In 7 of the 13 countries and economies, significantly more primary teachers than lower secondary teachers cite at least two out of these three aspects as important factors for them in deciding to become teachers. With respect to job security as a factor of moderate or high importance for motivating teachers to join the profession, more primary teachers in Japan (+6 percentage points), Korea (+4 percentage points) and Viet Nam (+3 percentage points) cite it than their lower secondary counterparts. However, in Spain (44%, -14 percentage points) and France (59%, -6 percentage points), job security is cited significantly less frequently as an important motivating factor among primary teachers than among lower secondary teachers.

Among upper secondary teachers from the 11 countries with ISCED 3 data, the most common motivating factor remains “to influence the development of children and young people” across all countries with available data (Table I.4.3). Yet, in 6 of the 11 countries with ISCED 2 and 3 data, fewer upper secondary teachers than their lower secondary counterparts consider this factor to be moderately or highly important. In Denmark, Slovenia and Viet Nam, in particular, all of the altruistic motives (“benefiting the socially-disadvantaged”, “contributing to society” and “influencing the development of children and young people”) are cited by fewer upper secondary teachers than lower secondary teachers. Factors pertaining to the economic and working conditions of the profession, such as job security and teaching as a source of “reliable income”, are more prevalent among upper secondary teachers than lower secondary teachers in Croatia (up to +4 percentage points) and Denmark (up to +10 percentage points). The opposite pattern is observed in Portugal and Turkey.

How ready are teachers for teaching?

Once motivated and selected into the teaching profession, future teachers need to be trained in the best possible manner to deliver quality teaching to their future students. Indeed, opportunities to learn during teacher education contribute to specific types of teacher knowledge. That knowledge has an effect on the teaching strategies adopted by teachers and the quality of their instruction (Blömeke, Gustafsson and Shavelson, 2015[15]), which are, in turn, significantly related to student achievement (Baumert et al., 2010[16]; Hill, Rowan and Ball, 2005[17]; Kersting et al., 2012[18]). A closer look at teacher education can help understand the outcomes of teacher education and where potential starting points for reforms may lie. We can regard opportunities to learn in teacher education as deliberately developed by educational policy makers and teacher education institutions to achieve the specific goals of an education system (Stark and Lattuca, 1997[19]). As such, specifications underpinning initial teacher education programmes reflect the particular visions of knowledge and skills that a country (or an education system) and its teacher education institutions expect teachers to have (Blömeke and Kaiser, 2012[20]; Schmidt, Blömeke and Tatto, 2011[21]).

Initial teacher education

TALIS can support the examination of multiple features of initial teacher education: the typical level of education attained by teachers and the elements included in it, as well as the sequence in which they are presented. To begin with, TALIS 2018 asks teachers about the highest level of formal education they have completed, using the 2011 International Standard Classification of Education (ISCED-2011; see Annex B for more details). The typical level of education attained by teachers varies slightly across countries. On average across OECD countries and economies, the majority of teachers report that they have completed a bachelor’s degree or higher, with about 50% of teachers reporting a bachelor’s degree or equivalent as their highest educational attainment (ISCED level 6)2 (Figure I.4.3, Table I.4.8). That is also the highest educational level completed by more than 75% of teachers in Alberta (Canada), Australia, Belgium (including the Flemish Community), Brazil, Chile, Denmark, Japan, Kazakhstan, New Zealand, Saudi Arabia, Shanghai (China), Turkey and Viet Nam. Another, smaller share of teachers (44% in OECD countries and economies) report a master’s degree or equivalent, including stronger specialisation and more complex content than a bachelor’s degree (ISCED level 7), as their highest level of educational attainment. More than 75% of teachers completed a master’s degree as their highest level of education in Croatia, the Czech Republic, Finland, Georgia, Italy, Portugal and the Slovak Republic.3 Across OECD countries and economies, 1.3% of teachers report holding a doctoral degree or equivalent (ISCED level 8), while the highest shares of teachers with doctoral degrees (4% or more) are observed in European countries: the Czech Republic, France and Italy. The share of doctoral degrees among teachers has risen over the past five years in many countries, including France, Italy, and Romania. The rise observed in the share of doctoral-degree holders is not a phenomenon limited to the teacher population. It is also seen in the general adult population aged 25 to 64 of many countries, between 2014 and 2017, according to the OECD series of Education at a Glance (OECD, 2018[22]).

Figure I.4.3. Highest educational attainment of teachers and principals
Results based on responses of lower secondary teachers and principals1, 2
Figure I.4.3. Highest educational attainment of teachers and principals

1. Education categories are based on the International Standard Classification of Education (ISCED-2011). ISCED levels 6 and 7 programmes are generally longer and more theory-based, while ISCED level 5 programmes are typically shorter and more practical and skills-oriented.

2. ISCED level 5 includes bachelor’s degrees in some countries.

3. OECD average covers 31 countries for teachers and 30 countries for principals (see Annex B).

Countries and economies are ranked in descending order of the percentage of lower secondary teachers whose highest level of formal education is either ISCED level 7 or ISCED level 8.

Source: OECD, TALIS 2018 Database, Tables I.4.8 and I.4.24.

 StatLink http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/888933932513

Across OECD countries and economies, 1.3% of teachers report holding a doctoral degree or equivalent (ISCED level 8), while the highest shares of teachers with doctoral degrees (4% or more) are observed in European countries: the Czech Republic, France and Italy. The share of doctoral degrees among teachers has risen over the past five years in many countries, including France, Italy, and Romania. The rise observed in the share of doctoral-degree holders is not a phenomenon limited to the teacher population. It is also seen in the general adult population aged 25 to 64 of many countries, between 2014 and 2017, according to the OECD series of Education at a Glance (OECD, 2018[22]).

Finally, another 5% of teachers across the OECD report having completed, at most, a short-cycle tertiary education programme (ISCED level 5 and below) (Table I.4.8). While the proportion of teachers with a short-cycle tertiary education (ISCED level 5)4 as their highest level of formal education is negligible in most countries (less than 1%), the share exceeds 20% in a few countries and economies: Austria (35%), CABA (Argentina) (23%), Slovenia (23%), South Africa (56%) and Viet Nam (19%) (Table I.4.8). The fact that the OECD identified four years as the most frequent duration of initial teacher education among countries and economies with high performance on PISA (OECD, 2018, p. 46[5]) may suggest exploring the possibility of extending the duration and content of post-secondary studies for teacher training programmes to at least four years – if this feature is not already enforced. It seems that some systems have already taken action to meet this objective, as the share of teachers without a bachelor’s or equivalent degree (ISCED level 5 and below) has decreased in many countries over the past five to ten years. For example, in 2007, Argentina increased compulsory initial teacher training from three to four years (Instituto Nacional de Formación Docente, 2007[23]). A decline by 10 or more percentage points has been observed in Austria, Iceland, Lithuania and Slovenia since 2008 and in Chile and Croatia since 2013 (Table I.4.11). There are likely two factors at play behind this decline: more years needed to obtain qualifications for recent entrants combined with waves of retirements and early departures for teachers who took fewer years to obtain their qualifications.

Past research has identified the advantages and disadvantages of the concurrent model, the consecutive model and the coexistence of the two models of initial teacher education (Musset, 2010[24]). Concurrent programmes, where academic subjects are studied alongside educational and professional studies throughout the duration of the training, allow a more integrated learning experience, as pedagogical and subject-matter (content knowledge) training take place at the same time. But they allow little flexibility in entering the teaching profession, especially for those who have studied something other than education. Consecutive programmes offer specialised courses in pedagogy and in teacher education after completion of another degree in a subject. This allows more flexible entry into the teaching profession, coupled with weaker professional identity, giving teachers strong expertise in a given subject, but weaker knowledge in learning techniques and pedagogy in general. Having both concurrent and consecutive programmes can help to attract different profiles of individuals into the teaching profession, but they can also trigger extra costs for education systems, as they have to maintain two training systems in parallel (Musset, 2010[24]).

Teacher education programmes can vary greatly from one teacher education institution to another and from country to country (Blömeke, Kaiser and Lehmann, 2010[7]; Tatto et al., 2012[9]). TALIS asks teachers how they received their first teaching qualification. Across the 33 countries and economies that administered this optional question, most teachers reported having completed a regular concurrent teacher education or training programme (Table I.4.12) that grants future teachers a single credential for studies in subject-matter content, pedagogy and other courses in education during the first period of post-secondary education. More than 75% of teachers completed a concurrent training programme in Belgium (including the Flemish Community), Finland, Hungary, Korea, Shanghai (China), the Slovak Republic, Turkey and Viet Nam, while less than 25% of teachers did so in Colombia, England (United Kingdom) and France. In these three countries, teachers most frequently received their qualification in a regular consecutive teacher education or training programme, which requires future teachers to complete two phases of post-secondary education: a first phase of university education with the focus on subject matter and a second phase with the focus on pedagogy and practicum. These programmes are mostly prevalent in English-speaking countries, including England (United Kingdom) (75% of teachers completed a consecutive training programme), Alberta (Canada) (53%) and Australia (47%) (Table I.4.12).

