South Africa Report of Educator Effectiveness

Growing Economic Stability Through Education Quality

Studies in developing nations indicate that no country has ever achieved continuous and rapid growth without at least a 40% adult literacy rate. There is a strong connection between a country’s future economic growth and the quality of its education system.

South Africa has focused on improving its education system, and invests seven percent of its GDP in education. But, it faces challenges such as teacher absenteeism, student poverty and poor learner performance.

To have an effective teacher in every classroom, South Africa must first define what that means.

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

Top 10 most important qualities of teachers in South Africa:

  1. Patient, Caring, Kind Personality
  2. Dedication to Teaching
  3. Professionalism
  4. Ability to Develop Trusting, Productive Relationships
  5. Ability to Make Ideas and Content Clear
  6. Subject Matter Knowledge
  7. Classroom Management
  8. Knowledge of Learners
  9. Intelligence
  10. Lesson Planning

Important for Teachers to be Kind and Dedicated

It is surprising that the survey responses were so consistent. All stakeholders endorsed the importance of teachers being patient, caring, being dedicated to teaching and to students’ success; behaving professionally; and developing trusting, productive relationships with students.

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, only four percent responded that teachers having subject matter expertise was important, and just two percent noted that teaching skills were important.

Building a Common Definition 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 of South Africa. Specifically, the results can inform discussions about teacher preparation, hiring, training, and evaluation in South Africa, particularly in light of documented issues in the education system.