What they did not tell you about the Teaching and Learning International Survey (TALIS)

By Ben Liu / Image credit – Todayonline

The Teaching and Learning International Survey (TALIS) results were reported on 26th June. Most of the countries that took part were comparable to that of Singapore.

Making headlines were teachers working 48-hour weeks, 10 hours above the TALIS average of 38 hours.

Also reported, 88% were satisfied with their jobs and 82% would still choose to be teachers if given a choice to decide on a career again.

Ms Ho Peng (Director-General of Education) commented that the key success of Singapore’s education is in the quality of our teachers. TALIS statistics show that good practices are in place comparative to the other countries.

Example of such practices from the TALIS report but not reported in the news

(a) Practicum: 83% of Singaporean teachers have undergone a practicum before becoming full-fledged teachers. (TALIS average 63%).
(b) Induction: 99% of all new teachers attend formal induction programmes. (TALIS average 44%).
(c) Mentorship: About 40% of teachers have assigned mentors. (TALIS average of 13%).

It is also good to hear how Mr Wong Siew Hoong (Deputy DGE) will look into work-life balance and additional support for teachers. 

The confusing part 

Why are there still many complains from the teaching fraternity? Many parents and teachers have responded to “Local School Teacher and Mother: Singapore Education System is a Failure” published on The Real Singapore on 22 June. Most of their responses agreed with the article although not many could give suggestions for improvement.

How do we reconcile the positive statistics with the constant complaints about how our education system needs improving?

Therein lies the other statistics in the TALIS results not reported in the news and some possible implications based on my experience in school.

The statistics that are not delved into, or not reported.

  1. Singapore has the youngest teaching work force. Why is this so and what are the implications?
  2. Average 10 years of teaching experience (TALIS average 16 years).
  3. Part-time teaching force 4% (TALIS average 18%).
  4. Singapore classrooms have an average of 36 students. (TALIS average 24 students).
  5. Not Reported: 81% of teachers work in a collaborative culture, however only 36% of principals work collaboratively with other principals (TALIS average 62%).
  6. Not Reported: 46% wondered about “better” professions (TALIS average 32%).
  7. Not Reported: Almost 70% feel that teaching is a valued profession in Singapore (TALIS average 31%).
  8. Not Reported: Principals in Singapore generally work in schools almost double the size of the TALIS average. Local schools average at 1,251 students and 91 teachers (TALIS average at 546 students with 45 teachers).

What can this mean? 

Read the full article here