Consecutive programmes, which are less common than concurrent programmes, seem to recently be on the rise in many countries and economies, including Alberta (Canada), Croatia, Estonia, Hungary, Iceland, Romania, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. In these countries, the share of teachers who completed a regular consecutive teacher education programme in the five years prior to the survey is larger than the total share in the whole teacher population (Table I.4.12). This could potentially be a response to important teacher shortages, whereby teacher candidates who already hold a tertiary education degree in some subject are allowed to only enrol in the second phase of teacher studies with a strong focus on pedagogy and practicum. But increasing shares of teachers who graduated from a consecutive programme could also be the sign that more and more students postpone the time at which they need to make a clear career choice.

Some systems also offer fast-track or specialised education or training programmes.5 These refer to pathways into a teaching job that are not regular teaching education or training programmes in terms of duration and/or content, but programmes designed for specific groups such as high-profile young graduates, second-career candidates, candidates with some teaching experience, or graduates with high levels of subject knowledge. Countries where the share of teachers receiving their first qualification from such programmes is greater than 10% are the United Arab Emirates (17%) and Colombia (11%).

Across all countries and economies participating in TALIS, less than 10% of teachers completed subject-specific education only, except in Romania (23%), Latvia (22%), France (19%), Georgia (18%), Lithuania (16%), Mexico (14%) and CABA (Argentina) (13%). Finally, less than 5% of teachers have not received any formal teacher education or training in all countries with data available, except Saudi Arabia (10%), Mexico (8%) and Estonia (5%) (Table I.4.12). High shares of teachers in the last two categories (subject-specific education only and no formal education related to the subject taught by the teacher or to any type of pedagogical education) are particularly worrying, because these teachers start their jobs without being prepared for the profession. Past studies have highlighted the importance of being trained in subject-related pedagogical knowledge and in general pedagogy for delivering quality instruction and for student learning (Guerriero, 2017[25]). In addition, a mandatory teaching practicum was identified in PISA as a common feature of initial teacher preparation in all high-performing and equitable education systems except Macao (China) (OECD, 2018, p. 50[5]).

TALIS also asks teachers about the elements included in their formal education or training. Subject-content courses deliver the body of deep knowledge that teachers need to create and facilitate effective teaching and learning environments for all students and develop their competences (Guerriero, 2017[25]), to present content to learners in a meaningful way and to connect learning topics to one another, as well as to each student’s prior knowledge and future learning objectives (Cochran-Smith and Zeichner, 2005[26]; Wilson, Floden and Ferrini-Mundy, 2001[27]). Across the OECD, almost all teachers (92%) report that their formal education or training included content of some or all the subjects they teach (Figure I.4.4, Table I.4.13). However, 10% to 20% of teachers did not receive training in subject content in Alberta (Canada), Belgium (including the Flemish Community), Iceland, the Slovak Republic and Turkey.6

Knowing the content provides only a foundation for teaching. Student achievement is higher when a strong content background is combined with pedagogical and practical training (Clotfelter, Ladd and Vigdor, 2007[28]). Preparation that links content knowledge to an understanding of how learners acquire knowledge, how to teach students who are diverse with respect to achievement, motivation, socio-economic background or language background, and how to use a wide array of instructional strategies was found to be effective (Constantine et al., 2009[29]; National Research Council, 2010[30]). Pedagogy refers to the art and science of teaching and, thus, pedagogical competence refers to knowing how to teach, rather than knowing the content one is expected to teach.

Figure I.4.4. Content of teacher education and sense of preparedness for teaching
Results based on responses of lower secondary teachers
Figure I.4.4. Content of teacher education and sense of preparedness for teaching

Note: ICT: Information and communication technology.

Values are ranked in descending order of the percentage of lower secondary teachers for whom the following elements were included in their formal education or training.

Source: OECD, TALIS 2018 Database, Tables I.4.13 and I.4.20.

 StatLink http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/888933932532

General pedagogical competence is what teachers need as basic knowledge of how to teach, and is the competence needed more often in primary school. Specific pedagogical competence refers to the knowledge of how to teach a particular subject or of a particular group of students. Pedagogical content knowledge links general pedagogical knowledge and content knowledge (Shulman, 1986[31]). Across the OECD and in all countries participating in TALIS, almost all teachers received training in general pedagogy and in the pedagogy of the subjects they teach (Figure I.4.4). However, general and content-specific pedagogy is less prevalent in Southern European countries, where less than 80% of teachers report having received training in these aspects, including France, Italy and Spain (Table I.4.13). However, some countries, such as Italy since the academic year 2018/19, have initiated important reforms to include more training in pedagogy in their teacher education programmes (Ministero della Giustizia, 2017[32]).

The teaching methods that future teachers experience during initial teacher education may also shape the way they will teach. In particular, research highlights the importance of having opportunities to engage in a teaching practicum that requires planning lessons or analysing student work, rather than just listening to lectures (Boyd et al., 2009[33]). Mandatory practicum is a longstanding feature of the initial teacher education system in Australia. A number of countries have recently reformed their initial teacher education systems to make the teaching practicum a mandatory element – such as Estonia (OECD, 2019[34]). Classroom practice in some or all subjects taught by teachers was included in the formal education and training of about 90% of teachers, on average across OECD countries and economies. More than 95% of teachers in England (United Kingdom), Finland, the Flemish Community of Belgium, New Zealand, Singapore and Viet Nam completed such a teaching practicum (Figure I.4.5, Table I.4.13), while less than 75% of teachers did so in the Czech Republic, France, and Spain.

Examining the responses of teachers who completed their formal teacher education and training in the last five years and comparing them to those of the whole population sheds light on the recent changes in teachers’ formal training and education (Table I.4.13). An increase in the share of teachers trained in classroom practice is found in some countries, particularly in France, Norway and Spain. By contrast, a worrying downward trend in the share of teachers receiving practical training is observed in some countries, especially in the Czech Republic, Georgia, Estonia and the Russian Federation. The reform in Estonia making the teaching practicum mandatory may be too recent to be reflected in the trend since 2013 but will likely materialise in the coming years. Box I.4.2 sheds light on how initial teacher education is changing through new national teacher standards in Estonia.

Figure I.4.5. Teacher training in classroom practice
Percentage of lower secondary teachers for whom classroom practice in some or all subject(s) taught were included in their formal education or training, by year of completion
Figure I.4.5. Teacher training in classroom practice

Countries and economies are ranked in descending order of the percentage of teachers who felt “well” or “very well” prepared for classroom practice in some or all subject(s) taught.

Source: OECD, TALIS 2018 Database, Table I.4.13.

 StatLink http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/888933932551

An important consideration for examining the quality of teachers’ credentials is to look at the comprehensiveness of teacher education and training programmes. To this end, two indicators are considered: the percentage of teachers trained in all three core elements of a quality teaching preparation (content, pedagogy and classroom practice of some or all subject(s) teachers teach) and the average number of elements included in teachers’ formal education or training (Table I.4.14). On average across the OECD, 79% of all teachers report that they were trained in all three core elements (content, pedagogy and classroom practice of some or all subject(s) teachers teach). However, this share amounts to only 48% in Spain and remains below 70% in the Czech Republic, France, Iceland and Italy. Teachers report that they were trained in around seven of the ten elements listed in the questionnaire, on average across the OECD. Through the lens of this indicator as well, teachers in France and Spain report having been trained in fewer aspects than in other countries, with an average number of elements including in their formal education or training comprised between five and six.

Restricting the analysis to teachers who completed their formal teacher education and training in the last five years sheds light on the comprehensiveness of the current teacher education and training systems. Among countries and economies with available data, France and Spain are the two where teacher formal education and training systems have actually become more comprehensive, according to the two examined indicators (Table I.4.14). The changes in Spain are particularly sharp: the share of teachers trained in content, pedagogy and classroom practice in some or all subjects taught amounts to 68% of teachers who completed their teacher formal education or training in the last five years (instead of 48% in the whole teacher population) and an average of 7.4 elements were included in their formal education and training (instead of 5.2 in the whole population).

