Five studies that prove just how vital teachers are
“Teachers, I believe, are the most responsible and important members of society because their professional efforts affect the fate of the Earth.”
Helen Caldicott, Physician and Author
Whenever we ask our scientists who their influencers were when they were a wee lass or lad – who inspired them to do what they do now – the majority of them name a teacher. Every year since 1994, almost 25 years ago, October 5th has marked World Teachers’ Day – and the idea is to “celebrate the teaching profession worldwide, to take stock of achievements, and to address some of the issues central for attracting and keeping the brightest minds and young talents in the profession”.
Here, at Futurum, we worship teachers. And, to show our appreciation, we have gathered a few interesting, evidence-based facts about this wonderful, time-honoured profession.
1) “Respecting teachers isn’t only an important moral duty – it’s essential for a country’s educational outcomes,” says Sunny Varkey, Founder of the Varkey Foundation, which published the Global Teacher Status Index 2018 (GTSI 2018), along with the National Institute of Economic and Social Research, University of Malaga, University of Kent and the University of Sussex.
• Indeed, the data suggests that there is a correlation between the status accorded to teachers (through GTSI 2018) and student outcomes in their country.
• GTSI 2018 found that China, Malaysia, Taiwan, Russia and Indonesia respect their teachers the most compared to other countries worldwide.
2) A study by Eric Hanushek, Stanford University, suggests that teachers – including those that are average at their job – have a huge impact of a child’s economic status later in life. For example, “a good but not great teacher […] will produce an increase of $10,600 on each student’s lifetime earnings”.
3) Studies have found that exposure to same-race teachers improves outcomes for minority students. “One black elementary school teacher decreases the probability that a disadvantaged black male student will drop out of high school by almost 40 percent,” writes Amanda Waldron for the Brookings Institution, a US non-profit public policy organisation.
4) A recent study by Ahmad A El-Emadi has found that in Qatar’s gender-segregated public schools, female students outperform male students in international science tests such as PISA and TIMMS. And yet, female students in Qatar are less interested in science-based careers. The research suggests that one reason for this is differences in teaching styles between male and female teachers: “Female teachers provided better delivery during theory classes, whereas male teachers demonstrated better performance in laboratory-based classes.”
• “If you educate a man, you educate an individual. But if you educate a woman, you educate a nation.” This African proverb has been attributed to the Ghanaian scholar Dr James Emmanuel Kwegyir-Aggrey (1875-1927).
5) “Ninth-grade teachers who improved their students’ noncognitive skills – which include motivation and the ability to adapt to new situations, as well as self-regulation – had important impacts on those students: They were more likely to have higher attendance and grades and to graduate than their peers.” This is according to another recent study published by Kirabo Jackson, an economics professor at Northwestern University, USA.