I’ve attended two very different conferences in the past week at the IOE that have highlighted trust and teachers.
- On the 29th March, the IOE hosted In teachers we trust: explaining the Finnish miracle with the Finnish Institute in London, University of Helsinki and Embassy of Finland, London.
- On the 30th March, the IOE held the annual Teaching and Learning Conference with keynote speakers and a range of workshops aimed at supporting learning.
Coincidentally, in both conferences, two different speakers mentioned surveys that listed teaching as one of the most trusted professions. Robert Behrens in his keynote address at the Teaching and Learning event, noted teaching as a high trust profession in this talk: ‘Why independent adjudication of student complaints enhances trust in university learning and teaching’.
In a very different take on trust, the Finnish conference highlighted trust in teachers as the foundation of Finnish education success. While only 10% of teaching applicants are accepted into the five year teaching programmes in Finland, once trainees become teachers, they experience a great deal more autonomy and a lot less monitoring and measurement compared to teachers in the UK. Other Finnish contrasts are a lean curriculum, no inspections, no teacher probation, no setting, no streaming, minimal homework and few exams. In sum, Finnish teachers are trained well, and as the theme of the conference stressed, they are then trusted to do their jobs—a simple idea that seems to work in Finland— but can it travel?