A Critical Review of the International Summits on the Teaching Profession, 2011-2014

Jan 1, 2014 by

2013

Richard Chiang Pan, richardpan3@yahoo.com, USA

2013.12.31_MyPublication_www.educationviews.org

A critical review of the first three International Summits on the Teaching Profession, 2011-2013, presented in synopsis form (Table I) based upon annual Reports, ought to draw immediate criticism on several counts: unfairness in the representativeness of the nations attending the summits, neglected opportunities for modern education practices, lack of detailed analyses in spite of prominent economic status, and weak focus of summit themes.

Our exalted International Summits on the Teaching Profession’s choice of themes, from the very first and formative theme in 2011 of “Improving Teacher Quality Around the World” to the most recent in 2014, “Excellence, Equity and Inclusiveness: High Quality Teaching for All” indicate an unambiguous claim on teaching which is representative for all people. However, a simple tabular list of delegate and attending nations of three initial International Summits shows a clear bias towards an important patron, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) of high-income economy nations. For at least three years, only one nation from Africa, two from South America, one from Southeast Asia, and none whatsoever from the Indian subcontinent, attended. Late arrivals to our summits, namely Chile, Indonesia and South Africa, enjoy favored status with OECD as well.1

Despite a distinct preference for high-income economies and robust markets of OECD nations, the newest 2013 International Report shows minimal discussion of modern technologies for education: teaching software and student and teacher databases receive scant attention, not to mention a curious omission, the core of teaching itself, teaching materials – time-consuming lessons, pedagogical aids, and innumerable questionnaires/surveys, now in shared computer files. Asking teachers “around the world” to re-invent the wheel of teaching, one teacher at a time, seems hardly efficient or ethical!

Teachers in the United States and other prominent attending OECD nations who face professional criticism of lackluster student scores on the 2013 International PISA test, sponsored by the OECD and also on the 2011 International PIRLS and 2011 TIMSS tests, under International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement (IES) patronage, deserve detailed, proper airing of these critical studies. Thus far, only the controversial PISA scores are given brief discussion in the summit reports: not a single one of the first three founding International Summit Reports mention PIRLS or TIMSS at all! International Summits on the Teaching Profession ought to give these special works more detailed analyses.

Stated themes 2011-2014 for our summits show uncertain focus: thrice recurrent topics such as “Teacher Quality,” leadership from within and without the teaching population, and student test scores as a measure of teacher standards. In truth, the International Summits do not show sufficient organizing principle: diverse student populations and changing educational standards for the students, on one hand , to be matched with desirable teacher characteristics, organizational structures of teachers, and flexible systems for teacher appraisal on the other. In a world of growing education importance, our teaching summits must improve in fairness, modernity, thoroughness, and basic conception.

1 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OECD

Table I, International Summits on the Teaching Profession, 2011-2014

Dates

Location

 

Theme

Delegate Nations/

Additional Nations

March 16 and 17, 2011 New York City, USA Improving Teacher Quality Around the World2 Put a spotlight on the teaching profession Identify and share the world’s best policies and practices in developing a high-quality profession Examine ways of engaging teachers in education reform Initiate an ongoing international dialogue on the teaching profession Belgium, Brazil, Canada, People’s Republic of China, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Hong Kong SAR, Japan, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Singapore, Slovenia, United Kingdom, and United States (16)
March 14 and 15, 2012 New York City, USA Preparing Teachers and Developing School Leaders3 Preparing teachers to deliver twenty-first century skills Matching supply and demand Developing school leaders Belgium, Canada, People’s Republic of China, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Hong Kong SAR, Hungary, Iceland, Indonesia, Japan, Republic of Korea, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Singapore, Slovenia, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom, and United States (23)
March 13 and 14, 2013 Amsterdam, Netherlands Teacher Quality4 How is teacher quality defined, and by whom? How is teacher quality evaluated? How do teacher evaluations contribute to teaching and learning? Belgium, Canada, People’s Republic of China, Denmark, Estonia, Germany, Hong Kong SAR, Iceland, Indonesia, Ireland, Japan, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Sweden, Switzerland, and United States (18)/ Australia, Chile, Finland, France, Hungary, Singapore, Slovenia, South Africa, South Korea, and United Kingdom (10) (28)
March 28 and 29, 2014 Wellington, New Zealand Excellence, Equity and Inclusiveness: High Quality Teaching for All5

 

2 http://asiasociety.org/files/lwtw-teachersummitreport0611.pdf
3 http://asiasociety.org/files/2012teachingsummit.pdf
4 http://asiasociety.org/files/teachingsummit2013.pdf
5 http://www.istp2014.org/contact-us/

Richard Pan is a scientist-programmer and former high school teacher from Washington, D.C. and the state of Massachusetts.  My academic website, www.richardpan.com, contains some but not all (!) of my pedagogical manuscripts.  I am able to read the emails I receive though a prompt reply is not always likely.

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