TALIS Provides Evidence Teachers Care, Says Education International

    BRUSSELS, June 16 /CNW/ - Education International welcomes today's
release of the OECD's first Teaching and Learning International Survey
(TALIS). As a consultative partner throughout the process, EI recognises the
importance of this research which, for the first time, 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," said EI General Secretary Fred van Leeuwen.
    He noted that the survey's vast data base offers impressive evidence of
teachers' strong commitment to their profession and dedication to their
students. "Teachers do care," van Leeuwen said. "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
    TALIS 2009 is the first in 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. (Note: Important OECD
countries including the USA, Canada, France, Germany and the UK declined to
participate in the study.)
    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.
    Van Leeuwen cautioned that education ministries must not use this
evidence of teachers' willingness to pay as a reason to cut funding. "It is
still the responsibility of governments to invest in ongoing training for a
capable and highly-educated teaching force."
    A key feature of the TALIS report is a highly individualistic approach to
teachers' professional development. "However, as teacher trade unionists, we
know the value of learning together and we're concerned that TALIS runs the
risk of undermining collective strategies for school improvement," van Leeuwen
    Another key concern about TALIS is the potential for linkage of teachers'
professional development with performance-based pay according to results of
PISA, the OECD's large-scale study of student achievement, he said.
    "Facing the economic crisis, it is critical that governments invest in
public education to build the knowledge economy," van Leeuwen concluded. "That
means investing in quality teachers."

For further information:

For further information: Nancy Knickerbocker, EI Senior Coordinator,
Communications +32-476-85-07-01 or nancy.knickerbocker@ei-ie.org

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