Box I.4.2. National standards guiding teacher education in Estonia

Estonia has identified a strategic approach to improve initial teacher preparation by aligning teacher education programmes to national competency standards. Estonia introduced new teacher standards in 2013 in order to ensure high-quality teacher graduates entering the profession. The function of teacher standards in Estonia is to provide a competency framework for teachers, guide the curriculum of teaching institutions and the assessment of graduating teacher candidates. As an example, there are seven competency areas defined in the Estonian teacher standards, each having “activity parameters” as follows: teachers’ tasks in an area; knowledge required to perform those tasks; and evaluation methods used to measure the acquisition of the competencies.

These standards are closely linked to the design of teacher education. The University of Tartu in Estonia is one of the major public institutions of teacher education that revised its curriculum in 2012-13 in parallel with the development of the new teacher standards. The big shift in the curriculum emerged from the identified lack of “professional studies” in the teacher preparation programme. As a result, the curriculum is now focussed on four core pedagogical areas: communication and feedback in school; designing learning and instruction; teaching and reflection; and a teacher’s identity and leadership. The University reported that all of the learning outcomes of the curriculum were compared to the national teacher standards’ activity parameters and modified accordingly, in order to ensure alignment between envisioned goals and teacher preparation in practice.

In addition to a strong grounding of curriculum in competencybased standards, Estonian initial teacher education contains some other features that are key to providing a strong start to new teachers. These include a minimum 50 days of practicum experience at a school site and a mandatory 12-month induction programme, including the support of a trained mentor who has at least three years of teaching experience. The mentor is responsible for providing feedback on the beginner teacher to the teacher education institution, and the beginner teacher is responsible for self-evaluation exercises during this time period.

Sources: Revai N. (2018[35]), “What difference do standards make to educating teachers?: A review with case studies on Australia, Estonia and Singapore”, http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/f1cb24d5-en; Santiago, P. et al. (2016[36]), OECD Reviews of School Resources: Estonia 2016, http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/9789264251731-en.

After subject content, pedagogy and classroom practice, the elements often included in teachers’ formal education and training are: student behaviour and classroom management (72% of all teachers across OECD countries and economies); monitoring student development and learning (69%); teaching cross-curricular skills (65%); teaching in a mixed-ability setting (62%); and the use of ICT for teaching (56%) (Figure I.4.4, Table I.4.13).7 In comparison, teaching in a multicultural or multilingual setting is more rarely included as an element of teachers’ formal education or training. Indeed, on average across OECD countries and economies, only 35% of all teachers are trained in this area, reflecting the fact that the phenomenon of globalisation of societies has emerged over the past few decades and was, logically, only recently included in teacher training. The lowest shares are observed in Europe, especially in Croatia (25% of teachers trained in this domain), Lithuania (23%), Portugal (21%), Hungary (19%), the Czech Republic (16%), France (12%) and Slovenia (12%), including in countries with high rates of students with a migrant background, such as France and Portugal (see Chapter 3). However, training in teaching in a multicultural or multilingual setting is common in countries with English as the main national language and those with several official languages and/or a tradition of multiculturalism8, including Alberta (Canada), Australia, England (United Kingdom), New Zealand, Shanghai (China), Singapore, South Africa, the United Arab Emirates and the United States, where around 60-80% of teachers received training in this domain. In almost all countries with available data, training in this domain is on the rise, with the largest increases observed in European countries, considering that the share of teachers who completed their teacher education or training programme in the five years prior to the survey are more frequently trained in this domain than the rest of the population (Table I.4.13).

Regression analyses based on TALIS data show that, across TALIS countries and economies, the content of teachers’ formal education and training is important for teaching quality. After controlling for teacher characteristics, such as gender and teaching experience, teachers who had some training in student behaviour and classroom management as part of their formal education also tend to feel more efficient in their classroom management capabilities in most countries and economies participating in TALIS (Figure I.4.6, Table I.4.17). A similar relation is observed regarding training in and use of ICT for teaching. On average across OECD countries and economies and in the majority of countries and economies participating in TALIS, teachers who were trained in the use of ICT are also more likely to report that they let students use ICT for projects or classwork (Table I.4.18). When it comes to teaching in a diverse classroom, teachers who have been trained in teaching in a multicultural or multilingual environment also tend to report higher self-efficacy in dealing with such a teaching environment in all TALIS participants with available data, except for Alberta (Canada), Chile and Saudi Arabia, where no statistically significant relationship is found (Table I.4.19).

Figure I.4.6. Relationship between self-efficacy in classroom management and being trained in classroom management
Change in the index of self-efficacy in classroom management associated with being trained in classroom management1, 2, 3
Figure I.4.6. Relationship between self-efficacy in classroom management and being trained in classroom management

1. Results of linear regression based on responses of lower secondary teachers.

2. The predictor is a dummy variable: the reference category is not having “student behaviour and classroom management” included in formal education or training.

3. Controlling for the following teacher characteristics: gender and years of experience as a teacher.

Note: Statistically significant coefficients are marked in a darker tone (see Annex B).

Countries and economies are ranked in descending order of the change in the index of self-efficacy in classroom management associated with being trained in classroom management.

Source: OECD, TALIS 2018 Database, Table I.4.17.

 StatLink http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/888933932570

Additionally, TALIS data makes it possible to identify which element of initial teacher education matters, particularly for teacher self-efficacy. Teacher overall self-efficacy is regressed on indicators of whether the teacher was trained in each of the ten elements potentially included in initial teacher education or training. Results show that, in 37 TALIS countries and economies with available data, teachers who were trained in teaching cross-curricular skills (e.g. creativity, critical thinking, problem solving) are more likely to report higher levels of self-efficacy. Being trained in teaching in a multicultural setting is also conducive to higher self-efficacy in 20 TALIS countries and economies (Table I.4.46). This being said, regression results need to be interpreted with care, as the explanatory power of the estimated models is usually limited (as indicated by low R2).

Box I.4.3. Initial teacher training for primary teachers up to upper secondary teachers

Training in subject-specific content and pedagogy is a prominent feature of the initial teacher education of lower secondary teachers across most countries participating in TALIS. In 6 out 13 countries with available data for ISCED 1 and 2, a significantly higher proportion of primary teachers are trained in subject-specific pedagogy than lower secondary teachers, with the highest differences reported in Spain (26 percentage points) and France (13 percentage points). In contrast, a significantly lower proportion of primary teachers are trained in subject-specific content in Denmark (94%), France (91%) and Spain (86%) than their lower secondary counterparts (Table I.4.15).

Practicum experiences are a crucial part of initial training for teachers of all education levels, but in some countries, there are varied patterns in practicum opportunities across education levels. In 5 out of 13 education systems with available data for ISCED 1 and 2, a greater proportion of primary teachers than of lower secondary teachers receive classroom practice, with the highest differences observed in Spain (19 percentage points) and France (13 percentage points). Practicum experiences for teachers are less common in upper secondary education. In 8 out of 11 education systems with available data for ISCED 2 and 3, fewer upper secondary teachers receive practicum training than lower secondary teachers (Table I.4.16), with the largest differences observed in Slovenia (21 percentage points), Denmark (14 percentage points) and Croatia (13 percentage points).

Within participating countries, the largest differences in initial training of teachers at different education levels lie in areas of teaching in a mixed-ability setting, teaching in multicultural and multilingual settings and monitoring students’ development and learning. In 10 out of 13 education systems with available data for ISCED 1 and 2, more primary teachers have undergone training in monitoring students’ development and learning than their lower secondary counterparts.

Overall, Japan, Korea and Spain have large differences between formal training of lower secondary teachers and that of primary teachers, indicating that initial teacher preparation for primary teachers is more comprehensive than that of lower secondary teachers in these countries (Table I.4.15). In each of these countries, primary teachers report having received significantly higher levels of training than lower secondary teachers across most of the categories in content of teacher education.

Teachers’ sense of preparedness for teaching

Another way to gauge the quality of initial teacher education and training consists of learning from teachers how well prepared they felt for various aspects of their job by the time they completed their education or training. Past research in the United States has indeed shown that the different elements of initial teacher preparation are, very often, related to self-perceived preparedness (Ronfeldt and Reininger, 2012[37]; Ronfeldt, Reininger and Kwok, 2013[38]). With this in mind, TALIS asks teachers the extent to which (“not at all”; “somewhat”; “well”; “very well”) they felt prepared for various elements of teaching, the same ten elements as those potentially included in their formal education and training. In line with what previous research found, teachers’ reported sense of preparedness for each of these elements aligns well with the prevalence of each element in teacher formal education and training (Figure I.4.4, Table I.4.20). Yet, for all aspects, there are consistently more teachers who received training than teachers who felt well prepared or very well prepared in relation to them.

