A global shortage of effective teachers disproportionately affects children from poor and marginalized backgrounds. A new study by the Teachers Alliance examines the experiences of different teachers who work with disadvantaged children.
It’s clear that teachers can play a critical role in improving the lives of children from both disadvantaged backgrounds and marginalized communities. But there is a gap in the existing evidence base on the qualities that make such teachers effective.
Understanding what makes teachers who work with children from disadvantaged backgrounds successful has been the work of the Teachers Alliance, a global group of experts created by The Varkey Foundation at the Global Education & Skills Forum 2017.
In its year-long research, the alliance examined the qualities, mindsets and behaviours of effective teachers who work with disadvantaged children. For its sample, the alliance drew upon the experiences of The Varkey Teacher Ambassador community, a global community of educators made up of finalists for the Global Teacher Prize.
A new report to be published by the alliance ahead of the Global Education & Skills Forum 2018 addresses its findings and recommendations to policy makers across the globe, with the aim of improving policies to attract, develop, and retain effective teachers to serve the most disadvantaged students.
“We should not compromise on the goal of ensuring that every child has equal access to a quality teacher if we are to secure a prosperous and sustainable future for all.”
Kwame Akyeampong, University of Sussex
The report’s key findings include:
- Teachers said they were motivated by children, either as the direct source of motivation or from seeing improved outcomes for children
- Teaching disadvantaged learners effectively requires strong relationships with students, a commitment and ability to teach all learners, a passion for teaching, and a genuine love for children
- Teachers of disadvantaged students face challenges which are diverse, numerous and similar across contexts. They include poverty, social-emotional needs, rigid curricula, infrastructure and resources, politics, fixed mindsets and discrimination towards disadvantaged students
- Teachers believe their disadvantaged students’ top needs are: 1) social-emotional needs; 2) positive adult role models including effective teachers; and 3) basic needs (nutrition and learning resources)
- According to participants in the interviews, the dominant quality for effective teachers is the ability to empathize and connect with students. Other important qualities include a passion for teaching, continuous improvement, creativity, and commitment
Teachers believe their disadvantaged students’ top needs are: 1) social-emotional needs; 2) positive adult role models including effective teachers; and 3) basic needs (nutrition and learning resources).
According to participants in the interviews, the dominant quality for effective teachers is the ability to empathize and connect with students. Other important qualities include a passion for teaching, continuous improvement, creativity, and commitment.
The Teachers Alliance is:
|Kwame Akyeampong [co-chair]||University Of Sussex|
|Emiliana Vegas [co-chair]||Inter-American Development Bank|
|Haifa Al-Atia||Queen Rania Foundation|
|Alice Cornish||The Varkey Foundation|
|David Edwards||Education International|
|Evelyn Orduro||Ghana Education Service|
|Oon Seng Tan||National Institute of Education|
|Jose Weinstein||Universidad Diego Portales in Santiago|
|Brett Wigdortz||Teach First|
|Freda Wolfenden||The Open University|
|Kaitlynn Saldanha [supporting member and report author]||Research for Equitable Access and Learning (REAL) Centre, University of Cambridge|
|*The information and views set out in outputs by the Alliance are those of its Members and do not necessarily reflect the official opinions or positions of their organizations.|