The imperative about improving student outcomes is also about improving the quality of the teaching workforce. In recent years, however, recruiting and retaining quality teachers has become a challenge among some OECD countries. In addition to the ageing of the teaching workforce, some countries experience high rates of attrition among new teachers and a shortage of quality teachers in high-demand subject areas and disadvantaged schools. There is also concern about attracting high-achieving and motivated candidates into teacher education programmes.
Issues such as these have an impact on the quality of the resulting teaching workforce that is tasked with improving student outcomes. As research shows, teacher quality is an important factor in determining gains in student achievement, even after accounting for prior student learning and family background characteristics.
Teaching is a knowledge-rich profession and teachers possess highly-specialised knowledge. As professionals, teachers are expected to process and evaluate new knowledge relevant for their core professional practice and to regularly update their profession’s knowledge base. The Innovative Teaching for Effective Learning (ITEL) project is investigating the issue of teacher quality by studying the pedagogical knowledge base of teachers and how new knowledge is incorporated into the teaching profession.
Sonia Guerriero - Project Lead
Leonora Lynch-Stein - Assistant
Innovative Learning Environments
Brain and Learning
Our research aims to answer the following questions:
- What does teachers’ pedagogical knowledge look like?
Pedagogical knowledge refers to the specialised knowledge of teachers for creating effective teaching and learning environments for all students. Investigating how pedagogical knowledge relates to other factors such as teachers’ affective and motivational characteristics will help better understand the components of teachers’ professional competence.
- Does the knowledge base of the teaching profession sufficiently incorporate the latest scientific research on learning?
The interdisciplinary field of the Learning Sciences, which includes the neurosciences, has made huge progress in understanding how the human brain processes, encodes, and retrieves information. Understanding how the brain works can inform teachers’ pedagogical practice.
- Does the knowledge base of the teaching profession meet the expectations for teaching and learning 21st century skills?
The policy imperative for the teaching and learning of 21st century skills, such as problem-solving, collaboration, communication, and creativity, might entail a re-skilling of the current teacher workforce and upgrading of the knowledge base of the teaching profession
To address these questions, the ITEL project is developing a survey for implementation in 2015-2016 to profile the knowledge base of teachers and the knowledge dynamics in the teaching profession. Outcomes of the survey will examine implications for the instructional process and help countries derive evidence-based suggestions for educational policy.
For more information, download the Teachers’ Pedagogical Knowledge and the Teaching Profession Brochure
Symposium on "Teachers as Learning Specialists - Implications for Teachers' Pedagogical Knowledge and Professionalism"
Brussels, 18 June 2014
This symposium, co-hosted by CERI and the Department of Education and Training of the Flemish Ministry, brought together leading researchers in the field of pedagogical knowledge to discuss how teacher knowledge can be conceptualised and measured and what elements might influence this knowledge. The themes also included the potential of integrating new findings from the neurosciences in teachers’ knowledge base and what impact the increasing demand on teaching 21st century skills might have on teacher knowledge.
International Convention on the "Science of Learning: How Can it Make a Difference? Connecting Interdisciplinary Research on Learning to Practice and Policy in Education"
Shanghai, 1-4 March 2014
This collaborative initiative of OECD/CERI, the US National Science Foundation, UNESCO, Hong Kong University, Shanghai Normal University and East China Normal University, brought together exciting new research about learning from the United States, Asia and Europe that cut across many disciplines, levels of analysis and contexts to include cellular and molecular bases of learning, brain systems for learning, behavioural and cognitive aspects of learning, and socio-cultural influences on learning, among others. A two-day Dialogue was organised to discuss how the Science of Learning can make a difference in practice and policy-making in education. The aim was to achieve integration in two dimensions: integration among researchers, practitioners and policy-makers, and integration among various disciplines that study learning.
Summary report (upcoming)