Teachers a precious resource, say Kiwis

Most New Zealanders believe that the quality of teaching staff is significantly more important than class sizes, resources or management in determining education outcomes of our children, according to a new study.

The survey, conducted by Warehouse Stationery, explored New Zealanders’ perceptions of the teaching profession and found that most, seven out of ten, believe that  teachers are the most important factor in ensuring a high standard of education in our schools.

Respondents considered class size to be the next most important factor, 14 per cent, and then the school’s facilities and funding, at twelve per cent. Only six per cent said the management of the board of trustees was the most important aspect in education outcomes.

The emphasis on quality teaching reflects the results of a landmark study by educationalist Professor John Hattie who says that excellence in teaching is the single most important influence on achievement, and stresses the need to identify and encourage excellence in the profession.

Teachers who went beyond the call of duty were recognised by survey respondents, with 60 per cent noting that they or their child had a teacher who volunteered to support students in sports and other extracurricular activities. And 51 per cent said a teacher had inspired them in their career or education choices. 

Despite their dedication to the role, New Zealanders felt teachers were not given enough recognition for their hard work with 80 per cent those surveyed saying they felt teachers were “unappreciated”, and a further 86 per cent saying that teachers had a much harder job today than their predecessors.

Spokesman for Warehouse Stationery, Pejman Okhovat, says the research shows clearly that Kiwis understand the value of teachers in our community and the significant role they play in the education system.

“Kiwis recognise the challenging role of teaching in our society. We have few opportunities to publicly acknowledge the contribution teachers make to our lives, whether it’s their creative approach to learning in the classroom, the out-of-hours work they do to organise sporting or cultural events, or the support they give to families and parents of their pupils,” says Mr Okhovat.

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