Petite enfance et établissements scolaires

Teaching in Focus


The Teaching in Focus briefs shed new light on issues surrounding the teaching and learning environment in schools and teachers’ working conditions. They present data from the Teaching and Learning International Survey (TALIS), which is the first and only international survey on the conditions of teaching and learning. TALIS fills important information gaps in the international comparisons of education systems. It offers an opportunity for teachers and school principals to give their input into education analysis and policy development in some key policy areas. Cross-country analysis from TALIS allows countries to identify other countries facing similar challenges and to learn from other policy approaches. These briefs will provide policy makers, school leaders and teachers alike with a unique perspective on the experiences of teachers in schools around the world.



Teaching in Focus Brief No. 19 - How do teachers teach: insights from teachers and students(9 November 2017)

(will be available in French)

  • The Innovative Teaching for Effective Learning (ITEL) Teacher Knowledge Survey is the first international study to explore the nature, function and development of teachers’ pedagogical knowledge, i.e. what teachers know about teaching and learning.
  • In-service and pre-service teachers exhibited higher knowledge on the classroom management portion of the assessment than in other areas related to instructional process, such as teaching methods and lesson planning.
  • Results suggest that the more teachers learn about classroom management, the more confident they feel about mastering the teaching and learning process in general. Classroom management also seems to have a larger impact on self-efficacy than does learning about lesson planning.
  • In-service teachers who report feeling confident about managing classrooms also report higher quality instructional practices in this domain.
  • Knowledge related to learning and development; incorporating aspects of cognitive learning strategies, memory and information processes, is the area with most room for improvement in the pedagogical knowledge base.
Blog - What matters for managing classrooms?

by Francesca Gottschalk, Consultant, Directorate for Education and Skills

Teaching in Focus Brief No. 18 - How do teachers teach: insights from teachers and students(18 September 2017)

(available in French)

  • Almost all mathematics teachers across participating countries use clear and structured teaching practices, according to both teachers and students. A vast majority of teachers also use student-oriented practices and enhanced learning activities in their classroom.
  • Cross-country differences are weak regarding the use of structuring practices, but moderate regarding the use of student-oriented practices and enhanced learning activities.
  • Overall, mathematics teachers tend to report, more often than students, that they use a given teaching practice.
  • The gap between teacher and student reports about the use of a given teaching practice varies across countries. Overall, the highest degree of convergence is observed for structuring practices, and the smallest is observed for student-oriented practices.

Blog - Entering the “black box”: Teachers’ and students’ views on classroom practices

by Pablo Fraser and Noémie Le Donné, Analysts, Directorate for Education and Skills

Teaching in Focus Brief No. 17 - Do new teachers feel prepared for teaching(9 May 2017)

(available in French)

  • Across TALIS 2013 countries and economies, new teachers with a maximum of three years’ work experience comprise, on average, 10% of the total teacher population.
  • New teachers are more likely to feel prepared in the content of their subject field(s), rather than the pedagogy or classroom practice of their subject field(s). However, the levels of their perceived preparedness were lower than experienced teachers in all three domains.
  • In nearly two-thirds of TALIS 2013 countries and economies, the largest difference in reported preparedness between new and experienced teachers was in classroom practice of the subject field(s) they teach, followed by the pedagogy of the subject field(s) they teach.

Blog - Do new teachers feel prepared for teaching?
by Yoon Young Lee, Consultant, Directorate for Education and Skills

Teaching in Focus Brief No. 16 - How can professional development enhance teachers’ classroom practices(10 April 2017)

(available in French)

  • Teacher professional development is deemed to be high quality when it includes opportunities for active learning methods, an extended time period, a group of colleagues, and collective learning activities or research with other teachers. The higher the exposure of teachers to high-quality professional development, the more likely they are to use a wide variety of teaching practices in the classroom.
  • Professional development activities that focus on curriculum knowledge (rather than subject knowledge or pedagogy) and that involve collaborating with other teachers seem particularly well suited to enhancing teachers’ classroom practices. However, these types of professional development are not those that are most widely used around the world.
  • Not all teachers have equal access to high-quality professional development. In some countries and economies, different participation rates in high-quality professional development are observed between male and female teachers, as well as between teachers who have and have not completed initial teacher education.

