Teacher Reforms Around the World: Implementations and Outcomes: Volume 19


Table of contents

(21 chapters)

At the start of the millennium, a great sea change in educational policy moved teachers to the center of global policy discussions about how to reform and improve education (OECD, 2005). Ignored, dismissed as relevant, or even characterized as impediments to reform in previous decades, teachers are now routinely portrayed as the key to providing quality instruction. The quality of the national teaching force is recognized as a major factor in any nation’s attempts to improve its overall educational performance. Teachers, one might argue, are finally getting the attention they deserve.

These are headlines of news articles in a national newspaper in a country outside of the United States. The media coverage of teacher scandals increased since 2001, reaching the highest 89 cases in 2004. The teachers in this country, the readers would conclude, have serious problems. They would wonder what is wrong with these teachers and speculate that teaching is not a well-respected or well-paid occupation in this country.

Purpose – This chapter describes the Bologna process in teacher education in France. Since the beginning of the reform in 2005, university teacher training institutes (IUFMs) were integrated in the universities, and the possession of a master's degree became a requirement to teach in France. The main objective of our study is to point out ambiguities, tensions and difficulties that have accompanied implementation of this reform.Methodology – The study is based on the examination of official publications of French stakeholders during the reform's design and implementation. The content analyses of the collected data are carried out using the concept of “universitarisation” and its three dimensions: structures; knowledge and curriculum; and actors. Other data collected during the “Teacher Education Curriculum in the EU” research project complete this study.Findings – The impact of the reform on teacher candidates is described as a “disaster,” in French scientific literature. The policymakers did not grasp the opportunity the Bologna process presented to enhance the quality of teacher education and improve the status of the teaching profession. On the contrary, in the context of budgetary constraints in education, the government has used this reform to remove the posts of teacher trainees, thus reducing the internship period.Value – This chapter addresses practitioners and researchers interested in comparative educational studies and teacher education policy development in the context of the Bologna process.

Purpose – The chapter explores the newly launched Teacher Certification Examinations (TCEs) in one of the post-Soviet countries, Georgia, and describes the experiences and perceptions of Georgian teachers going through the process of teacher certification. The qualitative study develops an in-depth understanding of the perceived strength and weaknesses of TCE in Georgia.Methodology – This case study was carried out in the spring of 2012 in 17 Georgian schools. School teachers and school principals from public and private schools were interviewed. A convenience sampling technique was used to recruit all participants. In addition to data obtained from research participants, various policy documents, laws on general education, minister's decrees, and statistical databases are analyzed and incorporated into the study.Findings – The data analyses showed that while the certification policy, in some way, increased teachers’ social status and prestige in the society, it failed to meet teachers’ expectations regarding remuneration policy and professional development opportunities. The TCE, without an adequate compensation policy as well as other types of incentives to increase teacher motivation, creates only a technical threshold for teachers to obtain a teacher certificate to secure jobs, rather than being a catalyst for a genuine professional development opportunity.Value – The study is the first attempt to empirically examine the teacher certification process in Georgia, thus it fills a knowledge gap that exists in the field. The Georgian TCE is the first TCE in south Caucasus; thus, the study of the implementation and outcomes of the Georgian reform provides a unique opportunity for the region and for the rest of the developing world to learn from the successes and failures of the reform process.

Purpose – This chapter discusses an education law recently enacted in India – The Right of Children to Free and Compulsary Education – its implementation plan and potential implications, focusing on the teacher labor force composition and the teacher education system. The Right to Education Act specifies acceptable pupil–teacher ratios, levels of teacher vacancy in the school, qualifications required for teacher appointments, and terms and conditions for teacher hiring, among other things.Methodology – This study draws on government documents and reports to conduct a systematic analysis of existing data and historical trends. It generates an understanding of how this policy shapes the demand for teachers, the quality of the existing system, and its ability to respond to these increased demands.Findings – These policy changes intended to increase equity in teacher distribution may in the near future exacerbate inequities in access to quality teachers and teaching across India. The policy creates important and urgent changes in the Indian teacher labor force, and by extension, it demands changes in the Indian teacher education system. But that system may be unprepared to meet these goals. Therefore, the chapter underscores the need for reform in India's teacher education system, if this policy's mandate to provide equal access to quality education to all Indian children is to be fulfilled.Value – This chapter explains and analyzes a recent, large-scale teacher policy reform in a regionally diverse, developing nation with an urgent need to improve the quality of education received by its children.

