The Tes reports that as the education community celebrates World Teachers’ Day, educational consultant John Bangs says teachers need to be empowered to play a role in decision making in schools.
Tes’ World Teachers’ Day event on wellbeing is perfectly timed. For far too long, the obvious connections between teachers’ wellbeing and high-quality education has been ignored by policymakers. This has been an enormous source of frustration for teacher unions.
There are exceptions. In the UK, for example, significant union gains have been made in securing government recognition that teacher stress and excessive workload undermine teachers’ self-confidence, retention and, ultimately, the quality of education. Despite major conflicts on teachers’ pay, school organisation and funding, unions have come to agreements with ministers on limiting workload.
World Teachers’ Day in context
The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, OECD is responsible for the only global survey of teachers’ views about their professional lives: the Teaching and Learning International Survey (TALIS). Two reports have been published, the latest in 2014. Work is taking place on the 2018 edition. One strong thread running through the reports is the concept of teacher self-efficacy. Teachers with high levels of self-efficacy know in their bones that they can, and do, make a positive difference to children’s learning and lives. Efficacy defines what it means to be a self-starting teacher.
With the publication of the 2014 report, it became clear to the OECD that there were strong links between teacher self-efficacy, the status of the profession and student results. Since 2011, teacher union leaders and governments in the OECD annually get together on an equal basis to discuss policies on the teaching profession. A unique and practical event, topics range from sorting out serious industrial disputes to agreeing on national professional development centres.
In 2012 Education International commissioned research from Cambridge University on the relationship between teacher self-efficacy and leadership, and based this on focus groups of classroom teachers.
It concluded that teachers’ sense of efficacy was massively enhanced by feeling that they could influence policies and practice in their schools. Two years later TALIS came to the same conclusion and called for teachers to be empowered to play a role in decision-making in schools and for policymakers to consider providing guidance on distributed leadership and decision-making at a system level.
Please tell us your thoughts in comments or via Twitter ~ Tamsin
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