Empowering teachers to improve equity and inspire learning

by Andreas Schleicher 
Director, OECD Directorate for Education and Skills

Fáilte! Welcome to the International Summit on the Teaching Profession 

The expectations for teachers are high and rising each day. We expect teachers to have a deep understanding of what they teach and to keep up with the rapidly expanding knowledge base; to be passionate, compassionate and thoughtful; to make learning central and encourage students’ engagement and responsibility; to respond effectively to students of different needs, backgrounds and mother tongues, and to promote tolerance and social cohesion; to provide continual assessments of students and feedback; and to ensure that students feel valued and included and that learning is collaborative. We also expect teachers themselves to collaborate and work in teams, and with other schools and parents, to set common goals, and plan and monitor the attainment of goals collaboratively. And there is more to this: Successful learners generally had a teacher who was a mentor and took a real interest in their aspirations, who helped students understand who they are, discover what their passions are and where they can capitalise on their specific strength; who taught them how to love to learn and to build effective learning strategies as the foundation for lifelong learning.

All of this is easy to say, hard to do. But one thing is clear, where teachers are not part of the design of effective policies and practices, they won’t be effective in their implementation. Education needs to do more to create a teaching profession that owns its professional practice. When teachers feel a sense of ownership over their classrooms and their profession, when students feel a sense of ownership over their learning, that is when productive learning takes place. And when teachers assume that ownership, it is difficult to ask more of them than they ask of themselves. So the answer is to strengthen trust, transparency, professional autonomy and the collaborative culture of the profession all at the same time.

The International Summit on the Teaching Profession, which brings together Ministers and Union leaders of the best performing and most rapidly improving education systems each year, has proved the ideal platform to move the search for effective teacher policies and practices forward. And one of the secrets of the success of the Summit has been that it explores difficult and controversial issues on the basis of sound evidence, provided by the OECD as global leader for internationally comparable data and analysis.

The OECD’s most recent report, Empowering and Enabling Teachers to Improve Equity and Outcomes for All, supports these discussions by looking at how high-performing education systems learn to adapt, providing teachers with the necessary tools to help students develop new sets of skills in a rapidly changing landscape.

The 2017 International Summit on the Teaching Profession (ISTP 2017)
ISTP Summit Background report: Empowering and Enabling Teachers to Improve Equity and Outcomes for All  by Montserrat Gomiendo, Deputy Director, OECD Directorate for Education and Skills
29-31 March in Edinburgh, Scotland
Archived webinar – Empowering and Enabling Teachers to Improve Equity and Outcomes for All (with Andreas Schleicher, Director for the Directorate of Education and Skills, OECD)
Follow on Twitter #ISTP2017

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