Researchers and policy makers agree that recruiting, training and retaining quality teachers is key to improving student outcomes. Many OECD countries, however, face the challenge of an ageing teaching workforce, high rates of attrition among new teachers and a shortage of quality teachers in disadvantaged context. In some countries, there is also concern about the quality of teacher education and the attractiveness of the teaching profession. Recruiting high-achieving and motivated candidates into teacher education programmes is a mounting concern.
The Innovative Teaching for Effective Learning (ITEL) project explores the characteristics of teaching as a knowledge profession in the 21st century, addressing three main policy challenges:
In order to address these questions, the ITEL project focuses on a key aspect of teacher quality: teachers’ pedagogical knowledge. There is agreement that a high level of pedagogical knowledge is part of effective teaching, but there is still a need to assess teacher knowledge as a predictor of effective teaching and student achievement. In order to disentangle how pedagogical knowledge relates to teacher quality, we must also ask how it relates to learning opportunities in teacher education and, equally, to professional competence. This has implications across the spectrum of teacher learning, from initial teacher education to ongoing professional development.
The conceptual framework underpinning the study is positioned within a larger framework of teachers’ overall professional competence, as illustrated in the diagram below: