Tuesday, June 16, 2009

75% of Teachers in OECD Countries Feel They Lack Incentives to Improve Their Teaching

The OECD (Organization for Economic & Cooperative Development) just published the results of the TALIS - Teaching & Learning International Survey, where they studied 23 countries and examined teacher preparedness, professional development, rewards and incentives.  

The countries they studied are: Australia, Austria, Belgium (Flemish Community), Brazil, Bulgaria, Denmark, Estonia, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Korea, Lithuania, Malaysia, Malta, Mexico, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain and Turkey.

They looked at approximately 200 schools in each country, with one principal completing the survey for each school, and a random selection of about 20 teachers per school.

The results are interesting to say the least.  

Here's the big one: 3 out of 4 teachers feel they don't receive any incentives to improve their teaching practice.  Not exactly uplifting news for this Tuesday morning.

Here are my personal favourites from the report:
  • On average, teachers spend 13% of classroom time maintaining order, but in Brazil and Malaysia the proportions rises to more than 17%. In Bulgaria, Estonia, Lithuania and Poland, by contrast, less than 10% of classroom time is lost in this way.
  • Aside from classroom disturbances, other factors hindering instruction included student absenteeism (46%), students turning up late for class (39%), profanity and swearing (37%), and intimidation or verbal abuse of other students (35%).
  • Along with the lack of incentives for improvement, teachers in some countries do not even undergo any systematic appraisal or receive any feedback on their work.  This is the case for more than 25% of teachers in Ireland and Portugal, 45% in Spain and 55% in Italy.
If only Canada and the UK were a part of this report!  I have a feeling that our teachers would say more than 13% of their time is spent managing student behaviour in London classrooms.

This is the first study of its kind, so let's hope that there are more international studies looking at teaching practice in the future.

What do you think?  Are you surprised by any of these results?  In your own experience, would your school agree with this report?

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