The 8th Education International (EI) World Congress, meeting in Bangkok, Thailand, from 21st to 26th July 2019:
(i) Reaffirms that teaching is a profession guided by a set of professional standards, and that professional teaching standards should be established with the full involvement of the teaching profession in all countries where they are enacted;
(ii) Reaffirms that a critical step in the pursuit of quality education are teachers’ qualifications, competences and the professional framework they operate within;
(iii) Asserts that part of being a profession is the right to self-governance;
(iv) Stresses that teachers should feel confident that both their professional standards and their professional learning and development are relevant to their teaching;
(v) Recognises that professional teaching standards can play an important role in shaping teaching quality;
(vi) Recognises that teacher professionalism is the best defence against de-professionalisation, multiple and intersecting inequalities;
(vii) Asserts that leadership of the development of professional teaching standards by education unions enables teacher professionalism.
(2) The 8th World Congress:
(i) Hereby adopts the attached Global Framework of Professional Teaching Standards as a guideline;
(ii) Notes that member organisations may promote and use this framework to inform the development or review of professional teaching standards in their jurisdictions, as appropriate;
(iii) Calls upon EI and member organisations to assert the central role of teachers and their unions in setting professional teaching standards;
(iv) Calls upon EI and member organisations to be aware of the possibilities professional teaching standards may have at the global, regional and national level;
(v) Calls upon EI and member organisations to lobby and campaign for representation on bodies that monitor professional teaching standards;
(vi) Calls upon EI and member organisations to ensure that the framework is not taken in part and instrumentalised to control or limit teacher autonomy and that, in all circumstances, its application be based on the teachers’ professional judgement.
(3) Congress mandates the Executive Board to seek the recognition and endorsement of this framework by the International Task Force on Teachers for Education 2030, UNESCO, ILO, OECD and other UN, intergovernmental and relevant agencies.
EI/UNESCO GLOBAL FRAMEWORK OF PROFESSIONAL TEACHING STANDARDS
Table of Contents
1. INTRODUCTION 3
2. SITUATING PROFESSIONAL TEACHING STANDARDS FOR TEACHERS 3
3. DELIMITING THE FRAMEWORK 4
4. PRINCIPLES UNDERPINNING THE PROFESSIONAL TEACHING STANDARDS 5
5. DOMAINS AND STANDARDS 6
I. TEACHING KNOWLEDGE AND UNDERSTANDING 6
II. TEACHING PRACTICE 7
III. TEACHING RELATIONS 7
5.1. THE STANDARDS 7
6. POSSIBLE FURTHER ELABORATION OF A PROFESSIONAL TEACHING STANDARDS FRAMEWORK 9
7. IMPLEMENTING A PROFESSIONAL TEACHING STANDARDS FRAMEWORK 9
7.1. STANDARDS AS REFERENCE FOR FURTHER DEVELOPMENT 10
7.2. DEVELOPING THE MEASURES FOR THE ATTAINMENT OF STANDARDS 10
8. CONCLUSION 11
CORE REFERENCES 12
This document outlines a Professional Teaching Standards (1) Framework for teachers focusing on clarifying and specifying the standards of teaching that teachers can aspire to enhance equitable and quality education for all. It is written to assist increased understanding and cohesiveness around the teaching profession internationally. Specifically, the paper sets out key elements of a Framework of Professional Teaching Standards that could be adopted as a common international approach and used by teacher professional associations, education unions and teachers themselves to enhance their professional work. As such, the intended audience of the paper includes teachers, particularly and their union representatives, and education policy makers considering possibilities for supporting and developing the teaching profession to enhance quality education and support the realisation of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal 4 on Quality Education. It is hoped that the document will stimulate discussion and understanding of the work of teachers and education quality. Any framework such as this is intended to inform and guide the development or review of national teaching standards.
2. Situating Professional Teaching Standards for Teachers
This document maps out key elements of professional teaching Standards that can cohere as a common framework internationally and be adapted nationally to suit diverse contexts, promoting government and teacher ownership (2) . Key to the development of professional standards is the idea of a teaching profession defined by its shared knowledge and expertise, and its shared commitment to defending its standards of practice. A profession’s ethical commitment to protecting its standards is exercised in the interests of its members, and in the interests of learners, each community, and society generally.
