Get to know » Teachers:

Conclusions for teachers

Get to know » Conclusions

Teachers from PILNA 2021 provided a wide range of data about their circumstances, their teaching experiences, and their students. These include teachers’ confidence in teaching numeracy and literacy, their job satisfaction, and their well-being, as well as their perceptions of the availability of resources and their students’ learning difficulties. The analyses presented are presented through the student focus, i.e. the potential impact of teachers’ circumstances, beliefs, and attitudes on student performance and attitudes to numeracy and literacy.

Most of the students have a teacher confident in teaching numeracy (71–94%) and literacy (71–96%). A smaller proportion of students had teachers who were confident in teaching the quality of ideas in writing, organisation and structure in writing, measurement and geometry, and fractions and percentages.

A very high proportion of students had teachers who were generally highly satisfied and proud of their work but were less frequently content with their salaries. Despite teachers reporting confidence and general satisfaction with their work, they were experiencing high rates of challenges to their well-being. A high proportion of students had teachers who frequently experienced stress (68%) and feelings of being overwhelmed by their job (60%).

Teachers reported that many of their students experienced behavioural and psychological challenges. About one in every four students was described as having either behavioural issues, difficulty focusing attention and concentrating, reading impaired or lacking basic knowledge (skills).

Teachers’ reports of student difficulties were compared to students’ reports of these difficulties, where appropriate. Students also identified difficulties in concentrating and controlling behaviour. This suggests that these issues are quite common in the student body and that teachers’ assessments of physiological issues are aligned with those of students.

Two areas emerged as possible challenges: textbook access and the time available for slow learners. The results from the teacher questionnaire paint the teaching profession in a positive light. Teachers have a great sense of pride in their occupation, are aware of some of the challenges facing students from reaching their full potential and are confident in what they do. While most appear to have the resources they need, there are issues with teachers’ well-being. Finding ways to support teachers to have a more positive mindset and not be overwhelmed by the demands of the job can only be positive for improving teaching and learning outcomes.