Insights for Teachers: How teachers and principals of Year 7-10 students use their time

Publication Details

This is the second 'Insights for Teachers' focusing on TALIS.

In this 'Insights for Teachers' we report on the activities of New Zealand teachers and principals, and the high levels of job satisfaction they reported in the OECD Teaching and Learning International Survey (TALIS).

TALIS asked Year 7-10 teachers how they spent their time for a randomly chosen Year 7-10 class from their current timetable and how much work time they spent on various activities in a recent week. Their principals were asked about how they divided their time over a school year.

Author(s): Chris Cockerill, Debra Taylor and Nicola Marshall, Evidence, Data and Knowledge, Ministry of Education.

Date Published: September 2015

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Summary

How do Year 7-10 teachers spend their time in class?

How teachers typically spend their class time is one component of the classroom climate. Naturally, teaching and learning should be the major component of teachers' class time.

Teachers in TALIS were asked about how they divided their time, for a recent class, between administrative tasks, keeping order in the classroom and teaching and learning.

On average, New Zealand Year 7-10 teachers spend 81% of their class time on teaching and learning, 12% of their class time on keeping order in the classroom and 7% on administrative tasks like recording attendance and handing out school information or forms.

81% of class-time on average is spent by New Zealand Year 7-10 Teachers on teaching and learning compared to the TALIS average of 79%


The time spent on teaching and learning is about the same as the other comparison countries in Figure 1 with the exception of Singapore.

Teachers in Singapore report spending a higher proportion of their time on keeping order in the classroom at 18%. This is half as much again as in New Zealand (12%) and well above the TALIS average of 13%.

Time spent on administrative tasks is also much higher in Singapore at 11%, with lower percentages spent in Finland (6%) and Australia (7%) and on average across TALIS countries (8%).

Keeping order in the classroom has been reported by the OECD as generally the biggest concern for new teachers. In keeping with these findings, new teachers in New Zealand (with less than 3 years teaching experience) report spending 17% of classroom time on average on keeping order, compared with more experienced teachers who report spending 12% of classroom time on this.

According to New Zealand students' reports of disciplinary climate from the 2012 OECD PISA assessment, noise and disorder and students not listening to the teacher were the most common behaviours disrupting learning in maths classes. For over 40% of students these behaviours occurred in most or every maths lesson.

Figure 1: Teachers' use of time in an average Year 7-10 class
New Zealand
  • 81% of class-time spent on teaching and learning
  • 12% of class-time spent on keeping order
  • 7% of class-time spent on administrative tasks
TALIS average
  • 79% of class-time spent on teaching and learning
  • 13%* of class-time spent on keeping order
  • 8% of class-time spent on administrative tasks
Australia
  • 78% of class-time spent on teaching and learning
  • 14% of class-time spent on keeping order
  • 7%* of class-time spent on administrative tasks
Singapore
  • 71% of class-time spent on teaching and learning
  • 18% of class-time spent on keeping order
  • 11%  of class-time spent on administrative tasks
Finland
  • 81%* of class-time spent on teaching and learning
  • 13% of class-time spent on keeping order
  • 6% of class-time spent on administrative tasks

Notes:

  1. *Not statistically significantly different from the New Zealand average.
  2. These data are reported by teachers and refer to a randomly chosen Year 7-10 class from their current weekly timetable. Estimates may not add up to 100% due to averaging
  3. Sources: OECD (2014), TALIS 2013 Results: An international Perspective on Teaching and Learning, OECD Publishing. New Zealand TALIS database.
Year 7-10 Teachers' Classroom Time


Source: New Zealand TALIS database 2014

How do Year 7-10 teachers spend their time each week?

As well as time spent on teaching and learning, teachers have a range of other tasks to do, including the planning and preparation that are necessary to deliver high quality teaching.

In our first 'Insights for Teachers' brief on TALIS we reported that in a usual school week New Zealand Year 7-10 teachers worked an average of 44 hours. In a separate question teachers were asked to recall the time they spent on various activities (see the box "A note about teacher hours" for more detail).