Among the core components of initial teacher education – subject content, subject pedagogy and classroom practice – more teachers reported having a strong command of subject content (80% of teachers in the OECD felt well or very well prepared for this) than reported having a strong command of subject pedagogy and classroom practice of that subject (71% felt well or very well prepared) (Figure I.4.4). In some countries – Austria, the Czech Republic, France, Iceland, Italy and Japan – more than 50% of teachers felt under-prepared for subject pedagogy or classroom practice. However, newly trained teachers report slightly higher levels of preparedness in one or both elements than the rest of the teacher workforce in some of these countries – in Austria, France and Iceland (Table I.4.20).

The aspect of teaching that shows the largest variation between the training received and teachers’ sense of preparedness is teaching in a mixed-ability setting.9 Moreover, there are important cross-country variations in the share of teachers who felt prepared for this element: it ranges from less than 25% of teachers in the Czech Republic and Estonia to more than 75% in Hungary and Romania and even more than 85% in the United Arab Emirates. In 25 countries and economies participating in TALIS, more than 50% of teachers felt under-prepared for teaching in a mixed-ability setting by the time they completed their teacher education or training. When restricting the analysis to those teachers who completed their teacher education or training in the five years prior to the TALIS survey, the same observation concerns 21 out of 41 countries and economies with available data (Table I.4.20).

All this suggests that some teachers feel that the training they received was not completely successful in preparing them for some aspects of their job. This can point to room for improvement in the training provided, but it can also be a way for teachers to acknowledge the importance of acquiring some teaching experience over a substantial period of time to feel very well prepared. This suggests that more can be done to improve training in this aspect and that actual practice is crucial for developing these skills.

Teachers studying abroad

Besides professional knowledge in a number of areas, and practical experience in the classroom, teachers also need a diverse skill set, including transversal skills such as communication, in order to satisfy the complex expectations they are facing. While spending time abroad as part of their teacher study, student teachers expose themselves to different ways of teaching and this can broaden their pedagogical repertoire as well as their understanding of other cultures. Such experience can be of help when, as in-service teachers, they will need to cope with the challenges of teaching students from multicultural backgrounds. A report on the impact of study abroad for traditional college students found that those who study abroad exhibit greater change in intercultural communication skills after a semester abroad than students who stay on their home campus and that exposure to various cultures is the greatest predictor of intercultural communication skills, cultural adaptability and sensitivity (Rundstrom Williams, 2005[39]).

For this reason, TALIS 2018 offered the option of administering several questions about teachers’ mobility abroad, including during their initial education. More specifically, TALIS asks teachers whether they have been abroad as a student as part of their teacher education or training. Thirty-seven countries and economies participating in TALIS administered this optional question. The percentage of teachers having been abroad as part of their teacher education or training ranges from 1% in Viet Nam to 37% in the Netherlands (Figure I.4.7 and Table I.4.23). Countries and economies belonging to the European Union present the highest shares. This can partly be explained by the availability of opportunities to study abroad in the European Union, such as Erasmus+, supported by the European Commission, which offers opportunities for students to study abroad and teachers to teach abroad.10 In interpreting TALIS results, one needs to keep in mind that being abroad as a student teacher can actually refer to a wide range of activities, ranging from short-term excursions to a school abroad, to studying for a full year in another country’s teacher education programme.

Past research about the duration of study abroad has concluded that more is better (i.e. that the longer students study abroad, the more significant are the academic, cultural-development and personal-growth benefits that accrue). One study suggests that studying abroad for a full year had a greater impact on students in the areas of continued language use, academic attainment measures, intercultural and personal development and career choices than a short summer programme or a semester (Dwyer, 2004[40]). While this study was not specific to student teachers, these outcomes relate to factors associated with quality teaching, as discussed in other parts of this report.

TALIS provides some partial information about the duration of student teacher stays abroad. TALIS did ask teachers about the total duration (“less than three months”; “three to twelve months” or “more than a year”) they stayed abroad, all purposes combined (“as a student, as part of my teacher education or training”; “as a teacher in a European Union programme”; “as a teacher in a regional or national programme”; “as a teacher, as arranged by a school or school district”; and “as a teacher, by my own initiative”). Unfortunately, for teachers who report that they stayed abroad for several purposes, including as part of their teacher education or training, it is not possible to identify the duration of their stay abroad as part of their teacher education or training only. Therefore, to get an idea of the typical duration of a student teacher’s stay abroad, the remaining analyses are restricted to those teachers who have been abroad as a student as part of their teacher education or training only. There are some limitations to this approach, as these teachers are likely not representative of the teachers who have been abroad as part of their teacher education; they actually represent only a subset of teachers who have been abroad as students (Table I.4.23). In 27 out of the 30 countries and economies with available data, the most frequent duration of teachers’ stays abroad as part of their teacher education is less than three months. In Alberta (Canada) and France, the most frequent duration of teacher studies abroad is three to twelve months. These findings suggest that student teachers’ stays abroad are relatively short, on average, and possibly too short to have a substantiated influence on the development of foreign language skills and other intercultural skills.

Figure I.4.7. Stays abroad during teacher education
Percentage of lower secondary teachers who went abroad as a student, as part of their teacher education
Figure I.4.7. Stays abroad during teacher education

Countries and economies are ranked in descending order of the percentage of lower secondary teachers who went abroad as a student, as part of their teacher education.

Source: OECD, TALIS 2018 Database, Table I.4.23.

 StatLink http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/888933932589

How are school leaders trained for their work as principals?

In 2018, TALIS makes it possible to not only examine teachers’ initial education and training but also the training school leaders undertake before they take up their duties as a principal. As a study on school leadership noted, it is possible to create pre-service programmes that help principals develop the skills to effectively engage in many of the practices associated with school success: cultivating a shared vision and shared practices; leading; instructional improvement; developing organisational capacity; and managing change (Darling-Hammond et al., 2007[41]). Indeed, principals play a vital role in setting the direction for successful schools, but knowledge on how best to prepare and develop highly qualified candidates is still sparse. This section examines the preparation of school leaders for their role as principals, in a cross-country comparative perspective.

TALIS asks school leaders about the highest level of formal education they have attained, using ISCED-2011 (see Annex B for more information). School leaders generally hold higher degrees than teachers. They typically hold a master’s degree (Figure I.4.3), while teachers typically have a bachelor’s degree. On average across the OECD, 63% of school leaders (compared to 44% of teachers) reported a master’s degree or equivalent, including stronger specialisation and more complex content than a bachelor’s degree (ISCED level 7), as their highest level of educational attainment (Table I.4.24). That is also the educational level attained by more than 90% of school leaders in Bulgaria, Croatia, Estonia, Finland, Portugal, the Slovak Republic and Slovenia. About another third (31%) of school leaders in the OECD completed a bachelor’s degree or equivalent (ISCED level 6), as their highest level of education. But this is the highest level of formal education completed by more than 75% of school leaders in Brazil, Denmark, Japan, Kazakhstan, Saudi Arabia, Shanghai (China), Turkey and Viet Nam. On average across OECD countries and economies, school leaders are also more than twice as likely as teachers to hold a doctoral degree. At least 10% of school leaders hold doctoral degrees in the Czech Republic, Mexico and the United Arab Emirates, while there are virtually no doctorate holders among principals in Brazil, CABA (Argentina), Iceland, Japan, Norway and Viet Nam. The high shares of doctorates among principals observed in Italy, Korea and Mexico are consecutive to a rise in these degrees between 2008 and 2018, especially since 2013 (Table I.4.24). Finally, the remaining 3% of school leaders across OECD countries and economies completed at most a short-cycle tertiary education programme (ISCED level 5 and below). Austria stands out with almost 50% of its school leaders having completed only a short-cycle education programme. The share of principals reporting a short-cycle education as the highest level of education has significantly decreased in Austria and Brazil since 2008 and in Iceland since 2013 (Table I.4.24).

Beyond the level of formal education completed by school leaders, the content of their training is key for preparing them to become principals. Across OECD countries and economies, 85% of school leaders completed teacher training or an education programme or course before taking up their position as principal. This is aligned with the fact that many of them simultaneously serve as teachers or have served as teachers before. Another 5% did receive some training in teaching, but only after becoming principal, and the remaining 10% never did so. More than 15% of school leaders report never having being trained for teaching at the time of survey completion in Italy, Lithuania and Saudi Arabia, as do more than 25% of school leaders in Croatia, the Czech Republic, Mexico and Portugal (Table I.4.28). This may be the result of a deliberate country policy of recruiting school leaders from a different track than that of teachers and of viewing their role more as managers, but it may also be a sign of recruitment challenges in these countries. Furthermore, this seems to point to the different roles principals have in different countries, whether they are pedagogical and administrative leaders or administrative leaders only. In the cases of the Czech Republic, Italy and Portugal, these findings are unexpected as, by law, all principals have been trained as teachers. This may suggest that school principals responded about the training they received specifically on their path to becoming a principal.

