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Session Submission Type: Group Panel
The objective of this panel is to explore the factors that influence teacher effectiveness and how such evidence-based strategies can be used in the context of India and Colombia. The main questions addressed by the panel are: (1) what are the factors that influence teacher motivation and effectiveness especially in South Asia and Latin America, (2) what evidence-based strategies are known to work in developing countries to increase teacher performance and student learning outcomes, (3) in the context of 21st century, how can in-service teachers in developing countries be supported to teach not only cognitive but higher-order reflective and analytical skills to students, (4) what are the key advantages and drawbacks of existing strategies particularly in ‘transferability’ and for scaling-up.
The main theoretical framework for the first paper applies psychological principles to the study of intrinsic and extrinsic motivation in the workplace and then examines the policies implemented in Latin America that address three determinants of teacher motivation: 1) lack of professional recognition and prestige, 2) poor quality of pre- and in-service training and 3) limited opportunities for professional advancement and remuneration.
The second paper uses a recent World Bank designed framework for a desk review on extrinsic factors that influence teacher motivation including monetary compensations, rewards as well as non-monetary incentives such as professional development networks and community support. Evidence from literature shows that there should be an adequate balance of autonomy and accountability to enhance teacher motivation and effectiveness. However, in the context of India, most teachers are poorly trained to teach effectively in the classroom as their pre-service training is entirely theoretical with no emphasis on content-specific pedagogy. Thus, regional policies geared towards either accountability or increased autonomy are not fully successful as the teachers lack sufficient knowledge and skills. Consequently, the paper uses a 21st Century Skills framework to further examine an innovative and cost-effective model in India that has successfully managed to increase teacher motivation and effectiveness in the classroom. Although, there are limitations to the model, it shows that if teachers are adequately supported and trained, they can teach effectively and cultivate higher-order 21st Century Skills in their students.
The third paper looks at the necessity of teachers themselves to develop such 21st century skills of critical thinking and awareness. It argues that teachers in general, and particularly in India, can be agents of social change and ‘transformative intellectuals’ through extensive reading and critical writing. However, there is a scarcity of reading resources and texts for teachers in India. The paper calls for practical networks to establish connections between reading, writing and praxis for teachers through democratizing access to resources and reading material that teachers can understand and meaningfully engage with. The paper further details such a pilot endeavor for teachers in the central Indian state of Chhattisgarh.
Hence, all three presentations will touch upon various themes to understand factors that influence teacher motivation and illustrate practical, evidence-based strategies that have been used in South Asia and Latin America. In the context of developing countries where most teachers are not adequately trained or given support and resources, these papers provide practical and cost-effective recommendations that can increase teacher effectiveness. In particular, the panel will show how policies and strategies to increase teacher effectiveness can not only boost student academic performance but can also help develop reflective and analytical skills in them. The latter is an essential element that is glaringly missing in most education systems in the developing world.
The three papers will be presented in the order they have been explained above and the speakers will offer a collective conclusion to the panel discussion.
Teacher motivation and professional development in South Asia (India) - Noorya Hayat, Harvard Graduate School of Education; Divya Sooryakumar, Harvard Graduate School of Education
Ready, teach, go! A study of teacher motivation in Colombia - Nicole Paulet Piedra, Harvard Graduate School of Education
The Disappearing Act: Teacher Absenteeism in Argentina - Juan Mora y Araujo, Harvard Graduate School of Education