One in four teachers never use digital tools in the classroom

The Camilo José Cela University Chair of Educational Policies, headed by Francisco López Rupérez, has released the conclusions of the study El profesorado a la luz de PISA 2018   Algunas implicaciones para la política educativa española  (Teachers in light of the 2018 PISA report, some implications for Spanish education policy) which addresses the scope of policies focused on teachers, and analyses aspects such as training, teaching skills or the degree of satisfaction with their job on an empirical basis.

The study concludes that secondary school teachers, in their own words, have insufficient initial and ongoing training, which is, in addition, not sufficiently aligned with factors critical to student performance, such as student behaviour and classroom management, individual learning approaches or use of assessment. They also believe that they are not provided with 21st century skills, such as ICT skills applied to teaching, teaching in a multicultural or multilingual environment, or teaching transversal skills, for example. “Teachers usually choose the contents of their ongoing training, so this lack of alignment between recognised needs and the training received is not attributable only to educational administrations”, pointed out the lead researcher, López Rupérez.

In general terms, one in four teachers never use digital tools, and this percentage increases depending on the complexity of the tool to exceed 40% for the most difficult ones.

The study also saw that schools that do not have policies for the use of technology in teaching tend to suffer from poor use of digital tools by teachers with their students. The study highlights in its conclusions that there are no policies to promote a greater and better use of digital tools in socially disadvantaged school classrooms.

On the other hand, secondary school teachers in Spain are very satisfied with their work and their profession.

Recommendations

The study urges a reform of the way teachers train “with the features common to the models adopted by high-performance educational systems or the health sector.” In addition, it encourages aligning teacher training with 21st century skills, in order to improve student learning in the use of digital tools.

The study also recommends the development of a professional career model that is complementary and consistent with the system of access. “In this way, the teaching profession would be more attractive for talented people and their knowledge and teaching experience would be used to strengthen the profession,” López Rupérez stressed.

Regarding the autonomous communities, the study recommends carrying out an accurate diagnosis of training needs, with an ongoing training offer aligned with the needs of teachers and the educational system and paying special attention to those teachers who teach at socially disadvantaged schools. In addition, it encourages stimulating and supporting schools to define policies for the use of digital devices in teaching.

The director of the Chair on Educational Policies at UCJC recalled in his presentation that the OECD warns that “high-performance systems do not enjoy a natural privilege simply due to their traditional respect for teachers but have been able to build a high-quality faculty as a result of deliberately choosing policies that they have carefully implemented over time.”