Saudi Arabia Report of Educator Effectiveness

Investing in Education, Investing in Economic Growth

Decades of research make it clear: teachers make a difference in student learning. Stanford University economist Eric Hanushek has found that the difference between a good and a bad teacher can be a full level of achievement in a single school year.

The Saudi Government has made large investments into education, with the goal of creating a diversified, globally orientated economy. Creating effective, highly trained educators is high on the Government's agenda, with a number of teacher training initiatives underway.

Under more public and policy scrutiny, teachers in the Middle East have been pushed into the spotlight. This is because studies indicate that to achieve a high quality education system, the focus has to be on developing a strong teacher workforce.

What does it mean to be an effective teacher? By whose definition? Pearson asked students, parents, teachers, principals, policymakers and education researchers in Saudi Arabia what they thought.

Top 10 most important qualities of teachers in Saudi Arabia:

  1. Ability to develop trusting, compassionate relationships with students
  2. Ability to engage students in learning
  3. Subject matter knowledge
  4. Teaching skills
  5. Patient, caring, kind personality
  6. Professionalism
  7. Ability to make ideas and content clear
  8. Knowledge of learners
  9. Dedication to teaching
  10. Intelligence

Relationships Drive Great Teaching

All stakeholder groups agreed: effective teachers build trusting relationships and can relate well to students. The importance of these dispositions may reflect an underlying belief that without them, a teacher’s subject matter knowledge and pedagogical skills will do little to help students learn and succeed.

However, there were notable gaps between responses from education professionals—teachers, principals, and researchers— and what the research says makes an effective teacher. For example, less than one percent said that effective teachers engaged in lesson planning, and less than one percent addressed making learning challenging and rigorous for all students.

Common Understanding of Teacher Effectiveness

We recommend that the results of this survey be used to inform and guide the definition of what it means to be an effective teacher in the teaching and learning culture in Saudi Arabia. Specifically, the results can inform discussions about teacher preparation, hiring, training, and evaluation, particularly in light of documented issues in Saudi Arabia’s education system.