AERA and OECD Hold Policy Forum on Findings from Global Teaching InSights Study
AERA and OECD Hold Policy Forum on Findings from Global Teaching InSights Study

November  2020

On November 24, AERA and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) held an interactive policy forum, “Measuring Teaching at a Global Scale: Policy Perspectives on the Findings from the Global Teaching InSights Video Study,” to discuss the recently released findings from OECD’s Global Teaching InSights Video Study. The broadcast drew nearly 2,040 researchers, practitioners, policy experts, and other viewers from nearly 100 countries.

Felice J. Levine, AERA Executive Director

OECD’s Global Teaching InSights Video Study—formerly known as the Teaching and Learning International Survey (TALIS) Video Study—is an innovative project that uses new research methods to deepen understanding of teaching and learning at an international scale. Findings from the study were released on November 16, making this research-to-policy forum significant and timely.

“We were thrilled to hold a second webinar of international significance this year with OECD,” said AERA Executive Director Felice J. Levine. “This research-to-policy forum was significant, timely, and generated a highly informative and riveting conversation. We are pleased that such virtual gatherings are fostering open dialogue on education research and its applications among researchers, policymakers, and other stakeholders around the world.” 

In September, AERA and OECD co-hosted the webinar “Education Research Worldwide in a COVID and Post-COVID World.”

 Following welcoming remarks from Levine, Andreas Schleicher, director of the OECD Directorate of Education and Skills, gave a brief presentation on the study findings. 

Andreas Schleicher, Director for Education and Skills, OECD

“What distinguished this work from earlier studies is that we focused on one specific discipline, mathematics, to create a common context for our analysis,” Schleicher noted on the significance of the study. “The part that I’m proudest of is that the researchers were able to observe, codify what they observed, and develop a framework. It’s not an easy task if you look at teaching practices across countries that are quite different.”

Sarah Sparks, assistant editor at Education Week, moderated the panel discussion and attendee Q&A. The international panel of policymakers, experts, and representatives from the teaching profession included John Bangs, senior consultant, Education International; Jiang Bo, professor and former vice president, Tongji University; Peggy Brookins, president and CEO, National Board for Professional Teaching Standards; Ximena Dueñas, education specialist, Inter-American Development Bank; and Daniel Muijs, deputy director for research and evaluation, Ofsted.

During the highly engaging discussion, the panelists examined a range of issues, including the use of technology in classrooms, relationship building by teachers, social-emotional support for students, collaborations between teachers and their organizations, the use of rating scales and peer observation, teachers’ engagement in research, and ways to improve teachers’ professional growth. 

Andreas Schleicher, ASL Interpreter, Sarah Sparks, Jiang Bo, John Bangs, Peggy Brookins, Ximena Dueñas, and Daniel Muijs (left to right)

Several comments from the panel underscored the importance of social-emotional context and student engagement in teacher observation. 

“Getting to know our students is the most important aspect of teaching,” Brookins said. “We get to know how they learn, ways in which they want to learn, what their interests are, and incorporate that in the lessons we create around them. The basis of everything we do is ‘who are these students and how do I effectively reach them to impact student learning?’” 

In discussing peer observation, Muijs advised caution on the use of rating scales. ”Peer observation is really helpful,” Muijs said. “But I think what’s more helpful is the developmental conversation and the qualitative feedback that you have. Using a rating scale can detract from that because people focus on the numbers rather than on the actual development.” 

Dueñas noted that the Global Teaching InSights videos and findings are “not designed to be an assessment for promotion, but it’s really for professional growth and reflection on practice.” She added that it is important for universities to be part of this discussion and to use the findings from the study to analyze and improve their own teacher training programs. 

The Q&A segment was marked by enthusiastic attendee engagement with a steady flow of questions and observations about the Global Teaching InSights data and their potential. 

After audience questions and closing thoughts from the international panel, Levine concluded the forum by thanking the participants and emphasizing AERA’s commitment to working across domains on these critical issues. 

“Our excellent panelists captured an extraordinary slice of what is in store for future use of important and innovative data like this,” Levine said. “This forum was directed by design to the policy and the teaching practice communities; in early 2021 AERA will hold a follow-up event on the Global Teaching InSights Video Study that further connects it to the research community.”

The Global Teaching InSights Video Study is unique in the amount and types of data it collects on teaching and the methods it uses to analyze them. About 700 teachers and 17,500 students from eight countries and economies participated. The study draws upon observation of lesson videos and instructional materials, analysis of teacher and student questionnaires, and measurement of students’ cognitive and noncognitive outcomes.

By directly observing teaching in the classroom, the study provides a detailed account of classroom management, social-emotional support, and instructional practices, as well as students’ opportunities to learn the content specified in the curricula in the classrooms of the examined countries and economies. 

The forum was cosponsored by the recently launched AERA-ICPSR-NSF PEERS Data Hub. The event webcast and presentation slides will be available on the AERA website in early December. 

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