Teaching in Focus Brief No. 15 - School leadership for developing professional learning communities (20 September 2016)

(available in French and Spanish)

  • Instructional leadership is the set of practices that principals use in relation to the improvement of teaching and learning. It is a strong predictor of how teachers collaborate and engage in a reflective dialogue about their practice. In most countries and economies, the majority of principals act as instructional leaders, though one-third rarely engage in any of this type of action.
  • Distributed leadership is the ability of schools to incorporate different stakeholders in their decisionmaking processes. This type of leadership appears to advance the creation of a shared sense of purpose within schools. Nearly all schools involve their staff in decision-making processes, but they differ concerning the opportunities that are offered to students and their parents/guardians to be involved in school decisions.
  • Principals who acquired instructional leadership competencies through training, or in a separate course, are more engaged in instructional leadership actions in their school than principals who have not participated in such training.

Blog - Leaders for learning
by Montserrat Gomendio, Deputy Director, Directorate for Education and Skills

The success of the Olympic games this year has been thrilling to watch, with the coaches of different teams playing a widely recognised role. As leaders with a vision, coaches choose the members of their teams, assign roles, train and support athletes. In the same way, leaders in all fields are recognised as having a huge responsibility in the success or failure of their teams.

Teaching in Focus Brief No. 14 - Teacher professionalism (12 February 2016)

(available in French and Spanish)

  • A new OECD report, Supporting Teacher Professionalism, based on the Teaching and Learning International Survey (TALIS), conceptualises teacher professionalism as being comprised of: knowledge base, defined as necessary knowledge for teaching; autonomy, defined as teachers’ decision making over aspects related to their work; and peer networks, defined as opportunities for information exchange and support needed to maintain high standards of teaching.
  • Education systems differ in terms of the emphasis placed on each of the teacher professionalism domains. Across all systems there is a particularly positive relationship between knowledge and peer network domains and teacher satisfaction, self-efficacy and perceptions of the value of the teaching profession in the society.
  • Practices supporting teacher professionalism are less common in schools with higher proportions of socio-economically disadvantaged students. However, investing in teacher professionalism can be particularly beneficial in these schools as the positive relationship between knowledge, peer networks and teacher satisfaction is amplified in challenging schools.

Blog - Why teacher professionalism matters
by Katarzyna Kubacka, Analyst, Directorate for Education and Skills

If you were to search for the term teacher professionalism on the Internet, you may come across websites recommending a professional dress code or “look” for teachers. Although this may be of some use to a new teacher, appearance is not what most policy makers, school leaders and teachers have in mind when they insist on the need for a quality professional teacher force.

Teaching in Focus Brief No. 13 - Teaching beliefs and practice (17 September 2015)
(available in French and Spanish)

  • Most teachers participating in the Teaching and Learning International Survey (TALIS) report that they see themselves as facilitators to students’ own enquiry (94%) and that students should think of their own solutions to practical problems before teachers show them the solution (93%). These answers indicate that most teachers hold constructivist beliefs, i.e., they see learning as an active process that aims to foster critical and independent thinking.
  • At the same time, teachers report using passive teaching practices, such as presenting a summary of recently learned work, more frequently than active teaching practices. Less than a third of teachers ask students to work on a project that requires at least a week to complete (an active teaching practice).
  • Engagement in professional development and a positive classroom climate are among the factors associated with a more frequent use of active teaching.

Blog - Classroom practices and teachers’ beliefs about teaching
by Katarzyna Kubacka, Analyst, Directorate for Education and Skills

Every September, classrooms in the Northern hemisphere reopen to students and teachers for a new school year. What can students expect from their teachers this year? The new Teaching in Focus brief: Teaching beliefs and practice  sheds light on some of the most common teaching practices and what teachers in Teaching and Learning International Survey (TALIS) believe is the nature of teaching and learning.

