Teaching is the most immediate process for supporting learning and for enabling learners to acquire expected competencies. What happens within the classroom is of crucial importance for the quality of education1. Research also shows that considering the profile of the teacher alone is not sufficient to determine what is really happening in the classroom2: teachers and teaching are two separate, though closely interrelated, issues. Teaching and learning processes are not only crucial to education quality and to the effectiveness of learning experiences but also to equity of education quality and of learning. Individuals learn differently. They should be taught differently. For learners to reach their full potentials, teaching methods, approaches and assessment modalities must be well understood by those entrusted with teaching and those making decisions about education.
What research also underlines is that adaptability to context matters as different countries and students may need different teaching contents (both in terms of subject matter knowledge and of medium of instruction) and different levels of structure tailored to students’ profile. It is therefore important to critically assess the relevance of both current and planned objectives (in terms of the content, structure, and context of teaching) to the diverse contexts. What kind of teaching can be provided is shaped/constrained by the learner and the learning environment, the teacher and the teaching culture. Research shows, that countries which have been successful in improving their education system followed a number of general principles but also tailored their intervention to match the current situation of their education system (See: Common characteristics of good teaching practices).
The overall objective of this Analytical Tool [See Full Version for more details] is to support the analysis of how teaching processes contribute to the quality and equity of general education and to effective learning. The paramount question this analytical Tool raises is: Do our teaching processes facilitate or impede the attainment of quality education and effective learning experiences for all our learners? The probing of this paramount question is facilitated by posing some key questions regarding critical factors affecting and influencing teaching.
Diagnosis and analysis
Understanding an effective teaching process
1. What is our operational understanding of effective or quality teaching? Who defines this understanding? What is the role of research and innovation in determining our operational definition of effective or quality teaching? Where is the evidence that our evidence is informed by research and innovation? How is this understanding documented and shared? Where is the evidence of it being shared? How does this understanding take into account the diversity of our education settings, learners and teachers as significant factors in our definition of quality/effective teaching?
2. How do we collect information on core teaching methods and repertoires used in our general education system (See: Different teaching methods)? How are these repertoires selected? How effective are they in facilitating learning effectiveness and the acquisition of desired competencies? What is the evidence of their effectiveness?
Equity and effective teaching
1. How do we ensure that all learners in our general education system are exposed to effective teaching as we operationally define it? Where is the evidence of equitable exposure to effective teaching? Where there is inequity, what are our available remedial measures? Where is evidence that these measures work? How do we track the differentiated impact of effective teaching for diverse learners? What dimensions of diversity do we use to track differentiated impact?
Monitoring and supporting teaching
1. What mechanisms do we have for identifying and documenting in effective teaching?? Once identified, what remedial actions do we employ? How regularized and/or institutionalized are these remedial measures? How effective are these measures in supporting effective teaching? Where is the evidence that they work?
2. Who evaluates teaching? Who are the involved stakeholders? How are stakeholders who evaluate teaching selected? Are learners, parents and teachers part of these stakeholders? How effective is stakeholder participation? Where is the evidence of this effectiveness? How do we use feedback from the assessment of teaching effectiveness? Where is the evidence of this use? What impact has this use had? Where is the evidence of the impact?
3. How are outcomes from national, regional and international assessments utilized in our evaluation of the teaching process?
4. How do we support and incentivize effective teaching? How do we sustain effective teaching? (See: Pedagogical freedom or prescriptive curriculum)
Conditions for teaching
1. How do we operationally define environments that support and/ or induce effective teaching as we operationally define it? What are the levels of these environments? What are the key features of these environments? What are the most impactful features? How do they manifest across the diverse contexts of our general education system? Where is the evidence of the impact of these environments and/or their specific elements across specific contexts?
2. To what extent and how are ICTs being integrated in teaching and learning to achieve desired learning outcomes? Do we know if the introduction of ICTs has improved teaching effectiveness as we operationally define it? Where is the evidence of this improvement?
Priorities for action
1. What are the key challenges and constraints which we need to address to achieve effective learning in our education system?
2. What are the knowledge gaps in our understanding of learning processes which need to be filled for an evidence-based policy and strategy to make our education system deliver quality learning to all our learners?
3. What are the required actions to deal with the priority constraints and the identified knowledge gaps? What partnerships and resources are needed to implement the actions identified?