Figure I.4.8. Principals’ formal training before taking up their role as a principal
Percentage of lower secondary principals for whom the following elements were included in their formal education before taking up their role as a principal1
Figure I.4.8. Principals’ formal training before taking up their role as a principal

1. Data refer to the the sum of the percentages of school leaders trained “before taking up a position” and “before and after taking up a position” as principal.

Countries and economies are ranked in descending order of the percentage of lower secondary principals for whom school administration or a principal training programme or course were included in their formal education.

Source: OECD, TALIS 2018 Database, Table I.4.28.

 StatLink http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/888933932608

An emerging issue across many countries is the growing challenge of recruiting people willing to work as school principals and properly training them for their role. Studies from the United States about the effects of leadership preparation programmes reveal that principals who were trained more thoroughly in instructional and organisational leadership more often engaged in these leadership practices in their schools (Orr and Orphanos, 2011[42]). These leadership practices are, in turn, associated with more teacher collaboration, higher qualifications of teams of teachers in the school (Fuller, Young and Baker, 2011[43]) and school improvement progress (Orphanos and Orr, 2014[44]). The TALIS 2013 report, School Leadership for Learning, also found that principals who attended training or a course in instructional leadership were, on average, more frequently involved in educational leadership actions in their school (OECD, 2016, p. 66[45]).

TALIS asks school leaders whether their formal education or training included additional useful elements for their position as principal, in the form of a school administration or principal training programme or course or an instructional leadership training programme or course. Since this chapter is concerned with initial preparation and training, the following analyses mainly focus on the total share of school leaders who received some specific training at least once before becoming principals (i.e. either only before or both before and after taking up their position). Yet, specific training provided to new principals is also of interest and is also examined, although TALIS results do not allow identification of the timing of this training.

On average across OECD countries and economies, slightly more than half of school leaders (54%) report having completed a programme or course in school administration or principal training at least once before taking up their position as principal, with the same share having completed an instructional leadership training programme or course (Figure I.4.8). This figure is quite low, compared to the immense majority of teachers who receive formal education specific to their profession (subject training, pedagogical training, etc.). There are large cross-country variations in the extent to which school leaders were trained in these domains at least once before becoming principal. Rates of training at least once before taking up duties as a principal in both domains are 75% or above in Korea, Malta, Singapore and the United States and below 35% in Bulgaria, Croatia, the Flemish Community of Belgium, Kazakhstan, Lithuania and Saudi Arabia (Table I.4.28). On average across OECD countries, about 33% of school leaders were trained in school administration or principal work only after becoming a principal. While it may be the case that such training took place shortly after they became principals, TALIS findings do not allow this to be asserted. In addition, about 13% reported that they had never had such training at the time of survey completion. More principals – 17% on average across the OECD – report never having been trained in instructional leadership. This share amounts to at least 30% of principals in CABA (Argentina), Croatia, the Czech Republic, England (United Kingdom), Israel, Italy and Lithuania. Box I.4.4 sheds light on how new principals in Singapore are trained to lead school-level improvements and innovations.

Box I.4.4. Leaders in Education programme in Singapore

In Singapore, various national education bodies, including the Ministry of Education, offer and incentivise teachers to develop management and leadership competencies at several stages in their career. Singapore sets its teachers on the path to prepare for leadership roles early in their career, through an identified leadership track. Teachers who aim to be school leaders in future years can take up specific roles and responsibilities in the school improvement cycle. Therefore, identification of potential leaders and opportunities to demonstrate leadership are important precursors to selecting and providing required skills and knowledge for principalship in Singapore.

For new principals, the National Institute of Education in Singapore, in collaboration with the Ministry of Education, has designed Leaders in Education (LEP) as a 6-month pre-service programme. “The programme aims to develop principalship capability that is values-driven, purposeful, innovative and forward-looking, anchored on both strong people and instructional leadership, strategic management skills, and an appreciation of how principals could work effectively in a complex environment.” The programme was introduced in 2001 to replace the Diploma to Educational Administration, in order to provide a more robust, hands-on and relevant preparation for principals to lead schools. A key focus of the LEP is on innovation and the creation of new knowledge, where the principal is seen as instrumental in driving collective and collaborative knowledge creation tailored to their school’s context. As an illustration, the Creative Action Projects (CAP), led by participants in the 2017 graduating class, included student-led toolkits to drive socio-emotional learning in the school and an “Empathy” project to develop students’ competencies in leadership and character development.

The design of the LEP focuses on engaging and project-based modules, such as a school action research project mentored by principal candidates at their schools, case studies, school and industrial site visits, sessions in management, dialogues with the Ministry of Education and a two-week international visit. As a policy instrument, the programme is mandated to be undertaken by all specially selected vice-principals before they take up duty as school leaders. That the participants are both salaried and fully funded indicates the country’s huge investment in human capital development.

Source: National Institute of Education (n.d.[46]), Leaders in Education Programme, www.nie.edu.sg/our-people/academic-groups/policy-and-leadership-studies/programmes/leaders-education-programme-lep.

Looking at trends over time, principals’ training is rather steady over the past five years in most of the countries with data available since 2013 (Table I.4.31). Yet, the total share of principals trained in instructional leadership has risen in a few countries – Finland, Latvia, Portugal, Singapore, the Slovak Republic and Spain – and so, in some countries, has the share of principals trained in school administration – Denmark, Finland, Latvia, New Zealand, Portugal and Romania.

How are novice teachers supported during the first years of their careers?

Along with initial teacher training and certification, teachers’ work experience helps shape their skills and competencies. Years of experience might be particularly important early in a teacher’s career. Some evidence shows that each additional year of experience is related to higher student achievement, with gains being especially large during the first five years in the profession (Harris and Sass, 2011[47]; Rivkin, Hanushek and Kain, 2005[48]; Rockoff, 2004[49]). Most importantly, the working conditions, support and early professional development that novice teachers experience in their first years are important elements in helping them to confirm their career choice and remain in the teaching profession (Paniagua and Sánchez Martí, 2018[50]).

In most of the 15 studies they reviewed, Ingersoll and Strong (2011[51]) found empirical evidence for the claim that support and assistance for beginning teachers have a positive influence on outcomes such as commitment and retention of teachers, classroom teaching practices and student achievement. At the system level, it is crucial that investments made in initial teacher education provide positive returns in the mid- to long-term. This is only possible if novice teachers feel successful at delivering quality instruction and so pursue their career in the profession. Therefore, education systems and their schools need to provide strong support to teachers in their first years of teaching.

This section examines how novice teachers (defined as teachers with up to five years of teaching experience) feel about their work, in terms of both self-efficacy and satisfaction and what support they receive from their schools during the first years of their career. Novice teachers represent 19% of the teacher population across OECD countries and economies, but less than 10% in three countries: Viet Nam (9%), Lithuania (7%) and Portugal (3%) (Table I.4.32). The following sections compare novice teachers with the rest of the teacher population.

Novice teachers’ self-efficacy and job satisfaction

Analyses reported in Chapter 2 indicated that novice teachers are, in general, less likely to feel confident in their teaching skills than their more experienced peers (teachers with more than five years of experience), particularly in their ability to manage their classroom and to use of a variety of practices (Table I.2.20). In addition, on average across the OECD, novice teachers tend to be slightly less satisfied with their performance in their school than more experienced teachers (90% of novice teachers compared to 93% of more experienced teachers) (Table I.4.33).

Furthermore, TALIS actually asks questions about the extent to which teachers tend to disagree or agree (“strongly disagree”; “disagree”; “agree”; “strongly agree”) with statements relative to their satisfaction with their work environment and their profession. Results show that novice teachers are generally slightly more satisfied with their career choice and with the teaching profession than more experienced teachers (Table I.4.34). However, there is one working environment dimension that shows a different pattern: teachers who would like to change to another school (Table I.4.33). More specifically, on average across OECD countries and economies, 22% of novice teachers and 19% of more experienced teachers would like to change to another school if that were possible. A significant gap is found in favour of novice teachers in 14 countries and economies and is especially pronounced in Austria, France, Korea, Latvia, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, Slovenia, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates. This might be related to novice teachers having limited choices regarding which school they work in and the fact that they often work in more challenging schools (Mostafa and Pál, 2018[52]) (Table I.4.32). Nevertheless, wishing to change schools is not necessarily a signal of dissatisfaction with the school environment but can also be the expression of teachers’ aspirations to career progression.

