Editorial: Good Teachers are always Learning

Research output: Contribution to JournalEditorial


In launching a 2020 policy brief, the United Nations Secretary-General asserted that ‘Education is the key to personal development and the future of societies…As the world faces unsustainable levels of inequality, we need education – the great equalizer – more than ever’ (Guterres, 2020). UNESCO (2021) regards teachers as ‘…one of the most influential and powerful forces for equity, access and quality in education and key to sustainable global development.’ Equally, Wasmuth and Nitecki (2020: 697) suggest that parents’ experiences of attempting to introduce formal education into the home during the pandemic have led to wider recognition ‘that teachers cannot be easily replaced by unqualified people’. Yet while high quality education is dependent on high quality teachers (Barber and Mourshed, 2007), teacher supply is insufficient globally. 69 million more teachers are needed for the World to have any chance of securing the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 4 to ‘Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all’ (United Nations (UN), 2021; UNESCO, 2021). UNESCO (2021) acknowledges that teachers’ training, recruitment, retention, status and working conditions remain poor in many countries across the World and there is there is a worldwide shortage of well-trained teachers, not least due to teacher attrition which stands at around 14% on average in OECD countries (Carver-Thomas and Darling-Hammond, 2019; Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), 2018a; Zhu, Rice, Rivera, Mena and Van Der Want, 2020). These issues are even worse among early childhood teachers (Bassok, Markowitz, Bellows and Sadowski, 2021; Menon and Brackin, 2021). Paucity of good quality professional development for teachers has been identified as one reason for teacher attrition (Mayer et al., 2017; Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), 2020). Four decades ago, this point had already been appreciated: the motto of the higher education institution in England where I studied for my initial teacher education degree was ‘Disce ut Doceas’, or ‘learn in order to teach’. As a lifelong teacher, I have never stopped learning. In this article, I address three questions - ‘What makes a good teacher?’, ‘Why should teachers be learners?’, and ‘How can teachers keep learning throughout their careers?’ to argue that good teachers are always learning.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)229-235
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Journal of Early Years Education
Issue number3
Early online date27 Aug 2021
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 27 Aug 2021


  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Education


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