Who are our teachers?

by Kristen Weatherby

Senior Analyst, Teaching and Learning International Survey (TALIS)

As we celebrate this year’s UNESCO World Teachers Day, many of us think back to our favourite teacher. Mine was Mr. Monroe, the high school English teacher who instilled in me a love for writing that still exists today.  We all have favourite teachers, those inspirational leaders whom we hope our children or loved ones will encounter at some point during their schooling. But what makes a good teacher? And what do we know about the teachers in our schools today?

When the results of the OECD’s Teaching and Learning International Survey were first released in 2009, we were able to start answering some of these questions. TALIS 2008 was the first and largest international survey of teachers, giving teachers and school leaders in 24 countries a voice to speak about their experiences. Teachers told us about their initial teacher training and the professional development they receive; the feedback they get on their teaching; the climate in their classrooms and schools; their own satisfaction with their jobs; and their feelings about their abilities as teachers.

In the past four years, TALIS findings and cross-country comparisons have informed policy recommendations, been at the heart of ministerial-level discussions at the International Summits on the Teaching Profession, and driven discussions about the future of teaching as a profession. As more countries are now talking about improving teacher quality, TALIS data is more relevant than ever.

The OECD just finished data collection for the current cycle of TALIS, which has expanded to include 33 countries. As with TALIS 2008, all countries surveyed lower-secondary teachers, but several countries also chose to study their primary and upper-secondary school teachers as well. We have a team of analysts and experts looking at the data now, and will reveal the results of TALIS 2013 in June of 2014.

We’re looking forward to getting an updated picture on the state of teaching in our schools, as well as some new information. Watch this space over the coming months to learn more about how you can access the new data.

Until then, take a look at our newly-updated TALIS website, where you can easily find all of our publications, policy briefs, TALIS 2008 data, and the questionnaires we use in the survey.  And take some time to say thank you to your favourite teacher today. Thank you, Mr. Monroe!

OECD Teaching and Learning International Survey 
World Teachers’ Day 2013 celebrations at UNESCO 
Teachers for the 21st Century: Using Evaluation to Improve Teaching
Synergies for Better Learning: An International Perspective on Evaluation and Assessment
Follow TALIS and Kristen Weatherby @Kristen_Talis
Photo credit: Question mark symbol in chalk over complex calculation /@ Shutterstock

Leave a Reply