Teaching in Focus Brief No. 12 - Teaching with technology (15 July 2015)
(available in French and Spanish)

  • Information and communication technology (ICT) use has been identified as one of the more active teaching practices, which promote skills students need for success. And yet, less than 40% of teachers across Teaching and Learning International Survey (TALIS) countries report using ICT as a regular part of their teaching practice.
  • Shortages in computers, Internet access and software are commonly reported by school principals as hindering the provision of quality education in their schools.
  • Across TALIS countries, many teachers report that the second and third most critical needs for their professional development are training in the use of ICT for teaching, and in new technologies in the workplace.
  • The use of ICT in teaching can be encouraged particularly by participation in professional development activities (such as those that involve individual or collaborative research, or networks of teachers) anda positive classroom climate.

Blog - Teachers in the digital world
by Katarzyna Kubacka, Analyst, Directorate for Education and Skills

Rapid developments in Information and Communication Technology (ICT) have made it an important part of our daily lives, from staying in contact with people, to checking traffic and booking tickets. However, ICT can also be a useful tool for teachers in advancing 21st century learning. As the new Teaching in Focus (TIF) brief ‘Teaching with technology’ reports, the use of ICT for students’ projects or class work is an active teaching practice that promotes skills for students’ lifelong success.

Teaching in Focus Brief No. 11 - Supporting new teachers (19 May 2015)
(available in French and Spanish)

  • In many countries, less experienced teachers (those with less than five years’ teaching experience) are more likely to work in challenging schools and less likely to report confidence in their teaching abilities than more experienced teachers.
  • Most countries have activities in place aimed at preparing teachers for work, such as induction and mentoring programmes.
  • Approximately 44% of teachers work in schools where principals report that all new teachers have access to formal induction programmes; 76% work in schools with access to informal induction; and 22% work in schools that only have programmes for teachers new to teaching.
  • Fewer teachers report participation in induction and mentoring programmes than principals report the existence of such programmes.

Blog - Thrown in at the deep end: Support for teachers’ first years
by Katarzyna Kubacka, Analyst, Directorate for Education and Skills

The first day at work can be stressful for anyone. But what if that day involves teaching in front of a classroom filled with disruptive students? This may not be the reality for every new teacher, but as the new Teaching in Focus brief “Supporting new teachers” shows, it is the case for many.

Teaching in Focus Brief No. 10 - Embedding professional development in schools for teacher success
(available in French and Spanish)

  • Teachers report participating in more non-school than school embedded professional development (i.e. professional development that is grounded in teachers daily professional practices).
  • Participation in non-school and school embedded professional development varies greatly between countries.
  • Teachers report more positive impacts on their classroom teaching from school than non-school embedded professional development.

Blog - Teachers learn better at school
by Darleen Opfer, OECD Thomas J Alexander Fellow

We probably all fondly remember having a holiday from school for teacher training days. A logistical problem for our parents, perhaps, but a blissful free day off for students. We didn’t consider what teachers were doing during these training days. But if we had, we would have wanted them focused on activities directly related to our school experience.  The new Teaching in Focus brief shows that professional development embedded in school life has more impact on teaching practice than non-school embedded professional development.

Teaching in Focus Brief No. 9 - Improving School Climate and Students' Opportunities to Learn
(available in French and Spanish)

  • Almost one in three teachers across countries participating in the 2013 Teaching and Learning International Survey (TALIS) reports having more than 10% of potentially disruptive students with behaviour problems in their classes.
  • Teachers with more than one in ten students with behaviour problems spend almost twice as much time keeping order in the classroom than their peers with less than 10% of such students in their class.
  • Behaviour issues such as intimidation or verbal abuse among students are associated with student absenteeism.
  • Schools that promote participation of students, teachers and parents in school decisions, combined with a culture of shared responsibility and mutual support, tend to have lower incidence of student misbehaviour.

Blog - Improving school climate and opportunities to learn
by Gabriela Miranda Moriconi, Researcher, Department for Educational Research at Fundação Carlos Chagas, Brazil

January marks the preparation for the academic year in the Southern Hemisphere, where the school year spans from February/March to November/December. More than simply allocating time for classes and other extra-curricular activities, it is an opportunity to reflect on  how to make the best use of classroom time, in order to maximise  learning opportunities for all students. The new Teaching in Focus brief “Improving school climate and opportunities to learn” provides some useful insights into how school climate issues affect actual learning time and discusses some initiatives that could be promoted to make the most of the time that students spend in the classroom.

