October 2012 Archives

This infographic was circulated widely at UNESCO's World Teachers' Day event in Paris. Last month, the United Nations Secretary General announced the Education First initiative, with the aim of putting all children of school age into school. With these facts, that is one ambitious—but highly worthy—campaign....


What do we do on Monday morning is the perennial question that arises after attending a conference where heady ideas are discussed in an atmosphere of urgency and expectation. The question certainly was on my mind as I settled into my flight home from Paris after attending World Teacher's Day at UNESCO headquarters there. As those of you who have followed my and Dan Brown's posts--the agenda was a full and ambitious one: shaping a global profession of teaching to meet the world's growing educational challenges. Somewhere in Between Except in a handful of the highest performing countries where the ...


-All top-performing OECD nations (Finland, Korea, Japan, Canada, Australia...) have strong teachers' unions. -Cambridge professor John Bangs: Collaborative leadership in schools—not principal going it alone—yields more sustainable improvement. -Bangs emphasized the necessity of self-efficacy in teachers. He quoted Covey: "Motivation is a fire from within. If someone else tries to light that fire under you, chances are it will burn very briefly." -Princess Margaretha of Liechtenstein was in the house! Ron got his photo with her in the VIP area. I settled for a paparazzi shot. She was there in support of Dyslexia International, a truly impressive...


My heart hammering, I asked a question during World Teachers' Day in the grand UNESCO chamber to the panel of ministers and researchers from Guinea, South Africa, Jamaica, France, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. It was an exciting moment, even though I couldn't figure out how to turn on my microphone for a second. As I spoke, half of the crowd of about 400 listened in their headsets as an unseen figure in a booth by the wall insta-translated my words into French! My paraphrased question: Bonjour. My name is Dan Brown and I'm a National Board-certified teacher from ...


There is a twist at the end of this blog—can you wait for it or do you need to scroll to the end now? I spent World Teachers' Day at the UNESCO (United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization) headquarters listening to and meeting international experts on education. The theme of this year's event was "take a stand for teachers." Here are some recommendations from UNESCO's very active education division on the status of teachers across the globe. These are a few choice excerpts from a longer report; my editorial notes are italicized. Pay close attention and remember—there's...


[Editors' note: Below is the text of a speech given today by Ronald Thorpe, president of the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, at the World Teachers' Day summit in Paris. Thorpe was a panelist for a discussion on improving teachers' status. As in all our opinion blogs, the views expressed are those of the author and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Education Week or Education Week Teacher, which take no editorial positions.] I am pleased to participate in this international conversation about the status of teaching, and I thank you for the opportunity to learn from ...


The Official UNESCO program for World Teachers' Day in Paris is unfolding in Front of me as I furiously type—or tap this—on an iPad. (Props to David Edwards from Education International for lending it to me after all of my devices died and I had no power cords or adapters.) After the event I'll pull together my summary and takeaways in a cleaner, more organized post. Until then, here is a smattering of soundbites and takeaways from the proceedings so far: • To deliver universal primary education to all children in the World by 2015, we need 6.8 Million...


I'm guessing that most Americans have no idea how crushing the global teacher shortage is for students in the developing world. This fact sheet, circulated and discussed widely at UNESCO's World Teachers' Day event, is stunning. View image Some facts that standout for me: • 6.8 million teachers are needed in developing countries by 2015 if university primary education is to be possible. Sixty percent of the teachers are needed in sub-Saharan Africa. • In the Central African Republic, there are 84 students per teacher. That's quadruple the average for OECD nations (like the USA). • 61 million primary school-age...


Bonjour and bienvenue to World Teachers' Day from Paris, France! Photo from my wandering yesterday at Jardin du Musée Rodin Ron Thorpe and I were among the first to arrive at UNESCO headquarters for the official program. I've got my croissant and tea, and I'm ready to take a stand for teachers... once everyone else shows up. The day's agenda is a feast of international perspectives: • Opening Ceremony featuring Irina Bokova, director general of UNESCO • "Take a Stand for Teachers!" speakers from UNESCO's Education Sector, including David Atchoarena, Director of Teacher Development and Higher Education • Discussion panel on "attracting...


Yesterday I met with Andreas Schleicher and Michael Davidson at Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD.) Andreas and I have a relationship going back through both International Summits on the Teaching Profession and before that to important contributions he made to the Celebration of Teaching & Learning. He is the godfather of PISA and one of the most universally respected voices at the international education table. Michael, a Scotsman, with long experience in Britain and at OECD, now oversees TALIS (Teaching and Learning International Survey), which I'm pleased to say the U.S. now participates in, partly as a result ...


In my last two posts I spoke of teaching's revolving door. However, it would be a mistake to ignore the many promising developments in our education system that are moving towards a new, more sustainable model of teaching as a profession that promotes expertise and effectiveness across the career-span. In the United States, we are moving beyond our traditional "egg carton" school structures that isolated teachers and limited professional collaboration. Teachers today are working more collegially to share and develop their knowledge and expertise. Examples of distributive leadership and teacher leadership in schools are more plentiful than ever before, but ...


Although the book is nearly 40 years old, Dan Lortie's Schoolteacher raises another related issue that is actually more important today than it was in 1975. We want teachers to be more collaborative within schools, but collaboration is built best on relationships. If teachers - members of a team - are constantly coming and going, will this force those who remain to retreat to the safety of their classrooms? Lortie saw that happening in the 1970s. Or will collaboration and the connections now possible through technology actually make it less likely that good teachers leave the profession? This is a ...


As educators from around the world prepare for World Teachers' Day on October 5 in Paris, France, the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization's (UNESCO) Institute of Statistics illustrates the global teacher challenge in stark relief: Consider: A total of 6.8 million teachers will be needed by 2015 for universal primary education. 1.7 million new teacher positions needed. 5.1 million new teachers needed to replace teachers retiring or leaving the profession. (Source: THE GLOBAL DEMAND FOR PRIMARY TEACHERS - 2012 UPDATE) The world needs a lot of new teachers! How will countries meet this demand? Will ...


One of the major topics of discussion at the UNESCO World Teachers' Day summit on Oct. will be elevating the status of the teaching profession. I've lost count of how many times I've heard in that U.S. teachers need a major public relations campaign. People keep saying it because it's true. A critical mass of the general public doesn't grasp the importance and the complexity of teaching, and that deficit of understanding limits the will for many elected leaders to push for the comprehensive reforms necessary for teachers to earn more respect, more pay, and more ownership over their ...


I'll be at the World Teachers' Day event at UNESCO in Paris this Friday, October 5. I don't have speaking slot at the event, but I've been thinking about what I would say if I did. Here's my best attempt to get my thoughts on "paper." Everyone has heard the phrase it takes a village to raise a child; it takes a village to raise a teacher too. I learned this firsthand—strong teachers are built, not born—in my journey from being a clueless rookie to an accomplished veteran. I became a teacher in 2003 because I wanted to...


On October 5, the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization's (UNESCO) hosts World Teachers' Day in Paris, France, focusing an international spotlight on teaching's global challenges. International conferences are a commonplace in fields like economics, healthcare and the environment. Experts at these gatherings share several common features: a global sense of urgency, multidisciplinary expertise rooted in a deep knowledge of research, theory, and practice; a body of knowledge and facts that transcend the participants' differences in language, culture, and context. We have become accustomed to such gatherings as settings for world problem-solving through the gathering of global experts, knowledge, ...


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