Purpose − This study illustrates how poor deployment and inefficient management contribute to poor usage of the Malawian school system's teacher resources.Methodology − The author uses data from Malawi's Ministry of Education Science and Technology's Department of Teacher Education and Development and the Education Management Information System to examine the supply of and demand for teachers. The data illustrate the relationships between teacher assignment and the need for teachers at the district, school, and classroom levels.Findings − Teacher assignment policies and practices in Malawi result in class sizes in the first three years of primary school that are much larger than optimal. Additionally, the prevailing shortage of teachers is about 25% worse than necessary because of inefficiencies in teacher deployment. For example, teacher shortages and surpluses often exist in the same districts.Research limitations − This study was limited by the poor quality of data maintained by the Malawian Ministry of Education and the teacher training colleges. While better data would elucidate and improve teacher deployment, existing data should more purposefully target assignment of teachers to schools with the greatest staffing need.Practical implications − Policy solutions identified include requiring minimum teaching workloads and clearer defining criteria for assignment of teachers to schools and grade levels.Value − By demonstrating the wide variations in student–teacher ratios at the district, school, and grade levels in Malawi, this study provides insight into ways in which prevailing policy and practice may compromise both efficiency and quality at each level.

Purpose – The intent of this chapter is to examine the lessons that BRAC, a Bangladesh-based NGO, learned over the course of implementing its para-professional teacher model in Afghanistan and Bangladesh, and their implications for UNESCO's Education for All (EFA) initiative.Methodology – The objectives of this chapter are achieved by the analysis of secondary sources such as reports and academic articles.Findings – We find that through a combination of strong oversight and management, BRAC's para-teacher model compensates for its comparatively less formally trained teachers. This may serve as a model for nations implementing EFA initiatives by allowing them to hire more para-teachers as a cost-saving measure.Research limitations – This study is mainly reliant on secondary sources, which highlights the limited information on the quality of BRAC's education efforts in Afghanistan.Practical implications – Through a combination of strong oversight and practical training, BRAC has seemingly developed a robust para-teacher model, one that may be implemented in other contexts, especially in countries that are members of the EFA initiative and face a shortage of qualified teachers who can help achieve Universal Primary Education (UPE).Social implications – In addition to being a cost-saving measure for education, hiring para-teachers from local communities has the additional benefit of providing employment for women in rural communities, which may have a positive impact on women's empowerment.Value – This chapter provides a unique look at innovations in teacher training by NGOs and their implications for the global contexts of the EFA initiative.

Purpose – The study examined: (1) the implementation of the 2009 Teacher License Renewal Policy (TLRP) by a large national university; (2) teachers’ responses to the TLRP, which requires teachers to take university courses to renew their licenses, and (3) completion rates for license renewal in 2011 and 2012.Methodology – This mixed-method study is based on: (1) a case study of TLRP implementation that involved observations of TLRP courses and interviews of instructors, TLRP steering committee members, and participating teachers at a large national university; and (2) a survey of 365 teachers who took the TLRP courses at this university.Findings – The data showed that the university's successful implementation of the TLRP was largely influenced by the existence of “boundary practice” – a shared system that connects multiple organizations and groups implementing the policy. Lesson Study, as a shared system of teaching and learning improvement in Japan, guided the development of high-quality TLRP courses and teachers’ respect for university courses based on research knowledge. As a result, while teachers were dissatisfied with the policy requirement of renewing teacher licenses, they were satisfied with their learning experiences through the TLRP courses, which also influenced their opinions about the policy itself.Value – This is the first empirical study that examined the implementation and impact of the TLRP in Japan. It highlights the importance of a shared system for teaching and learning improvement for supporting a teacher reform implementation.

Purpose – The purpose of the research was to examine the process of new teacher evaluation policy development in South Korea, in order to gain insight into how a controversial policy could be established in education. Research questions were about the process of the policy development, political actors involved and their influences, and the meaning of teacher evaluation in the newly established teacher evaluation policy.Methodology – The study uses a qualitative and descriptive-analytical process from a hermeneutics perspective that views policy as text to be interpreted. This perspective allows policy to be connected to a larger social context through interpretations of text. The main data sources included policy documents, statements by various organizations, research reports, and public media artifacts produced between 2000 and 2012. For data analysis, constant comparison and content analysis methods were used.Findings – The findings show that the process of developing a teacher evaluation system demonstrated an unsuccessful attempt to apply the Habermasian notion of discursive democracy. Relevant stakeholders were invited to deliberate on the reform, but official meetings ended prematurely without consensus. In the end, the government proceeded without full support of any stakeholders. During the deliberation process, teacher organizations and parent groups demonstrated conflicting perspectives on teacher work and the new evaluation system only partially accommodated both perspectives. The effectiveness of the new evaluation system remains to be researched.Value – The policy development process and the evaluation system shown in this study should inform similar efforts in other contexts.