The remainder of this section examines how novice teachers are supported to best cope with their new duties. It explores, in particular, four potential levers to achieve this support: teachers’ school assignments; supply of induction activities; reduced teaching load; and mentoring.

Novice teachers’ school assignments

Novice teachers tend to work in more challenging schools that have higher concentrations of students from socio-economically disadvantaged homes and immigrant students (Figure I.4.9 and Table I.4.32). On average across the OECD, in schools with high concentrations of students from socio-economically disadvantaged homes, 22% of teachers are novice teachers, and in schools with high concentrations of immigrant students, the share of novice teachers is 23%. In schools with low concentrations of students from socio-economically disadvantaged homes, 19% of teachers are novices, the same share as in schools with low concentrations of immigrant students.

This points to a more general issue of teacher allocation across schools. The unequal access of disadvantaged students to experienced teachers is a real concern. A recent OECD report concluded that gaps in student performance related to socio-economic status are wider in countries where socio-economically disadvantaged schools employed fewer qualified and experienced teachers than advantaged schools. This tendency might result from different teacher retention rates across schools or mobility schemes through which teachers with more years of service have more chances to move to their preferred school through job mobility (OECD, 2018, p. 101[5]).

Induction programmes

No matter how good initial teacher education is, it cannot be expected to prepare teachers for all the challenges they face during their first regular employment as a teacher. Among the three aspects that stand out as common to all high-performing and equitable education systems, the recent OECD report on effective teacher policies identified a mandatory and extended period of classroom practice as part of pre-service teacher education or of the induction period. Indeed, “Teacher candidates in high-performing countries typically receive extended clinical training to help them bridge theory and practice at the beginning of their teaching career; where the practicum included in initial teacher-preparation programmes is short, novice teachers benefit from intensive induction or mentoring programmes to support beginning teachers.” (OECD, 2018, p. 45[5]).

Figure I.4.9. Novice teachers, by school characteristics
Percentage of novice1 lower secondary teachers
Figure I.4.9. Novice teachers, by school characteristics

* For this country, estimates for sub-groups and estimated differences between sub-groups need to be interpreted with great care. See Annex A for more information.

1. Novice teachers are teachers with up to five years of teaching experience.

2. High concentration of disadvantaged students refers to schools with more than 30% of students from socio-economically disadvantaged homes.

3. High concentration of immigrant students refers to schools with more than 10% of immigrant students.

4. High concentration of students with special needs refers to schools with more than 10% of students with special needs.

Countries and economies are ranked in descending order of the average proportion of novice teachers.

Source: OECD, TALIS 2018 Database, Table I.4.32.

 StatLink http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/888933932627

TALIS 2013 results also showed that participation in induction activities was positively related to acting as a mentor and to participation in in-service professional development11, suggesting a virtuous cycle for teacher continuous learning – see Chapter 4 of the TALIS 2013 Results report (OECD, 2014[12]).

Results from the last two cycles of TALIS showed that, in a small number of countries, provision of induction activities for teachers at the system or local school level (or both) was either absent or very limited. However, the positive impact of induction activities for teachers on teaching quality and student learning has been shown in various studies (Ingersoll and Strong, 2011[51]). In particular, empirical evidence shows that students taught by teachers who receive comprehensive induction support demonstrate learning gains larger than those experienced by students taught by teachers who do not receive such support – see, for instance, Glazerman et al. (2010[53]) and Helms-Lorenz, Slof and van de Grift (2013[54]).

The definition of induction in TALIS 2018 is a refinement of the definition used in TALIS 2013. The new definition considers that induction activities are designed not only to support new teachers’ introduction into the teaching profession but also to support experienced teachers who are new to a school. Induction activities might be presented in formal, structured programmes (for example, regular supervision by the principal, a reduced teaching load or formal mentoring by experienced teachers), or they might be informally arranged as separate activities available to support new teachers.12

Based on principals’ reports, access to informal induction activities in their school is more common than access to formal activities. On average across the OECD, 54% of school leaders report that new teachers have access to formal induction activities, while 74% of school leaders report that they have access to informal induction activities (Table I.4.35). On average across OECD countries and economies, 13% of schools do not offer teachers access to any kind of induction. This share ranges from less than 1% of schools in England (United Kingdom), the Flemish Community of Belgium, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Shanghai (China) and Singapore, to more than 30% of schools in CABA (Argentina), Chile, Lithuania, Mexico and Spain, and to more than 40% of schools in Brazil, Georgia and Hungary. In Chile, since April 2016, a new System for Teacher Professional Development was created by law (Law 20.903). Among other aspects, it encompasses the launch of the National Induction System for beginning teachers, the benefits of which should be seen in the years to come (Santiago et al., 2017, p. 228[55]).

TALIS also asks all teachers whether they took part in induction activities during their first employment and at their current school. About 62% of teachers, on average across OECD countries and economies, report that they did not participate in any induction activities, formal or informal, during their first employment (Table I.4.38). This share drops to 58% of teachers when referring to participation in any type of induction at a teacher’s current school (Table I.4.39).

When referring to their first employment, teachers report that they more frequently participated in formal induction activities (34% of teachers across the OECD) than in informal activities (24%) (Table I.4.38). When referring to their current school, the opposite pattern is observed: teachers report having more often taken part in informal induction activities (35%) than in a formal induction programme (29%) (Table I.4.39). These patterns remain similar when restricting the analyses to teachers new to teaching, suggesting that these differences are not attributable to any recent changes in school-level induction practices. This could mean that formal induction is more reserved for teachers new to teaching, while informal induction to the specificities of a school is more typical only for teachers who are new to a school. In addition, novice teachers are more likely to participate in both formal and informal induction activities at their current school than are more experienced teachers (Table I.4.39).

The apparent discrepancy between the common availability of induction programmes, as reported by principals (Table I.4.35), and the actual participation of teachers in these programmes, as reported by teachers (Tables I.4.38 and I.4.39), was commented on in the TALIS 2013 Results report (OECD, 2014, pp. 88-93[12]) and is still seen in 2018. This discrepancy could result from several factors. It can first stem from different timescales for teachers and principals’ responses. Principals are describing current provision at the school, while teachers are describing what happened when they started at the school. Also, not all provisions are necessarily available to all teachers new to a school. For example, a reduced teaching load could be standard for novice teachers in their first years, but not for other teachers. School leaders or school staff may not sufficiently inform all their staff about the existence of such programmes or may not encourage all of them to participate (particularly the most experienced teachers), or teachers may be aware of the existence of such programmes but may not be able to participate or decide not to participate for various reasons.

TALIS also asks teachers who participated in induction at their current school13 about which provisions were included in their induction (Figure I.4.10 Table I.4.42). According to teachers, induction typically includes: planned meetings with the school principal and/or with experienced teachers (79% of teachers across the OECD); supervision by the school principal and/or with experienced teachers (71%); courses or seminars attended in person by the teacher (64%); a general or administrative introduction (63%); and networking or collaborating with other new teachers (61%). On average across the OECD, induction provisions more rarely include: team teaching with experienced teachers (45% of teachers across the OECD); and the existence or use of portfolios, diaries or journals (36%). Team teaching (teaching by a team of teachers working together) with experienced teachers during teacher induction is particularly rare in Europe, including in Belgium (and the Flemish Community), England (United Kingdom), Finland, France, the Netherlands and Sweden. In general, very few teachers have taken part in induction that includes online courses and seminars (23%) or online activities (20%), but online induction is quite common in the Eastern part of the globe, including in Israel, Kazakhstan, Korea, the Russian Federation, Shanghai (China), Turkey, the United Arab Emirates and Viet Nam. Finally, only 21% of teachers across the OECD report that induction at their current school includes a reduced teaching load for them, with the exception of New Zealand, Saudi Arabia and Singapore, where slightly more than 50% of teachers so report.

Figure I.4.10. Induction activities for teachers
Percentage of lower secondary teachers reporting that the following provisions were included in their teacher induction at their current school1 (OECD average-30)
Figure I.4.10. Induction activities for teachers

1. The sample is restricted to teachers who took part in induction acivities at the current school based on teachers’ responses and also have access to induction activities based on principals’ responses.

Values are ranked in descending order of the percentage of lower secondary teachers reporting that the following provisions were included in their teacher induction at their current school.

Source: OECD, TALIS 2018 Database, Table I.4.42.

