Innovative Teaching for Effective Learning (ITEL) - Teacher Knowledge Survey



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

Nóra Révai - Consultant

Kristina Sonmark - Consultant

Francesca Gottschalk - Trainee

Karolina Deligiannidi - Trainee

Emily Heppner - Project Assistant




Related Projects:


Innovative Learning Environments


A puzzle depicting a human head with coloured brain regions.


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



Assessing Teachers’ General Pedagogical Knowledge 

This report was prepared by Prof. Dr. Johannes König, University of Cologne, Germany. The report provides a review of the empirical research on assessing teachers’ general pedagogical knowledge with the purpose to inform the design of an international assessment instrument. The report begins with a review of the background issues and policy context related to the state of the research and the justification for assessing teachers’ knowledge; then a selection of some previously conducted studies are thoroughly reviewed. Building on these research studies, conceptual issues such as the distinction between general pedagogical knowledge and pedagogical content knowledge, the content of general pedagogical knowledge, cultural sensitivity, and assessment formats are discussed. The paper concludes with recommendations for a large-scale assessment test design.


Teacher Motivation Research and its Implications for the Instructional Process 

This report was prepared by Jun. Prof. Ph.D. Fani Lauermann, University of Bonn, Germany. The report provides an overview of current research on teacher motivation, major theoretical frameworks guiding this research, available assessments of teacher motivation, and implications for the instructional process, including implications for both teachers and students. The report concludes with recommendations for approaches to the study of teacher motivation in a large-scale assessment of teachers’ general pedagogical knowledge.



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.
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Summary report


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.
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Summary report (upcoming)



 New Publications   

>> Publication:
Teaching Practices and Pedagogical Innovations: Evidence from TALIS - This new informative publication clearly identifies and arranges profiles in relation to two connected areas of professional teacher practices: classroom teaching practices and participation in professional learning communities.
>> Blog: A Window into the classroom.  An excellent teacher is what makes students learn and succeed in school. Everything else – standards, curricula, assessments, resources, school leadership – comes second. Yet, what do we actually know about what teachers are doing?  



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