How important is it for elementary school teachers to have both deep content knowledge and a profound understanding of how students learn that content? According to CIEB’s latest report, Not So Elementary: Primary School Teacher Quality in Top-Performing Systems, the two qualities are critical to teaching effectively in elementary school.

Lead author Ben Jensen of Australia’s Learning First found that top-performing systems thoroughly recognize this reality. What’s more, these top performers have built entire systems of teacher selection, initial teacher education, course specialization, professional development and collaborative teams focused on continuous improvement of lessons to ensure teachers possess both deep understanding of the underlying principles of their subjects as well as how students learn, and, just as importantly, may struggle to learn, that content.

For the report’s public release, Jensen joined NCEE President Marc Tucker, CIEB Director Betsy Brown Ruzzi and a panel of experts including Stanford’s Lee Shulman, Educational Testing Services’ Gary Sykes and the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education’s Sharon Robinson for a webinar discussion on the report’s findings and what lessons can be learned for U.S. policymakers. View the video below and read the report and an accompanying policy brief at CIEB’s website.

Not So Elementary – A Report Release Webinar from The Center on International Education Benchmarking at NCEE from NCEE on Vimeo.