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Teacher effectiveness and teacher quality have become the focus of intense international attention and national concern. Dozens of nations are implementing a diverse set…
Teacher effectiveness and teacher quality have become the focus of intense international attention and national concern. Dozens of nations are implementing a diverse set of strategies that aim to improve the quality of education by improving the quality of teachers. These efforts have not been well coordinated, and as the authors in this volume show, core constructs of quality have not been well defined. In this introductory chapter, we discuss why teachers are now “under the microscope” of policymaker’s attention and elaborate how the chapters in this volume identify particularly fruitful avenues for further study. The assembled chapters address two complex questions: (1) what existing cross-national measures of teacher effectiveness and teacher quality are most promising and how can these be aligned to maximize their research potential? and (2) what core constructs of teacher quality or effectiveness are missing from the evidence-base, and how can cross-national comparative research help refine these? To investigate these questions, the chapters in this volume address different aspects of “quality.” While quality may be politically contested, there is a significant need to continue to articulate a truly global perspective on teacher quality. The authors look at a wide range of aspects of quality in order to advance thinking about teacher education, instructional quality and workforce or organizational conditions that affect quality; to analyze instruments, tools, or measures used to assess quality; and identify what measures need to be developed further. We also note how scholarly study of the spread of transnational teacher reforms has failed to keep pace with national policy changes regarding teacher quality, and advance a more general theory of the forces affecting national policymakers.
Research has already uncovered a great deal of evidence about the individual and organizational qualities that enhance effective teaching and the kinds of qualifications…
Research has already uncovered a great deal of evidence about the individual and organizational qualities that enhance effective teaching and the kinds of qualifications (attributes) that are associated with effective teaching and learning. From a research perspective, increased precision and specificity in the definition and refinement of specific concepts (e.g., pedagogical content knowledge) will increase academic knowledge about the relationship between teacher characteristics, working conditions, and the quality of instruction that takes place. This knowledge may have little effect on policy formation. From a policy perspective, a holistic or organic conception of teacher quality will be critical for effective policy formation and implementation. At some point, academic knowledge about different aspects of effective or “quality” teaching need to be connected to a general concept of a quality teacher in order to be effectively inserted into policy debates and the general media. Systematic use of academic knowledge is often hindered by either the narrow focus of the research, or by its limited application to actual teacher practice. In spite of these limitations in academic research, there are areas where academics, policymakers, and practitioners have achieved consensus or are converging on shared constructs of promise. In other areas, both academic and political debates seem locked into conflict over constructs related to teacher quality. Identifying these three broad categories of consensus, convergence, and conflict provides a broad framework to assess the kinds of research and the kinds of reform that need to be carried out in order to promote and sustain teachers’ development and implementation of their professional skills in the classroom.
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.
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.
A key tenet of the modern nation-state – embedded in the notion of progress – is the belief that our children can lead better lives than our own. Trust in the possibility…
A key tenet of the modern nation-state – embedded in the notion of progress – is the belief that our children can lead better lives than our own. Trust in the possibility of upward mobility for future generations drives movements of families around the world, and, indeed, drives the spirit of capitalism. In today's world, the notion of mass access to educational opportunity is a key element of the dream of upward mobility. This ideal is manifest in the huge public investment in schools that all nations must make, no matter how rich or poor, to signify membership in modern society.