Dr. Amal Al Qubaisi, Director General at the Abu Dhabi Education Council (ADEC), lauded efforts exerted by ADEC in participating for the first time in the Teaching and Learning International Survey (TALIS), which comes in line with the Emirate's strategy plan to bring about internationally renowned benchmarks in teaching and learning across all schools.
As part of taking part in this initiative, Abu Dhabi is now considered the first and only Arab country to participate in the TALIS: an international, large-scale survey conducted by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development that focuses on the working conditions of teachers and the learning environments in schools.
TALIS aims to provide valid, timely and comparable information to help countries review and define policies for developing a high-quality teaching profession.
"We are delighted to be the first Arab country to participate in TALIS and are confident that this initiative will further improve the councils strategic planning in teaching and learning. I am grateful to all the public and private school teachers who participated in the project since feedback from teachers and school leaders will definitely help provide constructive educational input and analysis," she said.
The international target population for TALIS is composed of lower secondary teachers and their school leaders in mainstream public and private schools. In each country, a representative sample of 20 teachers and their school principals from across 200 schools were randomly selected for the study.
Approximately 106,000 lower secondary teachers responded to the survey, representing more than 4 million teachers in more than 30 participating countries and economies.
Professor Masood Badri, the Head of Research in ADEC, elaborated that recruiting, retaining and developing teachers is a priority in school systems worldwide. TALIS examines the ways in which a teachers' work is recognised, appraised and rewarded, while assessing the degree to which a teachers' professional-development needs is being met.
The study provides insights into the beliefs and attitudes about teaching that teachers bring to the classroom and the pedagogical practices that they adopt, while recognising the important role that school leadership plays in fostering an effective teaching and learning environment, TALIS describes the role of school leaders and examines the support they give their teachers, as well as examines the extent to which certain factors may relate to teachers' job satisfaction and self-efficacy.
Dr. Al Qubaisi stressed that such insights are necessary in order to obtain data to support decision-making, as well as set effective targets for improvement. "These benchmarks will support ADEC in responding to national or international performance indicators through setting new standards if deemed necessary." Professor Badri re-affirmed that reverting to OECD benchmarking will help strengthen the institutions ability to self-assess its performance, better understand the processes which support strategy formulation; measure and compare with other institutions or organisations, assess reasons for any differences, as well as encourage new ideas that are strategically suitable both inside and outside the institution.
TALIS was conducted in mid-2013, but the results were announced in June 2014 in Tokyo. A conceptual framework for TALIS was developed by subject-matter experts, the international research consortium and the OECD to steer the development of the TALIS instruments. The framework is based on the concept of effective teaching and learning conditions.
The framework is available on the TALIS website, along with all TALIS publications and the international database.
"Taking part in the TALIS 2014 is a huge accomplishment for us on a national and international level. We are certain that through creative benchmarking, there will be ongoing improvements evident in the overall performance of schools. Benchmarking is a key management tool that identifies best practices and learning's that we will gladly learn from. ADEC is already preparing for the next TALIS 2018," concluded Dr. Al Qubaisi.