Teaching in Focus Brief No. 8What TALIS reveals about teachers across education levels 
(available in French and Spanish)

The report New insights from TALIS 2013: Teaching and Learning in Primary and Upper Secondary Education presents an overview of teachers and teaching in primary and upper secondary education for a sample of countries that participated in the OECD Teaching and Learning International Survey (TALIS) in 2013.

  • Women represent the majority of the teaching workforce for most countries at all levels of education. Despite this and the fact that most principals are former teachers, significantly fewer principals are women at all education levels.
  • Primary teachers tend to work in schools where principals report material and personnel shortages that hinder the delivery of quality education more often than upper secondary teachers. Moreover, schools with high proportion of socio-economically disadvantaged students face greater shortages in terms of key resources in many countries. This further exacerbates the already-challenging circumstances for teachers and students

Blog - Shedding light on teaching and learning across education levels
by Katarzyna Kubacka, Analyst, Directorate for Education and Skills 

Looking at teachers at all levels of education, we learn that the majority of teachers are women. In all countries, the percentage of male teachers is particularly low in primary schools where teaching is still seen as a women’s job.  As a result young children are missing out on role models of both sexes.

Teaching in Focus Brief No. 7 - School improvement through strong leadership
(available in French and Spanish)

  • According to the OECD Teaching and Learning International Survey (TALIS), principals, on average, report frequently engaging in a number of activities that are consistent with instructional leadership. However, this is not the case in every country and large proportions of them report that their training did not include any instructional leadership training or course.
  • Although continuous professional development could help fill those gaps, many school leaders report a number of obstacles preventing them from taking part in such learning, including a lack of support and opportunities, and personal and professional obstacles.

Blog - Schools call for improvement through strong leadership
by Marie-Amélie Doring Serre, Trainee, Directorate for Education and Skills

Every organisation needs a strong leader to get a sense of direction, to set and achieve specific goals. Howard Gardner defines a leader as "an individual (or, rarely, a set of individuals) who significantly affects the thoughts, feelings, and/or behaviours of a significant number of individuals". Being a leader clearly involves a good understanding of human nature, no matter what the area of leadership.

Teaching in Focus Brief No. 6 - Unlocking the potential of teacher feedback
(available in French and in Spanish)

Across countries and economies participating in the OECD Teaching and Learning International
Survey (TALIS), a majority of teachers report receiving feedback on different aspects of their work
in their schools.

  • Teacher feedback has a developmental focus, with many teachers reporting that it leads to improvements in their teaching practices, and other aspects of their work.
  • However, not all feedback is seen as meaningful: nearly half of the teachers across TALIS countriesreport that teacher appraisal and feedback systems in their school are largely undertaken simply to fulfil administrative requirements.
  • Teachers who consider that they receive meaningful feedback on their work also tend to have more confidence in their own abilities and to have higher job satisfaction.

Blog - Delivering feedback for better teaching (version française)
by Katarzyna Kubacka, Analyst, Directorate for Education and Skills

October 5 marks the 20th anniversary of UNESCO’s World Teachers' Day, a day devoted to “appreciating, assessing and improving educators of the world”. This gives us a great opportunity to reflect again on how schools can celebrate and develop great teaching. One way to do that is through critical exchanges – building constructive feedback systems within the schools.

Teaching in Focus Brief No. 5 - What helps teachers feel valued and satisfied with their jobs?
(available in French and in Spanish)

  • Less than one in three teachers across countries participating in the Teaching and Learning International Survey (TALIS) 2013 believes that the teaching profession is valued by society.
  • Nevertheless, the great majority of teachers in all surveyed countries are happy with their jobs.
  • Challenging classrooms with large proportions of students with behavioural problems and the perception that appraisals and feedback are done simply as administrative tasks are among factor that tend to lower job satisfaction.
  • Collaboration between teachers and positive teacher-student relationships, on the other hand, are among factors that can boost teacher job satisfaction.

