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World Teachers' Day: supporting our global teaching community

At Cambridge University Press & Assessment, pedagogy is at the heart of much of what we do. We are passionate about helping some of the 80+ million teachers around the world provide high quality education to millions of learners.

Teachers gathered together looking at a laptop

According to World Bank data, there are already between 80 and 90 million teachers in the world. That’s the same number of people as everyone living in Germany, Iran, or the Democratic Republic of Congo. However, figures released for World Teachers' Day by UNESCO estimates another 69 million teachers are needed worldwide to achieve universal education – which is roughly the population of the United Kingdom or Thailand.

This World Teachers' Day we join others in celebrating the achievements of the teaching profession worldwide. As well as looking at teachers’ role in education recovery after the coronavirus pandemic this year, and calling for more teachers, the event is highlighting the need for teachers to get decent pay and working hours as well as career development opportunities.

The day was established in 1994 by the UN to commemorate a set of recommendations for teachers ratified by the International Labour Organisation, which promotes workers’ rights, and the UN culture and heritage organisation, UNESCO. The recommendations, laid down in 1966, continue to set standards such as the rights and responsibilities of teachers as well as teaching and learning conditions.

At Cambridge University Press & Assessment, pedagogy is at the heart of much of what we do. We are passionate about helping some of the 80+ million teachers around the world provide high quality education to millions of learners. We offer a wide range of opportunities to support the development of teachers as well as teaching tools to use in the classroom.

 “To be worthwhile, teacher development needs to have an impact on teaching and learning,” says our professional learning and development manager, Matthew Ellman, who works in our English Language Teaching team. As a winner of the prestigious ELTons for his research into teacher development, he is speaking at a global event to mark World Teachers Day on 6 October organised by the British Council and the BBC.

Matt’s job, which involves designing and delivering training for teachers, institutions and Ministries of Education around the world, is one of thousands at Cambridge University Press & Assessment dedicated to developing and supporting teaching professionals. As well as being not-for-profit, our work in learning and assessment is backed by the University of Cambridge.

The global events of the past two years underline why we provide integral support to our teachers. The global pandemic created a set of challenges teachers had never faced before and the way in which teachers kept education going is inspiring. We also found new ways of supporting teachers work.

Our Cambridge Assessment English team created a special range of free support for teachers which included webinars for teaching English online, guidance on socially distanced classrooms, mixed ability classes and how to give emotional support for students. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge Assessment International Education and Cambridge Centre for Evaluation and Monitoring (CEM) also created and compiled a useful and varied number of resourcesfor teachers to ensure education continued throughout the pandemic, by assisting with remote teaching and the return to the classroom. Many more English teachers visited our World of Better Learningblog. So far it’s amassed nearly five million visitors and almost 10 million page views, offering immediate support on how to tackle the unanticipated new normal of online learning. Updated daily, the blog contains classroom activities, downloadable resources, insights and advice from a plethora of ELT (English language teaching) experts around the world – all of which is free and available at teachers’ fingertips.

In the last twelve months teacher support has moved from Covid response to developing exam support resources to help rebuild confidence for learners who are ready for exams. New resources include a mock test toolkit, guides to help teachers understand how to assess writing and develop reading and listening skills at different CEFR levels, and guides to helping learners with dyslexia prepare for the exams. 

Our teams have also carried on delivering a wide range of support for the professional development of teaching and assessment professionals.

Key to the professional development of our teachers and other professionals that work within exams and assessment is the Cambridge Assessment NetworkProfessional development for these individuals is supported through a large variety of online courses, workshops and bespoke training, all of which are CPD (Continuing Professional Development) accredited. These learning tools are essential to ensuring teachers and assessment professionals are kept up to date with the latest methodologies and tools.

Cambridge Assessment English has a diverse range of resources to support teaching communities all over the world. These are designed to help teachers develop their professional skills and to make learning an enjoyable and motivating experience for students at every stage of their English language learning journey. Resources include free lesson plans, webinars, handbooks, vocabulary lists and sample papers. Cambridge Assessment English also has speaking test example videos that teachers can show to students to familiarise them with the tests.

Our UK exam board, OCR is committed to providing high quality and accessible subject-specific support to teachers every year via its specialist subject advisors and customer support team. Whether it’s professional development courses, teacher networks, Q&A sessions, blogs or all the resources on its qualification pages, these help teachers do a great job in the classroom. OCR also works hard to thank teachers for inspiring in the classroom and the hard work and dedication to helping students progress during a pandemic.

Professional development opportunities from our global exam board, Cambridge Assessment International Education, are designed to help teachers in a variety of educational contexts improve their performance and practice – and therefore improve student outcomes – throughout their careers. The team offers Cambridge Professional Development Qualifications (Cambridge PDQs) which provide professional learning for practising teachers and leaders and their schools. Cambridge PDQs support school based professional development and enhance professional thinking and practice to improve the quality of learning and a wide range of additional professional development courses for teachers, events and workshops every year.

An example of the sort of large scale change our Cambridge Partnership for Education team can deliver is The Falaj Projectin Oman. Our team, who work with governments around the world to offer innovative support and expertise in education reform, is working with the Ministry of Education in Oman and Google for Education on a range of things, which include high quality teacher training. The project team works incredibly hard to understand the experiences of teachers and teacher trainers in Oman and workshops are frequently held to enable teachers, trainers and experts from around the world to come together to discuss planning online and hybrid lessons, using learning content from Cambridge Partnership for Education delivered through Google Classroom and other tools from the G Suite for Education. 

Another example is the Cambridge Professional Development Programme launched recently by our Cambridge University Press team specifically to support teachers in India. The programme is a self-led online course of eight areas that are fundamental to successful teaching and learning. The programme features real-life examples, videos, guides, and it provides plenty of feedback and assessment for those taking part.

At our teacher training and continuous professional development meeting Global Online Learning Alliance, participants shared experiences, policies of their governments, and made recommendations where appropriate. 

We work hard to bring teachers from all over the world together. We have set up the Teaching Panel, an exclusive community of educators from around the world, which gives members the opportunity to share ideas and to reflect on teaching practices. As well as this, we hold the annual global Dedicated Teacher Award, which celebrates and recognises the great work that teachers do.  The next Dedicated Teacher Award will take place in 2022.

We are committed and passionate about continuing to support the professional development of teachers as learning and education continues to evolve around the globe.

How have professional development opportunities helped your career? Let us know by tweeting us at @CambPressAssess