Three Ideas, Backed by Half a Million Data Points, to Improve Teaching

Why do people become teachers and how do we attract the best teachers to the profession? 

If we want to get serious about improving the quality of education globally, we need to improve the quality of teachers in the classroom. 

In order to do this we need to answer the following question: Why do people become teachers and how do we attract the best teachers to the profession? 

While we study and test just about everything in education these days, it turns out that a comprehensive global study has never been conducted to understand global teacher capacity and how to improve the quality of teachers in the classroom.

That's where Vikas Pota and The Varkey GEMS Foundation have stepped in, compiling the world’s first comprehensive attempt to compare the status of teachers across the world.

You can read the Global Teacher Status index here, and get involved in the conversation on Twitter using #TeacherIndex @VarkeyGEMS as well as on Facebook here. But first, please watch the video below in which Pota points to three key takeaways from the study. These are:

Teacher Compensation

The study found that "there's worldwide consensus that teachers should be paid more," Pota says. Moreover, "the vast majority of people that we polled said that actually performance-related pay should factor into teacher salary."  

The Social Status of Teachers

Pota points out that in Europe teachers tended to be equated with social workers and librarians in terms of status. In China, on the other hand, teachers tend to be equated with doctors. 

Respect for Teachers

While there is a high level of pessimism in regard to the way students perceive teachers around the world, in China the perception is that students have great respect for teachers. 

In the video below, Pota explains the significance of measuring teacher status, given that "only after you measure it will you be able to actually improve it." 

Watch here:

Image courtesy of Shutterstock

Russia sends humanoid robot to space, fails to dock with ISS

The Russian-built FEDOR was launched on a mission to help ISS astronauts.

Photos by TASS\TASS via Getty Images
Technology & Innovation
  • Russia launched a spacecraft carrying FEDOR, a humanoid robot.
  • Its mission is to help astronauts aboard the International Space Station.
  • Such androids can eventually help with dangerous missions likes spacewalks.
Keep reading Show less

Human extinction! Don't panic; think about it like a philosopher.

Most people think human extinction would be bad. These people aren't philosophers.

Politics & Current Affairs
  • A new opinion piece in The New York Times argues that humanity is so horrible to other forms of life that our extinction wouldn't be all that bad, morally speaking.
  • The author, Dr. Todd May, is a philosopher who is known for advising the writers of The Good Place.
  • The idea of human extinction is a big one, with lots of disagreement on its moral value.
Keep reading Show less

this incredibly rich machinery – with Antonio Damasio

Picking up where we left off a year ago, a conversation about the homeostatic imperative as it plays out in everything from bacteria to pharmaceutical companies—and how the marvelous apparatus of the human mind also gets us into all kinds of trouble.

Think Again Podcasts
  • "Prior to nervous systems: no mind, no consciousness, no intention in the full sense of the term. After nervous systems, gradually we ascend to this possibility of having to this possibility of having minds, having consciousness, and having reasoning that allows us to arrive at some of these very interesting decisions."
  • "We are fragile culturally and socially…but life is fragile to begin with. All that it takes is a little bit of bad luck in the management of those supports, and you're cooked…you can actually be cooked—with global warming!"

Keep reading Show less