Showing posts from September, 2012

A lesson in teaching from the grassroots

by Andreas Schleicher
Deputy Director for Education and Special Advisor on Education Policy to the OECD's Secretary General

I was in London last week to give a talk on “how to transform 10,000 classrooms” at the annual Teach First/Teach for All conference in London. Some 3,000 teachers and social entrepreneurs from around the world gathered there to discuss ways to re-invent and strengthen the teaching profession. The aspiration of the organisations under the Teach for All umbrella is to enlist promising future leaders from across academic disciplines and careers to teach at least two years in high-need schools and become lifelong promoters of educational quality and equity.

The enthusiasm, commitment and growing professionalism of these grassroots organisations was inspiring. I heard many stories of people who had left successful careers to join the teaching force in order to make a significant impact on the lives of disadvantaged children. In some countries, participation levels …

A Window into the classroom

Dirk Van Damme
by Division Head, Innovation and Measuring Progress (IMEP) and Head of Centre for Educational Research and Innovation (CERI)

An excellent teacher is what makes students learn and succeed in school. Everything else – standards, curricula, assessments, resources, school leadership – come second. Yet, what do we actually know about what teachers are doing?

Classrooms seem to be the ‘black boxes’ of the education system. There is not an awful lot of research on classroom teaching practices, but TALIS 2008 provides some self-reported data on teaching practices and professional activities including participation in collaborative learning with colleagues. The main TALIS report, published in 2009, compared the relative preference for three different teaching practices – structuring, student oriented and enhanced activities – across the 23 different countries that participated in the survey. The report showed differences between countries regarding the extent to which teachers ar…

Looking for equity in education? Follow the (public) money

by Marilyn Achiron
Editor, Directorate for Education

Talk of school vouchers inevitably triggers heated debate: do they give all students equal access to quality education? Or do they transfer resources away from precisely those schools that need them the most and inadvertently create a two-tier system of education?

This month’s PISA in Focus highlights results from PISA 2009 show that while privately managed schools do tend to attract advantaged students, the scale of the difference between the socio-economic profiles of publicly and privately managed schools is associated with the level of public funding allocated to privately managed schools – and with how that funding is provided.

In Finland, the Netherlands, the Slovak Republic, Sweden and the partner economy Hong Kong-China, principals in privately managed schools reported that over 90% of school funding comes from the government, while in Belgium, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Luxembourg and Slovenia, between 80% and 90% does. In c…

Welcome to my world. Won’t you come on in?

by Valérie Lafon
Analyst - Institutional Management in Higher Education
As a young mother, in relation to my children’s age, and being the ripe old age of 40, I am discovering the daily ritual of education.

Education, we believe, will make our children’s dreams real, open the door to knowledge and experiences, help them grow, and ultimately give them the tools to live a happy, well-rounded life with a fulfilling career.

Filled with goodwill, well-informed thanks to working at the OECD and steeped in the notion that higher education will provide my children with the best and most appropriate skills, I found myself, like many other parents, lost in this new environment.

Looking at all of these issues, different worlds having different rules with goals at times at odds with each other and difficult to reconcile. Five separate worlds…

The world of learning

A plethora of various stakeholders are saturating the media and students are fighting to be heard. Perhaps so many different players mak…

Investing in people, skills and education for inclusive growth and jobs

by J.D. LaRock
Senior Analyst, Innovation and Measuring Progress Division, Directorate for Education
As the spectre of another economic downturn looms large in many countries and is already a reality in others, new data from the 2012 edition of Education at a Glance: OECD Indicators – released today – provides powerful insights into the link between education, economic progress and social mobility around the world.

For example, as detailed in the book’s new indicator on education and economic growth, more than half of the GDP growth in OECD countries over the past decade is related to labour-income growth among workers with higher education.  Indeed, even as GDP across all OECD countries shrank by 3.8% during the global recession year of 2009, growth in labour income among people with higher education contributed nearly 0.4% to the GDP of these countries overall. In contrast, the contraction of labour income that year among people with a medium level of education reduced the GDP by 0.8…

What can be done to support new teachers?

by Kristen Weatherby
Senior Analyst, Teaching and Learning International Survey (TALIS)

While many students in the Northern Hemisphere are starting a new school year, this is also the first day of school for thousands of new teachers around the world. Walking into a new classroom – “your own” classroom – for the first time can be exciting and daunting. The pressures on a new teacher are many: administrative tasks, classroom management issues, dealing with potentially intimidating parents, challenges of developing lessons and marking homework and more. Most importantly, though, new teachers need to take what they learned in the weeks or months of teacher preparation, as well as their knowledge of the subject area, and put that to practice in shaping and motivating the learning of the 25, 50 or 150 students in their classes.

It’s no wonder that on average nearly 10% of teachers leave the profession within the first 1-3 years of teaching. But as our new Teaching in Focus brief shows, ther…