A new survey offers impressive evidence of teachers' strong commitment to their profession and dedication to their students.
"Teachers do care," says Education International (EI) general secretary Fred van Leeuwen. "They have a deep desire to provide quality education for all, and are willing to work hard to improve their skills to meet the diverse needs of today's challenging student populations."
A new Teaching and Learning International Survey (Talis) offers a series of comparative perspectives of teaching and learning conditions of lower secondary teachers in public and private schools in 23 OECD member and partner countries. For the first time, the study sought the views of classroom teachers around the world about their professional lives.
"The Talis survey offers unique insights into the attitudes of teachers about their working conditions, school leadership, professional development, collegial feedback and appraisal, and other important issues in schools everywhere," says Van Leeuwen.
EI is positive about the findings, especially the emphasis on quality professional development. While 40% of respondents reported a lack of professional development opportunities, the data clearly show that teachers are eager for career-long learning. Indeed, many invest their own out-of-class time, energy, and personal funds in professional development.
A key feature of the Talis report is a highly individualistic approach to teachers' professional development.
A key concern about Talis is the potential for linkage of teachers' professional development with performance-based pay. "Facing the economic crisis, it is critical that governments invest in public education to build the knowledge economy," Van Leeuwen says. "That means investing in quality teachers."