The idea of teaching as a profession is manifest in a set of Teaching Standards, which capture and present statements of practice that reflect teacher professional commitment and practice, and which are recognised as credible by the profession, and generally understood as an ethical stance in the interests of the community.
At a technical or definitional level, academic work has been done that identifies different types of teaching Standards. One taxonomy identifies three major categories of Standards: Ethical Standards, constituted generally in relatively broad statements of expectations of the profession’s nature, ambitions and dispositions: Content Standards, describing the scope and specific nature of teachers’ work; and Measurement Standards, which set the level or ‘quality’ of teacher expertise. This paper draws on this broad taxonomy in a very general way to present and discuss the framework.
A Framework of Professional Teaching Standards is built on a shared statement of principles that express the core ideal that underpin the teaching profession and which all teachers share and work towards.
The principles that underpin a Teaching Standards Framework are expressed as Domains, or categories, within which teachers’ work can most usefully be described. Three categories or Domains are noted: Knowledge and Understanding, Practice (pedagogy) and Teaching Relations (professional relationships). These are informed by taxonomies present in existing frameworks.
When considering the potential application and usefulness of a Professional Teaching Standards framework the profession may want to recognise that Standards can be described at different levels of teacher experience and expertise.
This Professional Teaching Standards Framework describes 10 Standards across the 3 Domains. By necessity, these are general statements which broadly demarcate teachers’ work and practices (3) . In this framework each Standard statement reflects what the desirable level of practice is and what the associated competency is.
3. Delimiting the framework
It is important to recognise several delimitations of the teaching Standards Framework:
• This framework does not cover all aspects that relate to processes for developing teaching standards, or their potential applications and effects. Nor is it a Teacher Standards Framework. It is focused on professional practice and as such on teaching.
• Governance arrangements, either for developing or applying Standards, are not addressed. While underlining the critical importance of coherence and teacher participation in the development of professional teaching standards, processes for developing the framework for local application, for interpreting and assessing possible applications and effects are not addressed. Similarly, issues of community participation in teachers’ work are not addressed.
• The framework is limited to setting possible common and agreed reference points for describing, and therefore promoting and defending, the core work of teachers, in the interests of both teachers and the community.
• Any teaching standards framework carries within it a strong ethical dimension which is implied in the aspirations represented in the Standard statements themselves. It is appropriate that this framework might be augmented with statements of ethics or in-principle intents, which resonate most effectively within diverse contexts.
• It is understood that the term Standards, with regard to teachers’ professional practice, can signify different things in different contexts. There are technical or definitional issues, as well as political effects to consider. In many cases these are simple matters of translation or cultural resonances. In others, there are concerns based on local and sometimes bitter experiences of using professional discussions of Standards to impose specific employment practices.
• The Professional Teaching Standards Framework is not intended to undermine the standing of teachers, and their working arrangements. In that regard, the Teaching Standards Framework should not be taken in part and instrumentalised to control or limit teacher professional autonomy or academic freedom.
• Credible, well considered Standards are intended to protect teachers from bureaucratic managerialism and regulation and not designed to be anti-teacher. It is also designed to not allow for supervisory processes of measurement or monitoring that are against the interests of professionalism and therefore against the interests of teachers. If the Standards are to be used to evaluate the quality of teaching, this must be set within a context of development-focused, supportive and equitable arrangements for teacher leadership and management. This approach is cognisant of protecting the professionalism inherent in the complex work of the teachers.
• A Teaching Standards Framework should promote and enhance what teaching is, and support teacher professional judgment and discretion, and therefore, enhance professional standing. As such this framework is an important tool for protecting and building the standing of the teaching profession.
In light of the above, additional work that grounds the development and implementation of Professional Teaching Standards in a robust theoretical framework and a broader setting with other major Education stakeholders is a complementary contribution to the Framework.
4. Principles Underpinning the Professional Teaching Standards
A set of underlying principles inform the purpose of Standards and help shape their nature and potential application. If the framework is effective, it should be clear how the professional Standards help address the principles. A set of professional principles should commit the profession to a broad purpose and set the expectations that the profession holds of itself against this purpose.
