A significant body of research has shown that the support learners receive from teachers is the most important predictor of school engagement. This strong relationship has been found for social, emotional and behaviour well-being and attitudes. Teachers are increasingly expected to become facilitators of learning. By motivating, guiding and continuously supporting all learners, teachers can help learners to become the masters of their own learning. This requires that teachers develop a powerful and trust-based relationship with learners and their parents.
Teachers’ skills and competences, which can only be achieved through excellent teacher professionalization, are also vital. These conditions support the development of positive classroom and school climates. Learning is more likely to be relevant and engaging. Teacher well-being may also be enhanced.
Teachers have daily contact with learners and therefore may detect at a very early stage whether learners are disengaged and/or have any learning difficulties, and thus they can take quick action to address the learner’s situation. Teachers may also help detect factors that contribute to a poor school climate and areas where more professional support is needed.
Recent studies have highlighted the benefits of collaboration among teachers and other professionals. Teachers in schools with collaborative cultures characterised by mutual support of their peers and with the school leader and opportunities to actively participate in school decisions, report higher levels of job satisfaction. Collaborative practice supports professional development and contributes to school cultures based on shared aims, motivations, responsibilities and values.
Teachers deepen their professional judgement over time, but they also need to develop new skills and competences on an ongoing going basis through continuous professional development (CPD). Initial teacher education (ITE) may also need to be updated to include new approaches.
Teachers may need additional support. For example, mentoring for new teachers, counselling and emotional support, more time and space for teamwork and informal exchanges among teachers, networking with peers in other schools, support in managing stress and conflict are all vital. These aspects are particularly important for teachers working in more demanding contexts, such as schools with high levels of educational disadvantage or very heterogeneous groups of learners.
Find out more:
European Commission, Strengthening teaching in Europe: New evidence from teachers compiled by Eurydice and CRELL, June 2015, Office for Official Publications of the European Communities, Luxembourg, 2015.
European Commission/EACEA/Eurydice, The Teaching Profession in Europe: Practices, Perceptions and Policies, Publications Office of the European Union, Luxembourg, 2015.
RESL.eu - Reducing Early School Leaving in Europe, EU project funded by the 7th Framework programme, project papers
Day, L, Mozuraityte, N, Redgrave, K, McCoshan, A., Preventing early school leaving in Europe: Lessons learned from second chance education, Office for Official Publications of the European Communities, Luxembourg, 2013
European Commission, Schools policy: A whole school approach to tackling early school leaving, Education & Training 2020, European Commission, Brussels, 2015
McHugh, R, Horner, C, Colditz, J, Wallace, T., 'Bridges and Barriers: Adolescent Perceptions of Student-Teacher Relationships', Urban Education, Vol. 48, No. 1, 2012, pp. 9–43. doi:10.1177/0042085912451585
Nairz-Wirth, E,, Feldmann, K., Diexer, B., Handlungsempfehlungen für Lehrende, Schulleitung und Eltern zur erfolgreichen Prävention von Schulabsentismus und Schulabbruch. Aufbruch zu einer neuen Schulkultur, Vienna University of Economics and Business. Vienna, 2012
Nouwen, W., Clycq, N., Braspenningx, M., and Timmerman, C., Cross-case Analyses of School-based Prevention and Intervention Measures, Project Paper 6, RESl.eu Project, Centre for Migration and Intercultural Studies, University of Antwerp, 2016