In its latest publication, The Teaching Profession in Europe: Practices, Perceptions, and Policies, Eurydice has analysed the relation between the policies that regulate the teaching profession, and the attitudes, practices, and perceptions of teachers.
Eurydice is a European Union network dedicated to providing information on education systems across 37 countries and producing European-level analyses and information which will assist those responsible for education systems and policies in their decision making.
This report focuses on almost two million lower secondary education teachers employed in the 28 Member States, as well as in Iceland, Liechtenstein, Montenegro, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Norway, Serbia, and Turkey. It combines qualitative and quantitative data from Eurydice, Eurostat/UOE, and TALIS 2013.
The analysis focuses on five key areas: demographics and working conditions, initial teacher education and the transition to the teaching profession, continuing professional development, transnational mobility, and the attractiveness of the profession.
Key findings include:
- The teaching profession employs mainly women, and there may be shortages of professionals in the near future;
- In almost two-thirds of the European countries, fully qualified first-time teachers have access to a structured induction phase;
- Almost all newly fully qualified teachers receive mentoring support in their first job;
- Teachers express higher professional development needs in teaching methods than in subject matter;
- The content of professional development activities does not always match the needs expressed by teachers;
- Voicing teachers' needs for professional development could better align the offer;
- Less than one-third of teachers have been abroad for professional purposes;
- The Erasmus+ programme is the main funding scheme for teacher transnational mobility.
In a report entitled Teaching Practices in Primary and Secondary Schools in Europe: Insights from Large-Scale Assessments in Education, CRELL offers a detailed description of teaching practices at the primary and secondary school levels.
The CRELL is the European Commission's Centre for Research on Education and Lifelong Learning.
The report explores the relationships between teaching practices and factors such as student achievement and class size.
Key findings include:
- The degree to which teachers collaborate with each other varies widely across Europe;
- On average across Europe, over 90% of fourth graders have at least a well-rounded foundation of basic skills;
- It is widespread that teachers share experiences to improve teaching, but practices such as working together on new ideas and visiting other classrooms to learn are less prevalent.
On the back of the two reports, the European Commission has derived main policy implications(462 kB)
, some of which include:
- Improving teachers' working conditions and career opportunities will help making teaching attractive for a wider pool of candidates, and achieve better gender balance;
- Networks, spaces (virtual and physical) and a collaborative school culture should be fostered to help teachers work together;
- More mobility opportunities should be provided to aid teachers' professional development;
- Leadership and collaborative practices should form part of teacher education;
- Initial Teacher Education should balance subject knowledge with pedagogical training and school practice;
- Flexible pathways into teaching can help prevent shortages and diversify the teaching force.