A first-of-its-kind summit on the teaching profession with U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and OECD Secretary General Angel Gurria
Imagine you were responsible for transforming your country’s educations outcomes.
Really, try to think about it. Which skills are the most important to learn? How do you reach students? How would you make time to learn new advances in education?
A team of policymakers, education organizations, teachers and leading thinkers in education admit that these questions are hard. One thing they’ve learned in school, however, is that solving problems in groups is usually easier than solving them on one’s own. Therefore, the OECD and the U.S. Department of Education thought it was important to host the First Annual International Summit on the Teaching Profession this week in New York.
The summit will bring together education ministers, union leaders, and other leaders in the field from high-quality education systems to review best practices based on an OECD background paper on the teaching profession (see the paper here). The paper covers topics such as teacher recruitment, professional development, evaluation, compensation, and how to engage teachers with changes in the education system.
The Summit Rapporteur, OECD’s Andreas Schleicher, commented on the importance of studying the way education systems manage teachers: “Education can become the great equalizer, the one force that can consistently overcome differences in background, culture, and privilege. But that promise only holds where we ensure that every student has access to excellent teaching. To achieve that, we can no longer afford organising teaching along the lines of a factory model, with teachers treated as interchangeable widgets and command and control systems directing their work.”
The OECD is no stranger to learning about and learning from teachers. Its broad and deep body of work on the topic, including the Teaching and Learning International Survey (TALIS), among others (see list below), will serve as a further background for the summit on Wednesday.
But background papers will never replace good old fashioned collaboration. With all the players at the table in New York this Wednesday and Thursday, that’s just what the OECD hopes to foster.