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Jim Wynn: The Importance of TALIS

An interview with Jim Wynn, Promethean’s Chief Education Officer

Ken Royal: “Jim Wynn in your role as Chief Education Officer at Promethean you travel the globe sharing, presenting, and working towards action in education change. Jim, you’ve been a head teacher of two secondary schools in the UK, in which you pioneered the use of ICT, and you are for lack of a better phrase—the father of the very successful Education Fast Forward Debates (EFF Debates). I can’t think of a better person to ask about TALIS. I hope you don’t mind putting on that teaching cap, again, to help us understand what TALIS is and what it means for educators.”

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Jim Wynn

Jim Wynn: “Ken, first of all, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, OECD, Teaching and Learning International Survey (TALIS) is a large-scale survey that focuses on the working conditions of teachers and the learning environment in schools. It is an opportunity for teachers and school leaders to provide education input. That’s a quick summary, so I suggest going to the OECD site to learn more.”

Ken Royal: “Jim, there are many surveys out there. Should we place special importance on TALIS?”

Jim Wynn: “TALIS is a critical survey, as it is the only global piece of work which is used to help governments review and write policies for developing their teachers, and therefore, the whole teaching workforce. Since the effectiveness of learning is more dependent on the quality of teachers, you could argue that TALIS is the most important survey bar none.”

Ken Royal: “Jim, for those of us, who are learning about TALIS from you, can you tell us a bit more of what the survey seeks to discover?”

Jim Wynn: “TALIS looks at many aspects of teaching, from leadership, to professional development, to the teaching and learning environment. It looks at the state of these across 34 countries, and hundreds of teachers in each country. It’s a big survey that can give us a real picture of what is going on in classrooms today.”

Ken Royal: “Jim, you’ve been an advocate of educators most of your life. This seems more than just another survey to you.”

Jim Wynn: “Ken, I’ve often thought that we don’t do enough to help teachers on their personal professional journey, and we don’t do enough to help teachers assess where they are—themselves. You can’t do this unless you know how you measure up against other teachers, and TALIS provides a benchmark to help this process.”

Ken Royal: “Why should teachers be interested in TALIS, and what can they learn from it?”

Jim Wynn: I think that all teachers have to be interested in TALIS, so they can see how their job as an educator compares to what other teachers are saying about their role in other countries. Teaching is a profession that, in the past, was something done behind the classroom door, but increasingly teacher communities are opening up. Ideas and good practices are being shared. TALIS is part of that process, and all teachers should find that of interest.

Ken Royal: “Jim, as a former teacher, I know that I compared myself with others in my school and district, but never in a formal or public way.”

Jim Wynn: “Educators should see TALIS in a positive way, because its outcome is so education and learning positive. It is there to help move us forward, and we need to know more of what is happening. It is the most important thing to do, because we need to know how to direct our efforts to help develop the teaching profession. I look at it as more than improving; it is really developing the profession, and should be seen that way.”

Discover more on TALIS here: (www.oecd.org/talis) #OECDTALIS

Learn more about Education Fast Forward Debates here: (http://www.effdebate.org/)

Ken Royal

Ken Royal

About the Author:

Ken Royal is an educator with 34 years of classroom/school and instructional technology experience, as well as a blogger on all things education technology. Teaching accomplishments include: 4-time district teacher of the year, Connecticut Middle School Teacher of the Year, as well as Bill and Melinda Gates award for Technology School of Excellence. He is a Promethean storyteller. Follow @KenRoyal on Twitter.

Ken Royal

Ken Royal is an educator with 34 years of classroom/school and instructional technology teaching experience, as well as a blogger on all things education and education technology. Teaching accomplishments include: 4-time district teacher of the year, Connecticut Middle School Teacher of the Year, as well as Bill and Melinda Gates award for Technology School of Excellence. He is an Education storyteller. Follow @KenRoyal on Twitter.
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