An average of 18 hours is spent on teaching, 7 hours on individual planning or preparation of lessons (either at school or out of school) and 5 hours on marking and correcting work. Teaching time on average is similar to Australia and the TALIS average (19 hours each), and less than Finland (21 hours). In Finland teachers spend rather less time on planning and preparing lessons, and on marking, at 5 hours and 3 hours respectively. Teachers in Singapore spend 9 hours on marking and correcting work on average each week.

Time spent on remaining tasks in New Zealand included; general administrative work (5 hours); team work and dialogue with colleagues (4 hours); participation in school management (2 hours); extracurricular activities (2 hours); student counselling (2 hours); communication and co-operation with parents or guardians (1 hour); and other tasks (3 hours).

Figure 2: Average hours spent by Year 7-10 teachers on major activities in a recent complete calendar week
New Zealand
  • 18 hours teaching
  • 7 hours on individual planning or preparation of lessons
  • 5 hours on marking and correcting work
TALIS average
  • 19 hours teaching
  • 7* hours on individual planning or preparation of lessons
  • 5 hours on marking and correcting work
Australia
  • 19* hours teaching
  • 7* hours on individual planning or preparation of lessons
  • 5* hours on marking and correcting work
Singapore
  • 17 hours teaching
  • 8 hours on individual planning or preparation of lessons
  • 9 hours on marking and correcting work
Finland
  • 21 hours teaching
  • 5 hours on individual planning or preparation of lessons
  • 3 hours on marking and correcting work

Notes:

  1. *Not statistically significantly different from the New Zealand average.
  2. Sources: OECD (2014), TALIS 2013 Results: An International Perspective on Teaching and Learning, OECD Publishing. New Zealand TALIS database.

A note about teacher hours

The figures for average hours spent by teachers in a recent week presented here are the averages used for international comparisons, and include all teachers surveyed. Teachers were asked how many 60-minute hours they spent on a list of tasks during their "most recent complete calendar week". They were asked to include tasks that took place during weekends, evenings and other off-classroom hours.

Teachers were specifically instructed that rough estimates were sufficient and they were not required to make their combined individual activities add to the total working time, nor were the categories required to be mutually exclusive. Consequently in every TALIS country the sum of the hours spent on each activity is more than the total hours worked. Although the time information is acceptable for comparison between countries, as all participating countries collected the information on the same basis, there are limitations to using the information on teachers' time for other purposes. Studies have shown that the method of collecting time use information used in TALIS results in a high degree of under- or over-reporting time spent in different activities. In addition, the hours reported include both full and part-time teachers, and teachers with varying levels of management responsibilities.

Questions about how much time was spent on activities for an individual class were based on a single class taught on or after a specified day and time.

How do Year 7-10 principals distribute their time in a school year?

Principals in schools with Year 7–10 students were asked how they distributed their time throughout the school year.

New Zealand principals in TALIS distribute their time in similar ways to school leaders in our comparison countries and in comparison with the TALIS averages (Figure 3). They report that "Administrative and leadership tasks and meetings" take up the largest portion of their time on average, with principals spending 45% of their time on average throughout the school year on these tasks. This category includes human resource/personnel issues, strategic planning, leadership and management activities, reports, regulations, preparing timetables and class composition, and the school budget.

The next largest category (at 19% on average) is time spent on curriculum and teaching-related tasks and meetings. This category includes teaching, developing curriculum, classroom observations, mentoring teachers, teacher professional development and student evaluation.

The third largest category is student interactions at 15%. Parent/guardian interactions (12%), interactions with local and regional community, business and industry (6%) and other tasks (3%) account for the rest of principals' time.

