Poland Report of Educator Effectiveness

Continuing Education Reforms

Decades of research make it clear: teachers make a difference in student learning. A Stanford University economist, Eric Hanushek, has found that the difference between a good and a bad teacher can mean a full level of achievement in a single school year. To improve educational outcomes and equity, countries must focus on effectiveness of their teachers.

There have been large gains in student achievement over the past decade in Poland, but students are still behind many of their international peers in the skills needed for participating in a global economy.

What does it mean to be an effective teacher? Pearson asked students, parents, teachers, principals, policymakers and education researchers across Poland what they thought.

Top 10 most important qualities of teachers in Poland:

  1. Ability to Develop Trusting, Productive Relationships
  2. Patient, Caring, Kind Personality
  3. Professionalism
  4. Subject Matter Knowledge
  5. Teaching Skills/Pedagogical Practices
  6. Engaging Students in Learning
  7. Knowledge of Learners
  8. Classroom Management
  9. Ability to Make Ideas and Content Clear
  10. Dedication to Teaching

Poland Stakeholders Share Values: Character and Care

We expected responses to different based on stakeholder characteristics. But, seven of the top 10 most frequent responses were shared across groups.

The categories of qualities mentioned most often across the entire sample reflect how strongly education stakeholders in Poland value dispositions of relatedness, responsiveness, and character in their teachers. Research supports the link between these dispositions, teacher effectiveness, and learner outcomes.

What surprised us is that few education professionals, like teachers, principals and researchers, cited factors that are well known to make teachers effective. For example, we thought we would see more mention of the importance of integrating technology for learning, yet less than one percent of educators’ responses referred to this competency.

Sparking Discussions to Close the Gaps

With Poland’s focus and resulting gains in learner outcomes in recent years, these survey findings can help close the gaps in student achievement.

The emphasis of education stakeholders on the ability of teachers to build productive, trusting relationships and serve as a mentor with students, suggests important areas for teacher preparation, professional growth, and evaluation.