 StatLink http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/888933932646

Teacher induction is important to promote teaching quality and job satisfaction. Evidence from the United States shows that comprehensiveness of induction programmes is associated with higher teacher retention among new teachers (Box I.4.5). Regression analysis based on TALIS data shows that teachers who took part in some kind of induction activity, formal or informal, also tend to report higher self-efficacy (Tables I.4.45 and I.4.47) and job satisfaction (Tables I.4.49 and I.4.51) on average across OECD countries and economies. This is consistent with past studies that usually found that beginning teachers who participated in some kind of induction had higher job satisfaction, commitment or retention (Ingersoll and Strong, 2011[51]). Induction is accompanied by an increase in reported self-efficacy in 11 countries and economies participating in TALIS when induction occurs during first employment (Table I.4.45), and in 24 countries and economies when induction is undertaken at the current school (Figure I.4.11, Table I.4.47).14 A similar and even accentuated pattern is observed in the case of job satisfaction. After controlling for teacher characteristics, there are 12 countries and economies participating in TALIS where teachers who undertook induction during first employment also tend to be more satisfied with their job (Table I.4.49). A similar relationship between induction at the current school and job satisfaction is found in most countries and economies participating in TALIS (Table I.4.51). Induction at the school where teachers are currently working seems, therefore, to matter for them to be satisfied with their current job. However, once again, regression results need to be interpreted with care, as the explanatory power of the estimated models remains limited (with the coefficients of determination – R2 – having low values).

Moreover, regression analysis also supports the idea that some induction provisions may be particularly important for boosting teachers’ self-efficacy and job satisfaction. Team teaching with experienced teachers seems to be especially promising. In most countries and economies participating in TALIS, teachers for whom team teaching with experienced teachers was part of their induction activities at their current school also tend to report higher self-efficacy (Table I.4.53) and job satisfaction (Table I.4.54). Teachers who had a reduced teaching load as part of their induction at their current school also tend to report higher levels of self-efficacy (Table I.4.55) and job satisfaction (Table I.4.56), in 12 of the countries and economies participating in TALIS.

Figure I.4.11. Relationship between self-efficacy and participation in induction at current school
Change in the index of self-efficacy1 associated with having participated in induction activities at current school2, 3, 4
Figure I.4.11. Relationship between self-efficacy and participation in induction at current school

1. The index of self-efficacy measures teacher self-efficacy in classroom management, instruction and student engagement.

2. Results of linear regression based on responses of lower secondary teachers.

3. The predictor is a dummy variable: the reference category is not having taken part in any induction activities (formal or informal) at the current school.

4. Controlling for the following teacher characteristics: gender and years of experience as a teacher.

Note: Statistically significant coefficients are marked in a darker tone (see Annex B).

Countries and economies are ranked in descending order of the change in the index of self-efficacy associated with having taken part in any induction activity (formal or informal) at the current school.

Source: OECD, TALIS 2018 Database, Table I.4.47.

 StatLink http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/888933932665

These findings are very much aligned with those highlighted by past studies. The majority of studies reviewed by Ingersoll and Strong (2011[51]) showed that beginning teachers who participated in some kind of induction performed better at various aspects of teaching, including keeping students on task, developing workable lesson plans, using effective student questioning practices, adjusting classroom activities to meet students’ interests, maintaining a positive classroom atmosphere and demonstrating successful classroom management. In addition, almost all of the studies showed that students of beginning teachers who participated in some kind of induction had higher scores or gains on academic achievement tests.

Box I.4.5. Evidence on beginning teacher induction in the United States

In the United States, the number of beginning teachers participating in induction or mentoring programmes has increased considerably over the last three decades (from 50% in 1990 to 91% in 2008). One of the most prominent advantages of induction programmes for beginning teachers is early-career retention. Evidence from the United States, based on nationally representative data from the Schools and Staffing Survey, shows that this advantage depends on specific components of the induction that a teacher participated in. Having a mentor or participating in collaborative activities with other teachers as a part of induction has strong positive effects on turnover among beginner teachers. There is also evidence that the most comprehensive induction programmes, which combine a variety of activities (such as communication structures with principals and department heads, common planning time with teachers, participation in seminars, and reduced teaching load in addition to having a mentor) present the largest positive effects on teacher retention.

Sources: Ingersoll, R. and T. Smith (2004[56]), “Do teacher induction and mentoring matter?”, NASSP Bulletin, Vol. 88/638, pp. 28-40, https://doi.org/10.1177/019263650408863803; Ingersoll, R. (2012[57]), “Beginning teacher induction: What the data tell us”, Phi Delta Kappan, Vol. 93/8, pp. 47-51, https://doi.org/10.1177/003172171209300811.

Figure I.4.12. Teachers’ workload, by experience
Average number of 60-minute hours lower secondary teachers spend on working, in total, and on teaching1
Figure I.4.12. Teachers’ workload, by experience

1. Refers to activities during the most recent complete calendar week. Also includes tasks that took place during weekends, evenings or other out-of-classroom hours.

Note: Statistically significant differences between experienced teachers (with more than 5 years of experience) and novice teachers (with less than or equal to 5 years of experience) are shown next to the country/economy name (see Annex B).

Countries and economies are ranked in descending order of lower secondary teachers’ average number of teaching hours during the most recent complete calendar week.

Source: OECD, TALIS 2018 Database, Table I.4.57.

 StatLink http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/888933932684

Reduced workload

A reduced workload, whether a formal provision of teacher induction or not, can help teachers new to the profession to cope with their duties. For example, novice teachers can use this spare time for more planning and preparing their lessons or analysing their students’ work, resulting in better teaching. At first glance, on average across the OECD, novice teachers work one hour less per week in total than teachers with more than five years of experience (Table I.4.57). However, on average across the OECD, and after adjusting for teachers’ full-time or part-time status, there is no longer any difference between the total number of work hours reported by novice and more experienced teachers (Table I.4.59). This is because novice teachers tend to work part-time more often than experienced teachers do. However, the OECD average hides various patterns across countries. Still, after adjusting for teachers’ full-time or part-time status, novice teachers work fewer hours than more experienced teachers in 12 countries and economies do. In CABA (Argentina), Kazakhstan and Romania, novice teachers work about 4 hours less a week than more experienced teachers, and almost 7 hours less in Portugal. By contrast, after adjusting for full-time or part-time work, in 10 other countries and economies, novice teachers work one hour or more a week than experienced teachers. In Alberta (Canada) and the United States, novice teachers work 5 hours more a week than experienced teachers, both before and after adjustment (Tables I.4.57 and I.4.59).

On average across OECD countries and economies, novice teachers report teaching about the same number of hours as more experienced teachers (Figure I.4.12 and Table I.4.57). There are also important cross-country variations in this regard. Novice teachers report spending fewer teaching hours a week in 18 countries and economies. In Brazil, CABA (Argentina), Estonia, Latvia, Mexico and Portugal, novice teachers teach two or more hours less a week than their more senior colleagues. In another 10 countries and economies, the opposite pattern is observed. For instance, in Alberta (Canada), Australia, England (United Kingdom) and Turkey, novice teachers teach two or more hours more a week than experienced teachers. A reduced teaching workload usually results in reduced total working hours, but there is an exception to this, Singapore, where novice teachers teach about an hour less a week but work almost two hours more a week in total. This may be because novice teachers are still learning the ropes of the job and would spend more time on performing their professional duties. Additional analyses15 indicate that, in Singapore, novice teachers spend more time than experienced teachers on marking and correcting student work and engaging in extracurricular activities.

Mentoring

Teachers new to teaching can be supported in their early career by having a mentor assigned to them. TALIS defines mentoring as a support structure in schools where more experienced teachers support less experienced teachers. This structure might involve all teachers in the school or only novice teachers. It is often considered an integral part of teaching. Evidence shows strong relationships between measures of mentoring quality and teachers’ assessment of the impact of mentors on their success in the classroom and a moderate association between the number of mentoring hours by the teacher and student achievement. This supports the notion that time spent working with a mentor does improve teaching skills (Rockoff, 2008[58]). In the OECD, about two-thirds of schools provide such a mentoring programme, whether to all of their teachers, only teachers new to the school or only teachers new to teaching (Table I.4.60). There are important cross-country variations in the prevalence of mentoring. Less than 10% of school leaders report that there is no access to a mentoring programme for teachers in their school in Croatia, England (United Kingdom), Israel, Kazakhstan, the Netherlands, the Russian Federation, Shanghai (China), Singapore and the United States, while more than 60% of school leaders so report in Austria, CABA (Argentina), Chile, Finland, Latvia and Saudi Arabia.