The principles described below are general but seek to apply to the context within which teacher professionalism might be addressed through this Professional Teaching Standards Framework. They seek to highlight the interrelationship between the ethical mission of teaching and the essential nature of the work in practice.
These principles should be viewed as reference points for determining the validity of the Elaborations of the Standards and the processes for applying them. It is on this basis that the principles themselves constitute the primary professional standard for teaching.
The 12 principles that underpin the Professional Teaching Standards Framework are:
i. Quality education is a universal right of all children, young people and adults, in the interests of individuals, communities and societies.
ii. Quality education is predicated on high quality teaching, for all students, in all circumstances.
iii. Teachers’ work is organised around maximising student learning, future life chances and wellbeing, in close collaboration with education support personnel and other professionals.
iv. Teachers are defined as individuals holding formally recognised teaching qualifications and who meet standards of practice that are defined, judged and recognised through the teaching profession.
v. All teachers should be trained at university or equivalent institutions and have the requisite knowledge, skills and competences to meet the diverse needs of students.
vi. The teaching profession is constituted by teachers so defined, and in alignment with teacher representative organisations.
vii. It is in the interest of the community generally and children particularly, that only trained and qualified members of the teaching profession be engaged to undertake teachers’ work.
viii. Effective and ethical school organisational practice is built on teachers’ professional judgment and standards of practice defined by the teaching profession.
ix. Members of the teaching profession with leadership and administrative responsibilities in schools and other education institutions support teachers at all levels to achieve, maintain and defend professional standards’.
x. Professional teaching standards address and actively support universal access to and opportunity for quality education for all.
xi. The teaching profession as a whole, and its individual members, are ethically and actively committed to supporting the principles, precepts and standards of teachers’ professional practice and to promoting equitable inclusive quality education for all in the interests of all students, teachers and the community.
xii. Governments and education authorities have an obligation to ensure that teachers receive the necessary support, training, professional development, opportunity to engage in and access research, including action research in order to enable all students to develop to their full potential.
5. Domains and Standards
At the centre of this Framework of Professional Teaching Standards are 3 domains (4) (5) and 10 Standards, or Standard statements.
The 3 domains are: (6) (7)
i. Teaching Knowledge and Understanding
It can be taken as given that effective teaching relies on teachers being expert enough at the knowledge, skills and understandings of particular subjects or learning areas to be able to teach them. Good teachers know and understand their subjects, teaching methodologies, as well as their students. Teachers also understand the social, cultural and developmental issues that might relate to their students and their learning processes. Specific learning content will vary substantially across countries, let alone globally, but teaching will always require enough depth of knowledge, skills and understanding of content, the students in the class, and contextual issues, to be able to bring the students to their own appropriate level of understanding.
This should not imply that teaching is a simple process of transmitting knowledge from a teacher to a student. Meaning and understanding is developed in processes and relationships shaped by the complex and varied contexts within which students learn. There is therefore a substantial overlap in real terms with the other essential Domains of this framework.
ii. Teaching Practice
The Standards in this Domain describe the key dimensions of the direct engagement of teachers with their students.
Effective teaching is crucially determined in this Domain. Within this Domain the practices that most distinctly constitute teaching can be elaborated. In practice, teaching activities will manifest in innumerable ways and will always reflect our ambition for, and understanding of, student learning, welfare and development. Effective teaching methodologies and practices within this domain rely on the Knowledge and Understanding Domain as well as on various Teaching Relations.
iii. Teaching Relations
Teaching is inherently constituted in relationships. Along with engaging with students, professional relationships with colleagues, with parents or caregivers and education authorities are crucial to effective teaching. Relations with the general community are crucial to a teacher’s work and to the profession as a whole.
