In recent years international organizations have shown an increased interest in questions related to teachers, teacher education, and teacher policy. Most influential of these institutions are the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) with its two global initiatives, Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) and Teaching and Learning in School (TALIS); the European Commission’s support to an enhanced teaching profession in Europe within its Education and Training 2020 strategy; McKinsey & Company’s reviews of world school systems and teachers; and the International Summit on the Teaching Profession (ISTP). International research on successful school systems has frequently concluded that teacher policies and especially how teachers are educated are the key factors explaining overall high educational performance.
There are two main reasons for this increasing interest in the teaching profession around the world. First, many countries are facing severe teacher shortages due to relatively large numbers of teachers leaving the teaching profession, and a simultaneously declining interest among young people in filling these vacant jobs. Indeed, an important issue facing many educational policies is that of tackling the replacement of a large proportion of school teachers. Second, a shifting emphasis on more complex knowledge and skills as a result of schooling is demanding enhanced teacher quality in many countries. In contexts that suffer from lower-than-expected educational performance relative to international comparisons, teacher quality has risen to the top of the list for strategic policy changes.
International interest in the teaching profession has a two-fold consequence. It has strengthened international efforts to address the importance of teachers and their profession in national policymaking. This shift, in turn, has led to a call for more and better research on teachers and teacher education within the academic community.
OBJECTIVES AND ORGANIZATION
There are two parts in this course that have both analytical and practical dimensions. The first part of the course explores concepts of the teaching profession from an international perspective, including teaching as a profession, and teacher education, professional development, teacher leadership, teacher evaluation, and labor policies. Following is an analysis of the teacher policies in high performing school systems, such as Canada, Finland, Singapore, and Korea, as well as practical lessons for those hoping to enhance teachers and teaching. Students will study some classical texts about teachers and the profession combined with contemporary international studies on the teaching profession. This course will also help students to use international student assessments and other global data for advocacy and development of teacher policies and practices.
The second part of the course takes a closer look at some distinct teacher education and policy systems that are under review and improvement at the moment. These include Chile, Ireland, Sweden, and the United States. Students will work cooperatively in small groups to explore various aspects of these systems and to gain clearer ideas and enhanced skills to communicate possible lessons from other education systems in order to enhance teacher quality and policies in other situations. These case studies will be linked to real policy development and change in these countries through national authorities. This second part of the course also discusses current myths and research about the teaching profession as presented in international policy texts and professional literature. Students will learn to understand the complexity of teacher policies, avoid uninformed solutions, and test their ideas using diverse forms of media.
More specifically, students will:
- Explore the characteristics of the teaching profession and compare and contrast the differences between teachers and teacher education systems around the world, including the current high-performing education systems (Finland, Canada, Singapore, Korea);
- Learn to think independently, write effectively, and communicate powerfully about the central issues related to teachers and the teaching profession in the global context;
- Understand the implications of global educational reform movement on the teaching profession, and distinguish facts from myths in international discourse on teachers and the teaching profession;
- Develop professional leadership regarding the teaching profession and how to apply it in their own work.
This course will help students to understand the teaching profession by taking a closer look at what we know about attracting, preparing, and empowering teachers around the world. This course also aims to broaden the understanding of the basic international questions of teaching professionalism, including: What it is to be a teacher in different parts of the world? What is teacher professionalism in an international perspective? How do the most successful education systems recruit, educate, and retain their teachers? How do the latest OECD’s PISA and TALIS results affect teacher policies around the world? How can systems make teaching an attractive career choice for more young people?
METHODS OF STUDY
This course will combine different methods of study depending on the learning objectives and topics covered. In addition to individual and group reading, in-class discussions, and debates, students will engage in writing short texts to advocate their opinions in one or more educational policy settings. The cross cutting method of teaching in this course consists of various models of cooperative learning that are employed in this course.
Students will have the opportunity to share their own experiences from their work as teachers; and other teacher voices (including class visitors and through social media) will enhance our understanding of what it is to work as a teacher or with teachers today.
Successful performance in this course will be based on reading assignments, active participation in small group activities and discussions in every class, and originality of various writing tasks. The readings will be selected for their relevance and diverse nature to the theme of the course ranging from typical scientific writings and analytical papers to more practice focused policy assessments, op-eds, blogs, and analytical documents. Active participation requires thorough and critical reading of assigned texts. In most classes one of the reading assignments will be randomly selected for a detailed discussion. Students should have access to the readings in print or electronically during each class. Small group learning methods will be the common model of work in this course, especially during the case study exercise. Documentary films, movies, guest speakers, and social media, especially Twitter, are essential learning tools during this course. Furthermore, a reflection paper in the end of the course where students present synthesis of the course (this can include suggestions or policy recommendations to a real case such as your own jurisdiction) is an integral part of this course.
REQUIRED LEARNING RESOURCES
Christodoulou, D. (2014). Seven Myths about Education. London: Routledge.
Darling-Hammond, L. & Lieberman, A. (eds.) (2012). Teacher Education around the World: Changing policies and practices. New York: Routledge.
Hargreaves, A. & Fullan, M. (2012). Professional Capital. Transforming teaching in every school. New York: Teachers College Press.
Sarason, S. (1999). Teaching as a Performing Art. New York: Teachers College Press.
