Tuesday, July 01, 2014

What did we learn from TALIS?

by Kristen Weatherby
Senior Analyst, Directorate for Education and Skills



Last week we shared with the world the latest results from the OECD Teaching and Learning International Survey (TALIS) , at an Informal Meeting of Ministers of Education (17th OECD/Japan Seminar) held in Tokyo on 25-26 June. 

TALIS touched upon a wide range of teacher-centred topics, from professional development to collaboration and teaching practices. TALIS has revealed many areas about teacher policies and behaviour that should be encouraged to continue development of the profession as a whole. However, it has also highlighted areas in some countries that could benefit from reform. The results of TALIS were widely received across countries as valuable information from which school leaders, teachers and policy makers can benefit.

For example, at the launch event in Mexico last week, the OECD presented the finding that 1 in 4 Mexican teachers do not feel prepared for their work. Furthermore, the TALIS results indicate that Mexico has the lowest percentage of teachers who have completed initial teacher education (only 62% versus 90% on average across countries). Additionally, 7% of Mexican teachers do not feel qualified to perform their work. The Mexican Secretary of Basic Education, Alba Martinez Olive, conceded that the TALIS results were not surprising given the complex realities that Mexican teachers face.

At the U.S. launch of TALIS, it was very encouraging to learn that so many teachers love their jobs (nearly 90%) but less heartening to find that only around 40% of US teachers believe the best-performing teachers in their schools receive the most recognition. However, there was much discussion about the support that is provided to teachers, in terms of quality, professional development and feedback on their teaching. Participants in the U.S. launch discussed the importance of increasing in-depth collaboration between teachers and how school leaders and districts need to provide space and guidance for teachers to do this.

The Education Fast Forward debate (EFF 10) on the TALIS results further emphasised the significance of teacher collaboration, and the topic resonated amongst followers on Twitter. Participants also discussed the important role of interpersonal relationships between teachers in negating some of the otherwise detrimental effects that a challenging classroom climate might have on a teachers’ job satisfaction and feelings of self-efficacy.   

Meanwhile, in Spain, TALIS was launched at a National Seminar for teachers. Participants discussed the findings that feedback and appraisal mechanisms for teachers are rare in Spain. One-third of teachers (32%) report never having received feedback in their current school and less than half (43%) of teachers in Spain report receiving feedback following a classroom observation.

This is only a small sample of the wealth of national and international findings that are available from the TALIS data. More importantly, it’s not only the data, but what we do with the data that is important. In addition to the international report, country-specific findings and the TALIS dataset, you can also download the TALIS Teachers’ Guide on our website. This small report offers insights to teachers and school leaders as to how they can make changes to improve teaching and learning in their schools, based on key findings in TALIS. 

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