Role of the Teacher
According to the Global Teacher Status Index, European teachers enjoy less respect from students than in other regions. The index ranks 21 countries from around the world based on the status, pay, and agency of their teachers.
Student performance is measured on various scales across the globe, such as the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) or the OECD’s Education at a Glance report, and the results of these studies have a big impact on investment in education. The status of teachers, however, is much less understood. When teachers have a higher status, higher quality candidates are drawn to the profession.
The Varkey GEMS Foundation conducted a study with 1000 respondents in 21 countries to create the Global Teacher Status Index in order to better measure, compare, and understand the status of teachers across the globe. The index comprises three dimensions: teacher status, perceptions of teacher reward, and teacher agency and control.
China attained the highest rank of the 21 countries in the study. The index scores varied between 100 (China) and 2 (Israel). Greece was ranked second overall, with an index score of 73.7. Other top European countries were the Netherlands and the UK, with scores of 40.3 and 36.7 respectively.
One of the most telling indicators of how teachers are perceived is whether or not parents would encourage their own children to become teachers. The study showed that 50% of parents in China would give positive encouragement if their child wanted to be a teacher. In contrast, that figure is only 20% in Finland, which tops the PISA rankings and where teaching is generally regarded highly.
In regards to teachers’ pay, the respondents in 95% of countries said that teachers should be paid more than they currently are. Furthermore, in all of the countries surveyed, the majority of respondents thought that teachers should be paid according to student performance.
One finding that calls into question the validity of the study is the lack of a clear correlation between the Teacher Status Index ranking and the PISA rankings. That is, teacher status does not seem to correlate with student performance (although other studies have shown that teachers’ pay does affect student performance.)
Nonetheless, the Varkey GEMS Foundation believes that teachers need to be better recognized for their role in society.
“We need to think harder, push further, and dream bigger, if we are find ways of truly celebrating the ‘noble’ profession,” wrote Sunny Varkey, founder of the Varkey GEMS Foundation.
This article discusses specific examples of virtually mediated interactions involving two transatlantic groups of student-teachers who engaged in a task-based telecollaborative project for the purposes of a teacher education course.
The Vygotskyan framework of learning and development and particularly the construct of Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD) in a collaborative frame serve as the theoretical basis of this study. This article aims to: (1) analyze the essentially language-mediated interactions to trace instantiations of virtual collaboration developmentally (2) discuss teacher learning outcomes of the (tele)collaborative activity, and (3) examine learning as expansion of what was explicitly proposed as objectives of the course, resulting from reasoned action i.e., reflection on the process and outcomes of the activity. The findings suggest that the effective integration of telecollaborative activities in pre-service teacher education programmes can enhance teacher learning in significant ways.