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The latest OECD Teaching and Learning International Survey (TALIS) reveals that more than 90% of teachers love and feel satisfied with their jobs, but very few feel valued by society. The study targeted more than 100 000 lower secondary teachers and school leaders in 34 countries and aimed to find out more about the working conditions and learning environments in schools. The main areas of research in the study are school leadership, teacher training, appraisal and feedback to teachers, teachers’ pedagogical beliefs, attitudes and teaching practices, and teachers’ reported feeling of self-efficacy, job satisfaction, and school and classroom environment.
The study shows that collaborative working, peer observation and feedback from school leaders contribute to teachers’ better performance, improved job satisfaction and the feeling of being valued. However, less than half of the teachers report receiving feedback for their work or team-teaching with colleagues while even fewer have the opportunity to observe their colleagues teach. On the bright side, professional development opportunities seem to be out there as almost 90% of teachers say that they have attended professional development programmes and between 80% and 90% among them report positive impact of these programmes on their teaching. The area where teachers think they need more training is teaching students with special needs. ICT skills come next.
The appreciation of teachers matters not only for those who are already teaching but as well as for the students who are about to choose their professional paths. Not only do young people go into other fields where they see more opportunities but the question is also how many among the best students will decide to take up the path of becoming a school teacher. “We need to attract the best and brightest to join the profession. Teachers are the key in today’s knowledge economy, where a good education is an essential foundation for every child’s future success,” said Andreas Schleicher, OECD Director for Education and Skills.