5.1. The Standards
1. Teaching Knowledge and Understanding
1.1. Practising teachers know and understand:
1.1.1. How students learn, and the particular learning, social and development needs of their students
o Implications of students’ physical, social and intellectual development
o Implications of social, cultural and economic diversity, and related circumstances of students and their learning environment
o Implications of digital technologies on students’ learning
1.1.2. The content and related methodologies of the subject matter or content being taught
o Core content knowledge and skills
o Implications of the content knowledge for teaching methodologies
1.1.3. Core research and analytical methods that apply in teaching, including with regard to student assessment
o Research methodologies and related analytical skills that can be applied to new learning
o Principles and practices of effective student assessment
2. Teaching Practice
2.1. Teachers’ practice consistently demonstrates:
2.1.1. Planning and preparation to meet the learning objectives held for students
o Identifying specific learning objectives for students
o Researching, organising and scheduling lessons to meet those objectives
2.1.2. An appropriate range of teaching activity that reflects and aligns with both the nature of the subject content being taught, and the learning, support and development needs of the students
o Practice of teaching processes and structuring of learning activities that align with the requirements of the subject content
o Variations in teaching and learning that facilitate engagement of students
2.1.3. Organisation and facilitation of student activity so that students are able to participate constructively, in a safe and cooperative manner
o A safe and secure environment
o Effective classroom management having regard to the needs of all individuals and the class as a whole
2.1.4. Assessment and analysis of student learning that informs the further preparation for, and implementation of, teaching and learning activity required
o Consistent fair, valid and reliable assessment of student work using an appropriate range of methods
o Analysis of information to adjusting planning and practice of lessons toward achieving learning objectives.
3. Teaching Relations
3.1. Teachers’ professional relations include active participation in:
3.1.1. Cooperative and collaborative professional processes that contribute to collegial development, and support student learning and development
o Collaborative processes with regard to lesson planning, teaching activity and student welfare, that support students
o Cooperative processes that support teacher professional learning, development and welfare
3.1.2. Communications with parents, caregivers and members of the community, as appropriate, to support the learning objectives of students, including formal and informal reporting
o Formal and informal reporting to parents, caregivers and the community on student learning and welfare
o Presentation of a range of professional issues, including with regard to the expertise and status of the profession
3.1.3. Continuous professional development to maintain currency of their professional knowledge and practice
o Participation in formal professional learning and development
o Ongoing analysis and reflection on practice to develop professional practice.
6. Possible Further Elaboration of a Professional Teaching Standards Framework
The Professional Teaching Standards above have broadly articulated key domains and standards statements that constitute the work of teachers and their expertise as members of a profession.
There are several ways to further develop and elaborate the framework subject to consultation and discussion. These include (8)
• Applying professional teaching standards for determining a minimum level of professional attainment: what is known most commonly as Teacher Registration. In this framework there are two Levels of mandatory attainment identified within the framework: Graduate Teacher (9) and Practicing Teacher (10). They can be applied as one Level or as distinct Levels. The point at which one is considered a Teacher, a member of the profession, Registered, will need to be determined.
• Additional or supplementary aspects of a cohesive Professional Teaching Standards Framework. A characteristic of most professions is to recognise and celebrate outstanding practitioners. Participatory consultations are necessary to consider whether this Standards Framework should be used to recognise outstanding teachers as part of a full, career spanning, professional framework. Any considering for the recognition of outstanding teachers must be premised on the idea that outstanding practice is not isolated, but evolves from, the Standards for Practicing Teachers (11) . This is an optional addition and by no means compulsory and its development will depend on the culture of the national education system.
• Standards for Professional Leaders: This level of teaching identifies and recognises the specific practices, based on high expertise in each domain, that support colleagues and lead to the further development of the profession. They are not therefore a simple escalation from Highly Accomplished teacher Levels. The Elaborations of the Standards for this Level represent the specific activities which model for, or lead, other teachers and assist in their professional development. The activity relies on outstanding professional capacity but describes the additional steps of active professional leadership (12).
• Elaborations in Subject Areas: in some context, it might be important to elaborate the Professional Teaching Standards Framework between subjects or learning areas.
• Additional elaboration: The Elaborations of the Standards Framework presented are not regarded as comprehensive. There may be specific purposes to which Standards are applied that require additional Elaborations. For example, they may be used to develop Continuing Professional Learning courses, or professional mentoring or any other professionally related activity that benefits from a more explicit expression of expectations than the Standards themselves are intended to provide independently through this Framework of Professional Teaching Standards.
