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Hey, teacher! - 21/08/2009

Boy ignoring teacher’s explanations in class © EC

OECD survey shows teachers are demotivated and lose 13% of classroom time dealing with disruptive pupils.

As the summer holidays come to an end, it is not only children who are bracing themselves for a new school year, teachers are also preparing to return to work.

The OECD recently published the results of an international survey on teaching and learning. The survey was conducted in 23 countries, 15 of which are EU members.

The EU supported the survey, hoping to give education authorities a clearer idea of how to support the estimated 6.25 million teachers in the EU.

Whereas previous OECD surveys assessed pupil performance, this one targeted teachers and head teachers. The results were used for the first ever international comparison of learning environments and teachers’ working conditions.

Three out of four teachers feel that they lack incentives to improve the quality of their teaching, while bad behaviour by pupils in the classroom disrupts lessons in three schools out of five. Teachers in Ireland, Portugal, Spain and Italy complained of no systematic appraisal or feedback on their work. Education authorities can take from this the need to provide rewards and recognition for strong performances.

All surveyed countries seem to have a shortage of qualified teaching staff. But the figures vary widely, from 12% of schools in Poland to 78% in Turkey lacking teachers.

The survey results suggest that education planners could support teachers and pupils more effectively by focusing on learning outcomes rather than curricula.

EU teacher education

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