Global Education Study Shows Teachers Feel Undervalued

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26th June 2014 12:27 - Education

A large scale study, conducted by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), has shown that over two thirds (69%) of teachers feel their profession is undervalued.

The research – OECD’s Teaching and Learning International Survey (TALIS) – was done with more than 100,000 secondary school teachers and leaders spanning across 34 countries.

Despite a high percentage of respondents saying they feel undervalued, unsupported and unrecognised, more than nine in 10 said they were satisfied with their job, and four fifths said that, if given the chance, they would choose the profession again.

The survey’s results showed too many teachers work in isolation, with over half stating they rarely or never team-teach with colleagues, and just one third saying they observe their colleague teach.

Feedback is reportedly rare with almost half (46%) of the teachers surveyed saying they never get pointers from their school leader. Almost one third (31%) believe constantly underperforming colleagues would be dismissed.

Across all countries an average of 13% said they never receive feedback – this average rose to between 22%-45% in Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Italy, Spain and Sweden.

Of those who do receive feedback, 62% said it resulted in moderate or large improvements in their teaching practice.

Teachers in Japan tallied the most amount of hours spent working during term time, averaging 54 hours – way above the typical working week, with teachers from Singapore (48 hours) and England (46 hours) also going above and beyond.

On the other end of the spectrum, teachers in countries such as Italy (29 hours) and Finland (32 hours) work considerably less than the average expected for a full-time working week.

Across all of the 34 countries surveyed, the average total amount of time spent working, in term time, per week, was 38 hours. Broken down, this figure includes: seven hours preparing lessons, five hours marking and two hours on school management, working with parents and extracurricular activities.

The typical class size is 24 students and, according to the study, teachers spend an average of 19 hours a week in their classroom teaching – this ranges from as little as 15 hours in Norway and up to 27 hours in Chile. However, in approximately half of the countries measured, around one third (30%) of this time is interrupted by classroom disruptions and administrative tasks.

On average, the teaching profession is weighted more towards females (68%) than males – bar Japan - with a combined average age of 43 years old. Singapore had the youngest average age, and Italy the oldest.

Males (51%) marginally beat females when it came to school leader status, with an older collective average age of 50.

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