TALIS asks school leaders whose school offers mentoring about the general importance of mentoring for teachers and schools, asking them to select one choice among four options: “not important at all”; “of low importance”; “of moderate importance”; or “of high importance”. Given the very high percentages obtained when focusing on school leaders who rate mentoring as either moderately or highly important, the following analysis only focuses on school leaders who rate mentoring as highly important. (Figure I.4.13 and Table I.4.63). Across the OECD, many school principals whose school offers mentoring think that mentoring is of high importance to support less experienced teachers in their teaching (77%), to improve teachers’ pedagogical competence (67%), to improve teachers’ collaboration with colleagues (65%), to strengthen teachers’ professional identity (56%) and to improve students’ general performance (54%). In addition, across the OECD, only 42% of school principals whose school provides mentoring consider that these activities are of high importance to expand teachers’ main subject knowledge.

While a majority of school principals consider mentoring to be highly important for teachers’ work and students’ performance, only 22% of teachers with up to five years of teaching experience have an assigned mentor, on average across the OECD (Figure I.4.14, Table I.4.64). But there are substantial cross-country variations in the prevalence of mentoring programmes for novice teachers. Only between 5% and 10% of novice teachers have an assigned mentor in CABA (Argentina), Chile, Finland, Italy, Lithuania, Slovenia and Spain. However, in four countries and economies, more than 50% of novice teachers have an assigned mentor: Kazakhstan, New Zealand, Shanghai (China) and Singapore (Figure I.4.14 and Table I.4.64). During the last five years, four countries show a slight increase in the share of mentored teachers, despite the stricter definition of mentoring used in TALIS 2018 compared to the 2013 cycle: the Czech Republic, Georgia, Portugal and Sweden (Table I.4.67).16

Figure I.4.13. Importance of mentoring
Percentage of lower secondary principals reporting that the following outcomes of mentoring are of “high” importance1 (OECD average-30)
Figure I.4.13. Importance of mentoring

1. The sample is restricted to principals reporting that teachers have access to a mentoring programme at the school.

Values are ranked in descending order of the percentage of lower secondary principals reporting that the following outcomes of mentoring are of “high” importance.

Source: OECD, TALIS 2018 Database, Table I.4.63.

 StatLink http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/888933932703

Figure I.4.14. Peer mentoring, by teachers’ teaching experience
Percentage of lower secondary teachers who have an assigned mentor as part of a formal arrangement at the school1
Figure I.4.14. Peer mentoring, by teachers’ teaching experience

1. Mentoring is defined as a support structure in schools where more experienced teachers support less experienced teachers.

Note: Statistically significant differences between experienced teachers (with more than 5 years of experience) and novice teachers (with less than or equal to 5 years of experience) are shown next to the country/economy name (see Annex B).

Countries and economies are ranked in descending order of the percentage of lower secondary teachers who have an assigned mentor.

Source: OECD, TALIS 2018 Database, Table I.4.64.

 StatLink http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/888933932722

Evidence shows that the characteristics of a teacher’s mentor matter for the quality of mentoring (Simmie et al., 2017[59]; Spooner-Lane, 2017[60]). A study conducted in New York City in the 2000s found strong evidence that retention within a particular school is higher when a mentor has previous experience working in that school, suggesting that an important part of mentoring may be the provision of school-specific knowledge (Rockoff, 2008[58]). TALIS asks teachers if they are an assigned mentor for at least one teacher at the time of the survey. Therefore, it is possible to describe mentors’ profiles. On average across the OECD, 13% of teachers with more than five years of experience and 6% of novice teachers act as mentors for at least one teacher. Experienced teachers are, therefore, about two times more likely to be an assigned mentor than novice teachers (Table I.4.64).

As experienced teachers represent more than 80% of the teacher population across the OECD countries and economies participating in TALIS (Table I.4.32), this implies that most mentors are experienced teachers. Yet, it may be also a deliberate and reasonable choice by education systems, by schools or by teachers themselves to assign relatively new teachers to mentor novice teachers, so they can share their recent experience in coping with the challenges of early career years.

Box I.4.6. Support systems for new teachers from primary to upper secondary education

TALIS findings indicate differences in availability of support systems (such as induction and mentoring) between education levels for some countries, based on available data from 13 countries on ISCED 1 and 2 and 11 countries on ISCED 2 and 3. Previous OECD evidence suggests that supporting new teachers could be of higher policy priority for secondary school teachers than for primary teachers (OECD, 2017[61]).

In 4 out of 13 education systems with available data, fewer primary schools offer access to some kind of induction activity than lower secondary schools (Table I.4.36), among which France (around 60% of primary schools) has the highest reported difference (23 percentage points). The opposite pattern is observed only in Denmark, where access to induction activities is more prevalent in primary schools (99%) than in lower secondary schools (91%). Overall, induction support for primary teachers is less prevalent in CABA (Argentina) (67%), Spain (61%) and France (59%). However, there is a greater prevalence of reduced teaching load for primary teachers, with more than 21% (the OECD average at the lower secondary level) of primary teachers reporting so in eight education systems (Table I.4.43).

In 7 out of the 11 education systems with available data on ISCED 2 and 3, more upper secondary teachers have participated in some kind of induction activity than their lower secondary counterparts (Table I.4.41). The highest difference is observed in Denmark (24 percentage points), which has one of the highest reported levels of participation in induction activities among upper secondary teachers (61%).

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Notes

← 1. The OECD average corresponds to the arithmetic mean of the estimates of the OECD countries and economies that participate in TALIS, with adjudicated data.

← 2. According to ISCED-2011, these education programmes, designed to provide participants with intermediate academic and/or professional knowledge, skills and competencies, typically consist of three to four years of full-time study (ISCED level 6).

← 3. Due to a change in the ISCED classifications between TALIS 2013 and TALIS 2018, it is not possible to disentangle the change in the percentage of teachers holding a bachelor’s degree and that of teachers holding a master’s degree. However, the percentage of teachers holding a bachelor’s degree or a master’s degree has risen in more than a third of countries and economies participating in TALIS since 2008 or 2013, depending on the data available.

← 4. The duration of a short-cycle tertiary education is usually about two years. Yet, in some countries, like Slovenia, this study programme can last three years and is equivalent to a bachelor’s degree.

← 5. Teach for Australia, which trained 800 teachers in 10 years, is an example of this fast-track teacher training programme (more information is available at www.teachforaustralia.org/).

← 6. Additional analyses, not presented in this report, were conducted on TALIS 2018 data to examine whether those teachers who did not receive content training tended to teach some subjects more than others, compared to the teachers who were trained in subject content. Analyses show that no particular subject really stands out cross-nationally. Teachers who were not trained in the content of the subject they teach are only slightly more likely to teach subjects such as technology and practical and vocational skills than their counterparts, on average across the OECD and TALIS participants. Yet, some subjects stand out nationally as being more likely to be taught by teachers who did not receive training in this subject: for example, mathematics in Alberta (Canada), technology and vocational skills in Belgium, or modern foreign languages in Iceland.

← 7. Training in all these domains is also more often included in the current education and training programmes received by teachers who completed it in the past five years (i.e. since 2013) than it was in the past. The largest increases are observed for training in the use of ICT.

← 8. The perspective of multiculturalism acknowledges and recognises expressions of diversity.

← 9. The markup is estimated as the ratio between 1) the difference between the percentage of teachers who felt “well” or “very well” prepared for an element and 2) the percentage of teachers for whom that element was included in their formal education or training.

← 10. For more information, see https://ec.europa.eu/programmes/erasmus-plus/opportunities_en.

← 11. TALIS defines in-service professional development as activities that aim to develop an individual’s skills, knowledge and expertise, among other things, and that have been undertaken after initial education or training.

← 12. While the questionnaire did not include any definition of what informal induction means, examples of informal induction activities could be informal peer work with other new teachers or a welcome handbook for new teachers.

← 13. TALIS also asks principals about the provisions included in teacher induction in their school, and their reports are relatively consistent with those of teachers (Table I.4.42).

← 14. One may wonder whether participating in induction adds any value to initial teacher training with regard to teacher self-efficacy. This question is examined by adding the elements included in teacher education or training as controls in the regressions of teacher self-efficacy. The positive relationship found in 11 countries and economies between participation in induction activities during first employment and self-efficacy still holds in 9 countries and economies, after controlling for all the elements included in teacher education or training (Table I.4.46). Similar results are found when replicating this approach for participation in induction activities at the current school, with 21 countries and economies for which the positive relationship found between participation in induction activities at the current school and self-efficacy still holds after controlling for the content of initial teacher education (Table I.4.48).

← 15. Not presented in this report.

← 16. Some of the substantial differences between 2013 and 2018 (most of which are negative) observed in Table I.4.67 may have resulted from specifying in 2018 that mentoring activities are “part of a formal arrangement”. The lack of this specification in 2013 may have led respondents to also include informal mentoring activities.

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