Purpose – The author examines the implementation and characteristics of teacher evaluation and explores their associations with improvement in teachers’ practice of constructivist instruction.Methodology – This quantitative study uses statewide longitudinal Teachers’ Opportunity to Learn survey data collected in 2009 and 2010 from middle school mathematics teachers in Missouri and estimates a series of value-added models with two-level Hierarchical Linear Modeling.Findings – Teachers in this study were mainly evaluated by principals who conducted classroom observations and held face-to-face meetings to evaluate teaching practice and professional development activities. The study provides empirical evidence and support for the use of multiple evaluators with multiple evaluation data and outcomes in teacher evaluation. Additionally, it highlights the potential benefits of focusing on teachers’ instructional data instead of student achievement in teacher evaluation in order to improve their teaching practice.Research limitations – This study focused on middle school mathematics teachers in a single state in the United States. Whether these findings can be generalized to teachers of other subject areas or grades, or to states with different policy contexts, or to countries with country-specific structural, cultural, and social differences is unknown.Value – This study is the first effort to systematically examine teacher evaluation practices across a single state and provide empirical evidence on the relationships between the implementation characteristics of teacher evaluation and improvement in teachers’ instructional practice. Findings of this study provide school, district, state, federal, and international policymakers and administrators with important, up-to-date information on teacher evaluation at the middle-school level in the United States.

Purpose – The purpose of this chapter is to examine the impact of Mexico’s national teacher incentive program, Carrera Magisterial (CM), on educational quality and equity.Methodology – I conduct a descriptive analysis of data from two Mexican states, Aguascalientes and Sonora, to explore whether the distribution of teachers across schools and communities has changed since the implementation of CM.Findings – Although more qualified teachers tend to be disproportionately concentrated in wealthier municipalities and urban areas in both Aguascalientes and Sonora, I find some evidence that the distribution of qualified teachers has become more equitable over time in both states.Research limitations – These results suggest that CM’s design, which allows teachers to advance more rapidly through the system if they teach in low-development zones, may have increased equity in children’s access to qualified teachers. However, these trends could result from influences beyond CM, such as salary incentives to teach in less developed areas. We must also take care in extrapolating results from two Mexican states to other states with different populations and geographies.Practical implications – This research suggests that policymakers must apply a careful analysis to the design of CM, especially the allocation of points to teachers based on their students’ test scores. In particular, educators and policymakers must consider the potential movement of more qualified teachers to higher-scoring schools and classrooms.Value – Although substantial research has examined whether CM has improved educational quality in Mexico, this is one of few studies to explore the program’s impact on educational equity.

Purpose – This chapter focuses on the challenges of introducing a nationally consistent and credible system for recognizing and rewarding accomplished teachers − a standard-based professional learning and certification system. Such systems aim to provide attractive incentives for professional learning for all teachers, in contrast with competitive merit pay or one-off bonus pay schemes.Methodology – The chapter provides a case study of one country’s progress in reforming teacher career structures and pay systems, and it also draws on the experience of other countries that have been pursuing similar policies, such as Chile, England, Scotland, and the United States. Using document analysis and interviews with key stakeholders, the chapter describes progress in Australia’s latest attempt to introduce a system for the certification of teachers, this time at two levels – the Highly Accomplished Teacher and Lead Teacher levels.Findings – Despite strong support in principle by the main stakeholders, implementation is proving difficult in changing political and economic contexts. Reasons for these difficulties are compared with problems in other countries as they seek to implement advanced certification schemes.Practical implications – The Australian case indicates the importance of ensuring that agencies established to provide professional certification have the independence, stability, and professional ownership they need to carry out their function effectively.Social implications – Recent Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) reports highlight the relationship between the degree to which the work of teaching has been professionalized and student performance. An independent professional certification system is a concrete and relevant way for countries to “professionalize” teaching and treat their teachers as trusted professional partners; however, the Australian case indicates some of the challenges involved in making this a reality.Value – The chapter is the first to compare professional certification schemes in different countries and analyze factors affecting their success.

From the implementations and outcomes of teacher reforms examined in these 10 countries with diverse historical, political, and social contexts, three themes emerged that deserve attention and elaboration. These themes are: (1) involvement of and coordination among key stakeholders in decision-making and implementation processes, (2) clarity and coherence in policy design, and (3) capacity for implementing the reform.

Motoko Akiba is an Associate Professor of Education Policy in the Department of Educational Leadership & Policy Studies at Florida State University. Dr. Akiba received her B.A. from the University of Tsukuba, Japan, and a dual-title Ph.D. in Educational Theory & Policy and Comparative & International Education from Pennsylvania State University-University Park. Her research focuses on teacher policy and reform topics, such as professional development, compensation and performance-related pay, and multicultural teacher education. She is an author of the book, Improving teacher quality: The U.S. teaching force in global context (Teachers College Press, 2009). Her published journal articles appear in Educational Researcher, American Educational Research Journal, Education Policy, and Comparative Education Review, and Compare among others. Dr. Akiba is serving as an Associate Editor of Educational Researcher from 2012 to 2015. She is also a recipient of the NSF Early Career Award Grant, NAEP secondary analysis grant, and AERA dissertation and research grants.

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International Perspectives on Education and Society
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Emerald Publishing Limited
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