7. Implementing a Professional Teaching Standards Framework
The Principles of Professional Teaching Practice set out in the framework are a common and agreed foundation for interpreting and applying all aspects of the Standards framework. The effect of this is to ensure that the Standards can only be legitimately applied to support the integrity of the teaching profession.
The Principles can be understood as the core professional Standard. Application of other aspects of the framework can grow over time through the Principles. This should allow the broadest possible endorsement of the framework.
In any discussion of potential processes or mechanisms for applying professional teaching Standards, the role of professional judgment must be recognised as key to the integrity of that application. In this framework, this is recognised in: The Principles of Professional Teaching Practice, the holistic wording of the Standards; and the elaborations and implementation issues addressed.
7.1. Standards as Reference for further development
This framework suggests that governments and teacher associations and unions may choose to develop additional Domains to augment the Framework of Professional Teaching Standards where specific issues are prioritised. These might include, for example, a Domain related to Ethics, which are not specifically addressed in this Framework except in broad terms. It is also not inconsistent that the application of this framework might be accompanied by a more detailed set of Standards for Continuous Professional Learning and Development (CPLD), for example, that could present as an additional Domain. Many governments that implement a Standards framework include Standards for CPLD programmes within their broader framework. In this framework, which is intended to help establish commonality across the profession, specific Standards for CPLD is an option left to governments and teachers and their representative organisations. Standards for CPLD generally describe the expectations of courses or processes, rather than the specific and more common classroom practice of teaching. The considerations for developing such CPLD Standards raise a range of issues that are not addressed in this paper. These include questions of the relationship between CPLD and student learning, the site and nature of CPLD (for example, in class, off-site, expert input etc).
7.2. Developing the measures for the Attainment of Standards
The potential to judge attainment or achievement of Standards is related to both the wording of the Standards and the application of the Standards. The Standards as organised and as worded in this framework might require specific measurement. In developing measures, it is important that each Standard is understood holistically. In any process of judgment or assessment against the Standard, a holistic or integrated judgment needs to be made, as it is the holistic Standard that is being judged rather than any particular action or activity. As such they need to be used cautiously in developing assessment measures.
Key to developing measures based on the Standards is the need to ensure validity and reliability. In this respect, valid indicators of effective teaching or of achievement of the Standards need to be developed preserving the holistic approach of the framework. A consultative and participatory approach involving teachers and their representatives is needed to identify accurate and meaningful sources of evidence and indicators of achievement of the standard statements.
The implementation of this Framework of Professional Teaching Standards with integrity and fidelity relies on teachers’ professional judgment, the fundamental expectation of which is stated in the Principles of Professional Teaching Practice. It is designed to support teachers in their work and practice to ensure equitable and quality education for all, as articulated in SDG 4.
This framework draws on an enormous range of inputs and references, including global and regional consultations. Each of the items listed below, including in particular, established Standards frameworks have themselves drawn on extensive research and mapping of practice around the world.
Alegounarias, Tom; Journal of Professional Learning Semester 2, 2017; Professional Standards – Threats and Possibilities Dinham, Stephen; Ingvarson, Lawrence C.;
Alegounarias, T; Mulheron, M: Professional Teaching Standards in Australia – A Case Study: Education International (awaiting publication)
Kleinhenz, Elizabeth; and Business Council of Australia, "Teaching talent: the best teachers for Australia's classrooms" (2008). https://research.acer.edu.au/teaching_standards/12
Education International and Oxfam Novib (2011) Quality Educators: An International Study of Teacher Competences and Standards
Kleinhenz, Elizabeth and Ingvarson, Lawrence, "Standards for Teaching: Theoretical Underpinnings and Applications" (2007). https://research.acer.edu.au/teaching_standards/1
(1) The paper identifies common and essential principles for a professional model but does not claim that the uses of terminology and the taxonomies employed are the only valid or useful ones. A variety of taxonomies and organisational frames are valid, but in the end, judgments will need to be made that allow for coherence to be built internationally, over time. This may include mapping of existing frameworks, or of frameworks that are currently being developed, to common elements. The paper is written to allow for such an evolutionary approach.
(2) The approach is informed by a study of teaching Standards around the world, and is particularly informed by successful implementation in Australia, Canadian and Scotland. Of course, these are not the only successful approaches. Perceptions are subjective, but work undertaken in other countries have made substantial and positive contributions to the status of the profession in those countries, and substantially inform this paper and the framework.
