Is physical health linked to better learning?

by Tracey Burns
Senior Analyst, Directorate for Education and Skills

Mahatma Gandhi once said: "it is health that is real wealth and not pieces of gold and silver". And indeed, our physical well-being is key to how we live our lives. But while we don't always make the link between our minds and our bodies, physical health is important for learning, too. 
Children who exercise regularly, have good nutrition and sleep well are more likely to attend school, and do well at school. And the benefits are not just for children: good physical health is associated with enhanced quality of life, increased productivity in the workplace and increased participation in the community and society. 
However, children and young people across the OECD are not engaging enough in the behaviours they need to be healthy. Between 2000 to 2016, PISA data show that children and young people were less likely to reach the minimum recommended daily physical activity levels (>60 minutes of moderate …

The importance of learning from data on education, migration and displacement

by Manos Antoninis, Director, Global Education Monitoring Report
Francesca Borgonovi, Senior Analyst, Directorate for Education and Skills

Migration and displacement are complex phenomena which play an important role in – but can also pose challenges to – development. These phenomena also pose particularly important challenges for education and training systems. Firstly, they can rapidly increase the number of people that require education services, thus challenging both richer countries, which until now had been adjusting to shrinking student populations, and poorer countries, where provision is already stretched, especially in remote areas or slums where migrants and refugees often converge.

Secondly, migration and displacement make classrooms more diverse. This means that the range of strategies teachers need to deploy increases in order to cater for a student population with larger differences in background characteristics, such as the language they speak at home.

Thirdly, educatio…

What makes for a satisfied science teacher?

by Tarek Mostafa
Analyst, Directorate for Education and Skills

Teachers play a vital role in the lives of their students. They impart knowledge, provide pastoral care, act as role models and, above all, create an environment that’s conducive to learning. But teaching is fraught with numerous challenges that could lead to dissatisfaction and ultimately to drop-out from the profession. Science teachers are particularly vulnerable to quitting their jobs given the opportunities that exist outside the teaching profession.

So what makes a science teacher satisfied enough that he or she would want to keep teaching, despite the challenges they might face?

Data from PISA’s 2015 teacher questionnaire provideinteresting evidence.

Science teachers who reported that pursuing a career in the teaching profession was their goal after finishing secondary school are far more satisfied with their jobs and with the profession as a whole. These teachers represent about 58% of all teachers on average across…

How primary and secondary teachers differ and why it matters

by Marie-Helene Doumet, 
Senior Analyst, Directorate for Education and Skills

Learning needs vary as we evolve through life. The early years of education set the stage for children’s well-being, cognitive and social-emotional development; young children starting out in the world require stability, reassurance, and encouragement, and need a warm and caring teacher. At primary school, teachers manage the class, teach all subjects, and help children develop not only basic competencies, but also emotional and social awareness. While this setting still requires a broad knowledge of many subjects, dealing directly with students’ social and emotional development also helps teachers bond with their class, which is essential to learning at such a young age. However, as children progress to high school, learning becomes more about the subject: secondary teachers focus on one or several subjects which they teach to a number of different classes. Their performance will be more strongly evaluated b…

Shaping, not predicting, the future of students

by Anthony Mann
Senior Analyst, Directorate for Education and Skills

Footballer Cristiano Ronaldo is reputed to have once said that there’s no point making predictions because nothing is set in stone. It is hard to predict the future, but in education policy at least it is not altogether impossible.

We know, for example, from data accumulated over many years that people who exhibited certain attributes when young are more likely (sometimes very much more likely) to do better in work as adults. They are much more likely to find work after leaving school or university and to earn more than people who are otherwise just like them.

Studies have shown, for example, that youngsters can expect to do better in work as adults if they read well at 10 or gain higher levels of qualifications.  We know as well, not least from recent OECD studies, that the children of wealthier parents routinely do better than their classmates from poorer backgrounds, even if they show the same academic promise as c…

Succeeding with resilience – Lessons for schools

by Johanna Boersch-Supan
Director, Vodafone Germany Foundation – think tank 

Digitisation is expected to profoundly change the way we learn and work – at a faster pace than previous major drivers of transformation. Many children entering school today are likely to end up working in jobs that do not yet exist. Preparing students for these unchartered territories means that we not only have to make sure that they have the right technical capabilities but that we have to strengthen their emotional and social skills. Resilience, the individual capacity to overcome adverse circumstances and use them as sources for personal development, lies at the core of being able to successfully adapt to change and thus actively engage with our digital world.
A special PISA analysis conducted by the OECD in collaboration with the Vodafone Germany Foundation shows that several countries were able to increase the share of academically resilient students with disadvantaged backgrounds over the last decade.*…

Learning for careers: The career pathways movement in the United States

by Nancy Hoffman, Senior Advisor, Jobs for the Future
Bob Schwartz, Senior Research Fellow, Harvard Graduate School of Education

Over the last generation, it has become clear that something has gone awry in how the United States prepares its young people for life. In spite of millions of young people pursuing university education, fewer than one in three young Americans successfully attain a bachelor’s degree, while millions of good middle-skills jobs go begging because of our failure to build programs to equip young people with the skills and credentials to fill them. In a climate of “university for all” only 20% of young Americans enrol in career and technical education programs, the US version of Vocational Education and Training. This struck us as both a problem and an opportunity crying out for a public policy response.

So when the opportunity arose to come to the OECD for three months in 2010 to participate in the last phase of the landmark Learning for Jobs study, we took leave …