Dead Poet’s Society (Directed by Peter Weir, 1989)
Waiting for Superman (Directed by Davis Guggenheim, 2011)
Finnish First (The Dan Rather Reports, 2012)
Rise Above the Mark (Directed by Rocky Killon, 2014)
PART 1: TEACHERS AND THEIR WORK
Week 1 – January 28
International Perspective to Teaching Profession
The class will be introduced to the major themes of the course – the emergence of dominant themes around teachers and the teaching profession, their prevalence, and cross national comparisons of main issues, challenges, and trends – and engage in critical reflections about their own experiences of teaching and teachers.
1) What do we know about the teaching profession around the world?
2) What are the main issues in international dialogue on teachers and teaching?
Darling-Hammond, L. & Lieberman, A. (eds.) (2012). Teacher Education around the World: Changing policies and practices. New York: Routledge. (Chapter 9)
Hargreaves, A. & Fullan, M. (2012). Professional Capital. Transforming teaching in every school. New York: Teachers College Press. (Chapter 2)
Sahlberg, P. 2013. Teachers as Leaders in Finland. Educational Leadership, October, 2013, 36-40.
Week 2 – February 4
What is Teaching?
The class will be led to explore the concept of teaching as a form of labor. It will offer a historical perspective on teachers and teaching and map some of the international trends that have evolved within the teaching profession. We will also discuss how cinema and media in general have perceived teachers and their work since the 1990s. Guidance on writing effective blogs and op-eds will also be discussed.
1) How do we understand teaching?
2) What is professional capital in the teaching profession?
3) What are the keys to good writing about the teaching profession?
Sarason, S. (1999). Teaching as a Performing Art. New York: Teachers College Press. (Chapter 5)
Lortie, D. (1975). Schoolteacher. A sociological study. Chicago: Chicago University Press. (Chapters 1 and 2).
Hargreaves, A. & Fullan, M. (2012). Professional Capital. Transforming teaching in every school. New York: Teachers College Press. (Chapter 3)
Ravitch, D. (2013). Reign of Error. The hoax of the privatization movement and the danger to America’s public schools. New York: Alfred A. Knopf. (Chapter 13, pp. 124-132)
Watch: Dead poets Society
Week 3 – February 11
The Role of Teacher Associations Around the World
The class will take a closer look at how teacher unions, professional associations and their international alliance organizations operate as part of the teaching profession. We will compare different models of professional organization and learn about global trends in the teaching profession from the international perspective.
Guests: Fred van Leeuwen, General Secretary, Education International, @fredvanleeuwen; [email protected]; Phil McRae, Executive Staff Officer, Alberta Teachers Association; @philmcrae; [email protected]
- How are teachers unionized around the world?
- How are teacher associations similar or different around the world?
Asia Society (2011). Improving Teacher Quality around the World. New York: Asia Society. (pp.21-27) http://asiasociety.org/files/lwtw-teachersummitreport0611.pdf
Bascia, N. & Osmond, P. (2013). Teacher Union – Government Relations in the Context of Educational Reform. Brussels: Education International. http://download.ei-ie.org/Docs/WebDepot/Teacher_Union_Study.pdf
Hanushek, E. & Rivkin, S. (2012). The Distribution of Teacher Quality and Implications for Policy. Annual Review of Economics, 4, pp. 131-157.
OECD (2011). Building a High Quality Teaching Profession: Lesson from around the world. Paris: OECD. (Chapter 1 and 2).
Week 4 – February 18
Global Educational Reform Movement and its Impact on Teaching Profession
The class will introduce a set of global trends in global educational change. We will explore alternative international policies within this global education agenda that have appeared to be controversial in terms of research evidence and practical implications. These include fast-track teacher preparation models, merit-based teacher compensation policies, and school choice.
Guests: Teacher educators from Finland who are visiting HGSE this week
1) What is the global educational reform movement and how does it affect teaching?
2) How do OECD policies influence teaching profession around the world?
Hargreaves, A. & Fullan, M. (2012). Professional Capital. Transforming teaching in every school. New York: Teachers College Press. (Chapter 5)
Sahlberg, P. (2014). Global Educational Reform Movement and its Impact on Teaching. Manuscript for the International Handbook of Global Policymaking in Education.
OECD (2014). Equity, Excellence and Inclusiveness in Education. Policy lessons from around the world. Paris: OECD. (Chapter 1 and 2)
Ravitch, D. (2013). Reign of Error. The hoax of the privatization movement and the danger to America’s public schools. New York: Alfred A. Knopf. (Chapter 14, pp. 133-144)
Week 5 – February 25
Myths and Facts about Teaching Profession
In this class we will identify myths related to teachers and the teaching profession by studying international policy documents. We will then discuss possible implications of these myths and use research knowledge to challenge them.
Guest: David Berliner, Professor, ASU
1) What are the most common fallacies related to teachers and teaching profession?
2) What does the evidence from PISA 2012 and TALIS 2013 tell us about the teaching profession around the world?
Berliner, D. & Glass, G. (2014). 50 Myths and Lies That Threaten America’s Public Schools: The Real Crisis in Education. New York: Teachers College Press. (Section III).
Christodoulou, D. (2014). Seven Myths about Education. London: Routledge. (Myths 1 – 3)
Ravitch, D. (2013). Reign of Error. The hoax of the privatization movement and the danger to America’s public schools. New York: Alfred A. Knopf. (Chapter 11, pp. 99-114)
Sahlberg, P. (2013). What if Finland’s Great Teachers Taught in U.S. Schools. Washington Post, May 15. http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/wp/2013/05/15/what-if-finlands-great-teachers-taught-in-u-s-schools-not-what-you-think/
Watch: Waiting for Superman