INTERNATIONAL EXPERIENCE OF EDUCATIONAL POLICY AIMED AT THE ACTIVITIES OF TEACHERS

Digest №24. TALIS 2018 RESULTS (VOLUME II). TEACHERS AND SCHOOL LEADERS AS VALUED PROFESSIONALS

Enhancing the prestige and attractiveness of the teaching profession in Sweden. The Swedish National Agency for Education (Skolverket) predicts a teacher shortage in the country in the future. In 2014, the Swedish government introduced the legislation which contained measures to prevent the teacher shortage and make the profession more attractive. It included financial incentives in the form of salary increases and more rapid pay increases for teachers related to their competencies and professional development. Furthermore, in 2016 it was followed by the teacher pay raise initiative (Lärarlönelyftet) when teachers were rewarded after completing a professional development programme.

The next initiative of the government strategy was to facilitate and encourage entry into the profession by providing alternative educational pathways and increasing government grants for new teachers. Grants were also implemented to improve working conditions and career opportunities for teachers.

These measures were complemented by an information campaign entitled Pass it on (För det vidare) which was intended to attract more people to teaching, encourage retention of those already in the system and boost the social prestige of the profession. This media campaign in the form of a website provides general information about the teaching profession, informs about existing opportunities and promotes entry into the profession.

Job satisfaction among secondary teachers in Korea . In 2016, the Ministry of Education in Korea introduced a Leave of Absence for Self-training System to boost teachers’ morale and satisfaction. This programme gives teachers a chance to take a one-time leave to study or recover. Teachers must have at least ten years of teaching experience and their leave cannot exceed a year. It aims to encourage professional development and self-improvement, as well as to support teachers who might leave the profession. Teacher Education Emotion centres have been set up at the level of metropolitan and provincial offices of education. Their objective is to provide effective support for those who have been harmed in the school environment and protect teachers’ rights by preventing infringement on their activities.

Reducing the workload of teachers in Slovakia . At the UK initiative, Slovakia has taken steps to reduce the large administrative burden that is a source of workload for teachers. In 2015, the Ministry of Education, Science, Research and Sport established a working group composed of ministry officials to reduce administrative workload of teachers. As a result, many bureaucratic procedures have been simplified, automated, or even eliminated. The country declared its commitment to addressing workload issues in the current Government Manifesto and the first action plan of the National Reform Programme for Education (2018-19).

Improving job security for young teachers in the Flemish Community of Belgium

In 2018, the Flemish government concluded three new collective agreements (Collectieve arbeidsovereenkomsten, CAOs) with its social partners regarding labour opportunities in education. A number of measures were approved to bring stability to the teaching career and strengthen job security for new teachers. The salary grid was revised, and job security was increased by simplifying contractual progression for starting teachers. Minimum requirements for a temporary contract for a continuing term have been reduced from three years to two years and from 720 days of teaching to 690 days. This renewed contract ensures starting teachers an automatic renewal if their school has been funded for academic hours. In 2018, the Flemish Community created a teacher platform in selected primary and secondary schools. In this pilot project, starting and temporary teachers were offered contracts of at least a full academic year, in the form of long-term replacements for experienced teachers or other meaningful pedagogical tasks. Preliminary analysis of the platform shows that of the 3,300 registered teachers, only 10% have not yet been used. However, only about 10% of teachers received offers for permanent contracts. It limits their chances of starting teaching the same class for a year, suggesting that the platform’s impact does not fully meet its initial goals. In addition, the government has created 6,000 new permanent jobs for the cases when a full-time teacher is absent due to certain leave programmes. Finally, the CAOs also introduced compulsory initial mentoring or guidance for students and allocated extra resources to schools to develop induction processes for new teachers.

Teacher appraisal in Shanghai (PRC) . In TALIS 2018, Shanghai ranks high on all indicators measuring the prevalence of teachers’ formal appraisal in schools. A wide use of teacher appraisal followed the introduction in 2009 of a performance-based component in the calculation of teachers’ salaries. The new system splits teachers’ salaries into a basic component and a bonus component. The bonus component which makes up about 30% of the total amount of teacher salaries is based on such factors such as workload, actual contribution and appraisal. It contributed to the further development of the teacher appraisal system which today is characterized by a high-quality list of evaluation criteria and the use of multiple sources and methods of evaluation. In addition to teachers’ appraisal, it is also important to gather information about the problems and challenges teachers face.

The success and effectiveness of the Shanghai appraisal system is based on four pillars. First, the model integrates administrative and developmental components which makes it valuable for both schools and teachers.  Second, each school is responsible for creating its own appraisal practices, maintaining school autonomy, and promoting school improvement. Third, rigorous technical standards and frequent evaluation activities ensure the quality of data collected which means that the teacher appraisal process is considered fair and trustworthy. However, it is important to note that rigorous technical requirements are not sufficient if the appraisal system does not match the psychological and social dynamics of the education system. This non-technical aspect of appraisal programs – the fourth pillar – is critical to having a positive impact on teachers.

Financial incentives to attract and retain high performing teachers in low-income schools in France . In1981, France established the Zones d’Éducation Prioritaire (ZEP), a compensatory education policy designed to provide additional resources and attention to low-income schools. In 1992, for example, an annual bonus of EUR 600 was awarded to teachers working in ZEP. Analysis of data for the period 1987-1992 concluded that the size of bonus payments and the perception of the policy programme were critical to teacher retention in low-income schools. Since then, this political scheme has undergone significant changes. For example, since September 2015, teachers working in schools located in socially and economically disadvantaged areas have been awarded an annual bonus that can vary from € 1,734 to € 2,312. Since September 2019, teachers working in schools in the most disadvantaged areas (REP +) are awarded an annual salary bonus of EUR 4 646.

Interschool professional cooperation in Shanghai (PRC) . In Shanghai, the school structure allows for teachers to collaborate on a daily basis as a part of their continuous professional education. Such cooperation is possible due to the fact that the training time is limited to 12 hours per week to provide opportunities and time to work together. Meanwhile, teachers observe the lessons delivered by other teachers or take on mentoring responsibilities for new or struggling teachers. A key part of Shanghai’s collaborative professional development is the sharing of best practices among teachers.

The Empowered Management Programme in Shanghai provides further interschool collaboration to support and improve low-performing schools. The programme builds partnerships between high performing and low performing schools for a period of two years including cooperation between city schools and schools in the vicinity of Shanghai. Teachers and school leaders from both schools work closely together including visiting schools, discussing effective practices, observing classes, and providing constructive feedback. The support provided by partner schools also aims to build research skills among teachers and help schools develop as learning organizations.

Leadership Opportunities for Teachers in Washington DC (USA) . In the United States, teachers have opportunities to participate in school leadership and education policies offered by different levels of government. For example, the Chancellor’s Teachers’ Cabinet within the Washington public schools. The Washington DC Teachers’ Cabinet is a commitment of teachers to participate in the district’s work on education and improve the state of public schools within one year.  The cabinet works as a forum where teachers reflect on their personal experiences, discuss the policy priorities and needs of public schools, and the possibility of implementing new ideas. It also gives teachers the opportunity to interact with colleagues monthly at a two-hour cabinet meeting.  In the past, the cabinet has discussed special education and changes in the teacher appraisal process to ensure continuous improvement and professional development.

 

References

OECD (2020), TALIS 2018 Results (Volume II): Teachers and School Leaders as Valued Professionals, TALIS, OECD Publishing, Paris. https://doi.org/10.1787/19cf08df-en.

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