Empowering Teachers for Every Child
So one of the findings in my work is the centrality of professional development to teacher learning. But not any kind of professional development and certainly not the kind employed by most school districts, where a new topic is introduced once a month to a group of teachers who learn about it in lecture format and then apply it without help in their own classrooms. Not that kind. The kind of professional development I found in my study, where teachers really learn is called, “job-embedded” professional development. This involves guest teachers, or teaching artists, to visit and teach, and when teachers see the impact of the methodology, the impact of the new ideas, the engagement techniques, the heightened sense of possibility for deeper learning in their student’s actions, then they see, agree and adopt the new methods themselves. But only when that teacher-mentor follows up, a week later, can the learning be confirmed, questions can be answered, and the real teacher learning about the new ideas deepened. This develops quality in teachers and equity in teaching, that every child will be taught well.
If teachers are not getting this type of learning, where they can see the success of new ideas implemented with their own students, then they are falling behind. But a new study of seven different countries called, “Empowered Educators,” was released last week in Washington and it speaks to how the United States has lost the number one position in education to countries who have “remodeled their education systems.” The National Center on Education and the Economy has just released this information:
The world is changing and so are its schools.
In recognition of the need to prepare students for an evolving and increasingly interconnected world, a growing number of countries have remodeled their education systems to deliver an education built for the 21st century, producing higher achievement and greater equity than the U.S.
Equity and Quality for Every Child
Among the strategies these systems have pursued, none have been more important than the policies they have developed to ensure that high-quality teaching takes place in every classroom, in every school, for every child.
Empowered Educators is a landmark, international comparative study of teacher and teaching quality in the world’s top-performing education systems.
With the support of the Center on International Benchmarking at the National Center on Education and the Economy, one of the world’s preeminent education researchers, Linda Darling-Hammond launched the work from the Stanford Center for Opportunity Policy in Education (SCOPE) at Stanford University. Darling-Hammond, now leading the Learning Policy Institute (LPI) in Palo Alto, CA, drew together a global team of education researchers in the three-year study, producing unparalleled insights for U.S. educators, researchers and policymakers.
How Are They Doing It?
The researchers investigated seven jurisdictions across four continents. Their findings reveal two principle answers to the central question of how other countries have surpassed the U.S. in preparing their students to compete in the 21st century global economy:
- First, these countries have focused on building effective systems, opting not to chase silver bullets or short-term, narrow-focused solutions.
- Second, these countries have held at the core of their work a commitment to professionalizing teaching as an occupation.
Other Ways To Use this Research
The centerpiece of the study, Empowered Educators: How High-Performing Systems Shape Teaching Quality Around the World from Jossey-Bass publishers, is a cross-cutting analysis of all seven systems. Also from Jossey-Bass are five e-books offering deep dives into each jurisdiction studied.
For policymakers and researchers, CIEB and NCEE is proud to host a series of in-depth policy and country briefs as well as a rich online resource library featuring interviews with international education leaders and original tools and documents from the countries studied.