(3) Application of these Standards in any context would require that governments recognise the Standards as valid general descriptors of teaching, and that they are able to map their own approaches to them, forming an agreed international core of teaching Standards.
(4) Two of the Standards Domains in this framework - Knowledge and Understanding, and Teaching Practice are common inclusions across existing Standards frameworks, even if by slightly different wording. These are more easily directly mapped to existing approaches or applied at face meaning. The Domain of Teaching Relations is expressed in different ways in different contexts, explicitly or by implication. Often these expressions overlap with activity that apply Standards but might not be understood in all circumstances as the core activity of teaching as such.
(5) It is important to note that the three domains overlap significantly and can only constitute effective practice when applied together, in varied forms and combinations; achieving professional status against Standards would require recognition across all three of the Domains in some way.
(6) These Domains are not Standards in themselves, they are categories that teachers understand and under which more specific descriptors of teaching - Standards - can be developed and then applied for various purposes. They are appropriate to this purpose because they are recognisable by teachers globally as genuine, though not immutable, areas within which teaching can be described. It is important to note that the three Domains overlap significantly and can only constitute effective practice when applied together, in varied forms and combinations; achieving professional status against Standards would require recognition across all three of the Domains in some way.
(7) Issues within this Domain of professional activity are often contested in political and industrial contexts. Expectations of formal line-management reporting requirements for example, might be presented as professional responsibilities. Similarly, accessibility to parents might have industrially based time implications for teachers. The validity of inclusions in this domain of Standards should be tested against the words and intent of the Principles of Professional Teaching Practice. The development of Standards within this Domain is necessary for the profession to assert an ethical and sustainable approach to these issues when they are contested.
(8) The Elaborations presented attempt to identify the core issues that can be agreed to exist within each Standard. The Elaborations are worded as topics rather than descriptions of practice. The specific wording of Elaborations as descriptions of practice will be developed by governments in consultation with teachers and tehri representatives as the basis for effective application of the Standard, to the extent that is considered appropriate. It is therefore much more likely that there will be substantial variation across the profession in the wording that might be utilised. It is possible to word the Elaborations of the Standards so that they themselves constitute a Standard, and such wording will depend on the nature of any application within specific contexts. None of the Elaborations are presented or should be regarded as independent in practice from each other, across any of the Standards.
(9) Graduate teacher Standards emphasise knowledge and understanding, as well as capacity, rather than consistent and sustained practice. Building initial high levels of knowledge and understanding, as well as demonstrating an initial capacity to undertake teaching tasks, are necessary dimensions of the Graduate stage of professional development. Subject content knowledge is an area in which a level of depth is required before practice, and is generally attained through study, even as it necessarily continues to be developed while in teaching practice. Another example is a teacher’s research and analytical skills which are introduced as part of theoretical preparation. Such skills might be applied to research new subject content or pedagogical developments, for example. But in any case, the capacity to understand and derive meaning from research and analysis that can then be applied to practice is an essential underpinning of professional practice.
(10) The Practicing Teacher Level of Standards is where the Domains of: Knowledge and Understanding, Teaching Practice, and Teaching Relations apply most completely for all teachers. The Standards, as described at this Level, constitute the professional practice of teaching as required to meet expectations held of the profession by itself and by the community. The Level of Practicing Teacher is best understood as incorporating within it the essential requirements of the Graduate Level. It is only possible to operate effectively at the Practicing Teacher Level as described in the Standards for that Level, if the capacities described in the Standards for Graduates are considered inherent.
(11) A possible approach in this respect is to recognise Outstanding Teaching such as the category of - Highly Accomplished Teacher. Highly Accomplished teaching represents practice across the three Domains that mirrors the descriptors of teaching at the Practicing level but recognises the performance or execution of that practice as being both uncommon and highly regarded by colleagues.
(12) More fine-grained distinctions to establish a hierarchy of teaching practice is not supported by research or by the evidence of teacher feedback. That is, teachers don’t in normal professional interaction recognise a multi-step hierarchy of effective practice in a way that is shared and agreed.