The future of the teaching profession (Second edition)

published 16 April 2019 updated 5 January 2022
written by:

This study contains profound insights into the nature of teacher professionalism. Debates on the policy directions in education in the past decade have been increasingly focusing on learning outcomes and effectiveness indicators in search of the “hidden truth” or the “holy grail” of what makes an effective school. While effectiveness and efficiency have become the “call-of-the-day” not only in education, but in other public sectors, too often attempts to capture what defines student achievement and teachers’ contributions to it, have often been narrow, one-sided and limited, leading to distorted policies affecting the efficacy and morale of teachers.

Drawing on the evidence on what it means to be a teacher in the 21st century, this study begins with an analysis of the current situation in differing countries of the world. It examines the policies which frame teachers’ work and the underpinning assumptions on which those policies rest. It illustrates how policy has been shaping the nature of practice, often with effects that limit teachers’ professional judgment and which may, in the process, constrain student achievement.

Most importantly, drawing on the evidence from international research and fact-finding, this study offers alternative propositions for system redesign, illustrating these with vignettes of breakthrough practice from around the world, drawing out the key principles that characterize such practice.

The world, despite globalization, is still very diverse also in terms of education and teachers, their issues and priorities. Given the enormous body of practice and knowledge available, a body which is constantly changing and evolving, this study can only be a work in progress; a work which reflects the impact on school communities of education policies and systems.