That, in a nutshell, was the topic of discussion at the second International Summit on the Teaching Profession, held in New York in March 2012 and attended by ministers, union leaders and teacher leaders from 23 of the 25 highest-performing and most rapidly improving education systems, according to the OECD’s Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA). Preparing Teachers and Developing School Leaders for the 21st Century: Lessons from around the World, the report that guided the talks, tackles the issues involved in a three-pronged approach: developing school leaders, improving teaching practices, and recruiting, training and retaining high-quality teachers.
OECD research finds that school leaders can make a difference in school and student performance if they are granted the autonomy to make important decisions–including about which teachers to hire for their schools. For their part, teachers not only need a rich repertoire of teaching strategies and the knowledge of how and when to use certain methods and strategies, they also need to be able to use new technologies as teaching tools and be open to innovation. Meanwhile, education systems must be able to attract high-quality teachers by offering competitive compensation and professional status and by encouraging opportunities for professional development throughout their careers.
Sprinkled throughout the concise report are examples of successful or promising policies and programmes from around the world, including: programmes to develop school leaders in Ontario, the US, Singapore and Scotland; teacher-education approaches in Finland, Australia, Japan and China; and recruitment and retention practices in Singapore, Sweden and England.
OECD (2012), Preparing Teachers and Developing School Leaders for the 21st Century: Lessons from around the World, OECD Publishing.
©OECD Observer No 292, Q3 2012