Blog - How do teachers really feel about their job?
by Katarzyna Kubacka, Analyst, Directorate for Education and Skills

September marks the return to school for many students, particularly in the Northern Hemisphere, and the return to classrooms for many teachers. It is difficult to know exactly what teachers around the world are thinking as they walk into their classrooms. However, the Teaching and Learning International Survey (TALIS) provides us with some useful insights into how teachers feel about their profession and its standing in society.

Teaching in Focus Brief No. 4 - Fostering learning communities among teachers 
(available in French and Spanish)

  • According to the Teaching and Learning International Survey (TALIS), teachers across countries overwhelmingly desire more professional development.
  • In all TALIS countries, there are low rates of co-operative professional development and collaborative teaching practice.
  • Countries could use professional development to effectively and efficiently build and improve professional learning communities in schools.

Blog - Learning to Teach: Teaching to Learn
by Kristen Weatherby, Senior Analyst, Teaching and Learning International Survey (TALIS)

One thing we have learned from surveying teachers around the world as part of our Teaching and Learning International Survey (TALIS) is that teachers everywhere want more professional development. On average across countries, 55% of teachers are telling us this.


Teaching in Focus Brief No. 3 - How can teacher feedback be used to improve the classroom disciplinary climate? 
(available in French and Spanish)

  • Teachers – especially new ones – report that one of their greatest areas of need relates to improving classroom disciplinary climate.
  • Many teachers are not provided feedback on their classroom disciplinary climate through formal or informal appraisals.
  • Feedback on classroom disciplinary climate can help to improve both teacher self-efficacy and the overall quality of the classroom learning environment.

Blog - A class act: giving teachers feedback
by Kristen Weatherby, Senior Analyst, Teaching and Learning International Survey (TALIS)

When I think back on my first experiences as a student teacher of English language and literature to 13- and 14-year-olds, I don’t really remember the successes; I am not sure there were many during my teaching practice. Rather, I am reminded of the more colourful episodes of classroom management and student behaviour that seemed to occur all too frequently. For example, there was the time I looked up from reading to the class to see one student staring back with a green mustache and eyebrows. Another time one student jumped up from his desk and threw another student’s books out the window before I could blink. And then there were the countless times that I had to take away combs, brushes and makeup from both girls and boys in an effort to turn my classroom from a beauty salon into a place of learning. Needless to say, in these moments I didn’t feel like a very effective teacher.


Teaching in Focus Brief No. 2 - What can be done to support new teachers?
(available in French and Spanish)

  • Schools are providing support for new teachers in the form of mentoring and induction programmes, but nearly one third of new teachers report a high level of need for professional development around student discipline and behaviour problems.
  • Contrary to what is often reported, the schools in which new teachers teach are no different than those of their more experienced colleagues. According to the countries surveyed in the Teaching and Learning International Survey (TALIS),
  • New teachers spend less time on teaching and learning and more time on classroom management and report lower levels of self-efficacy than experienced teachers.

Blog - What can be done to support new teachers?
by Kristen Weatherby, Senior Analyst, Teaching and Learning International Survey (TALIS)

Schools are providing support for new teachers in the form of mentoring and induction programmes, but nearly one third of new teachers report a high level of need for professional development around student discipline and behaviour problems.


Teaching in Focus Brief No. 1 - Are teachers getting the recognition they deserve? 
(available in French and in Spanish)

  • According to the 24 countries surveyed in the Teaching and Learning International Survey (TALIS), on average, teachers who receive appraisals report implementing positive changes into their teaching.
  • Nearly half of teachers believe that teacher appraisal and feedback are carried out mainly to fulfill administrative requirements and about 75% say that they would not receive any recognition for improving their teaching or for being more innovative.
  • Although teachers view the appraisal of their work in positive terms, many of them say they do not get regular appraisals of their work. More than one in five teachers say they have never received appraisal and feedback from their school principal.

Blog - Are teachers getting the recognition they deserve?
by Kristen Weatherby, Senior Analyst, Teaching and Learning International Survey (TALIS)

More and more countries are having discussions about how to evaluate the quality of their teaching workforce and, subsequently, how to reward teachers for their work. The OECD’s newest series of briefs, Teaching in Focus, launches this month with a discussion of the appraisal and feedback teachers receive and the impact of both on their teaching.



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