18% average percentage of their time New Zealand principals spend on interactions with parents and community
Figure 3: Percentage of time spent by Year 7-10 principals throughout the school year on...
New Zealand
  • 45% leadership and administrative tasks and meetings
  • 19% curriculum and teaching-related tasks and meetings
  • 15% student interactions
  • 12% parent or guardian interactions
  • 6% interactions with community, business and industry
  • 3% other
TALIS average
  • 41% leadership and administrative tasks and meetings
  • 21%* curriculum and teaching-related tasks and meetings
  • 15%* student interactions
  • 11%* parent or guardian interactions
  • 7%* interactions with community, business and industry
  • 4% other
Australia
  • 47%* leadership and administrative tasks and meetings
  • 17%* curriculum and teaching-related tasks and meetings
  • 14%* student interactions
  • 12%* parent or guardian interactions
  • 7%* interactions with community, business and industry
  • 3%* other
Singapore
  • 44%* leadership and administrative tasks and meetings
  • 22%* curriculum and teaching-related tasks and meetings
  • 16%* student interactions
  • 10% parent or guardian interactions
  • 6%* interactions with community, business and industry
  • 3%* other
Finland
  • 48%* leadership and administrative tasks and meetings
  • 18%* curriculum and teaching-related tasks and meetings
  • 14%* student interactions
  • 10% parent or guardian interactions
  • 5%* interactions with community, business and industry
  • 4% other

Notes:

  1. *Not statistically significantly different from the New Zealand average. Estimates may not add up to 100% due to averaging.
  2. Sources: OECD (2014), TALIS 2013 Results: An International Perspective on Teaching and Learning, OECD Publishing. New Zealand TALIS database.

And are teachers and principals satisfied with their jobs?

Teachers' and principals' jobs include a diverse range of tasks as well as teaching and learning. TALIS also asked teachers and principals a number of questions about how they feel about their job, including an overall satisfaction question.

The vast majority of teachers and principals are satisfied with their jobs overall.

95% of New Zealand Year 7-10 principals agreed or strongly agreed that they were satisfied with their job. These figures are similar to the TALIS average of 96% and to the percentages of principals satisfied with their job in Australia and Singapore at 98% and 99% respectively.

In almost all TALIS countries, job satisfaction for principals is higher than that for teachers.

95% of principals are satisfied with their job
Year 7-10 Principals' time


Source: New Zealand TALIS database 2014

Figure 4: Percentage of Year 7-10 teachers and principals who are satisfied with their job overall
New Zealand
  • 90% teacher job satisfaction
  • 95% principal job satisfaction
TALIS average
  • 91%* teacher job satisfaction
  • 96%* principal job satisfaction
Australia
  • 90%* teacher job satisfaction
  • 98%* principal job satisfaction
Singapore
  • 88%* teacher job satisfaction
  • 99%* principal job satisfaction
Finland
  • 91%* teacher job satisfaction
  • 94%* principal job satisfaction

Notes:

  1. *Not statistically significantly different from the New Zealand average.
  2. Sources: OECD (2014), TALIS 2013 Results: An International Perspective on Teaching and Learning, OECD Publishing. New Zealand TALIS database.
About TALIS

TALIS asks teachers who teach students in any of Years 7, 8, 9 or 10, and their principals, about the conditions that contribute to their learning environments: their work, their schools and their classrooms. 34 countries and economies participated in TALIS 2013, including a total of more than 100,000 teachers and 6,500 schools and (with the exception of the United States) are included in the TALIS averages reported here. Alongside a small number of other countries, New Zealand participated in TALIS in November 2014.

In New Zealand these teachers come from a wide range of school types: full primary schools, intermediate schools, secondary schools, composite schools and others. The TALIS population of Year 7 – 10 teachers covers an estimated 22,170 teachers, approximately 50% of all teachers in 2013. These teachers were teaching in 773 schools, which is 30% of all state, state integrated, and private schools in New Zealand.

We collected responses from 163 schools and 2,862 teachers. New Zealand schools with at least four teachers teaching Year 7, 8, 9 or 10 students were randomly selected to participate in TALIS. Whilst participation in TALIS is voluntary, we had an excellent 90% response rate from teachers.

Research Design

TALIS is a representative sample survey focused on teachers and school leaders in Years 7 to 10. These year levels fit with the UNESCO international standard definition of "lower secondary", used by the OECD. In New Zealand, we estimate about 50% of our teachers teach students in these years.

The questionnaires covered a range of topics, including:

  • school leadership, including distributed or team leadership
  • teacher training, including professional development and initial teacher education
  • appraisal of and feedback to teachers
  • teachers' pedagogical beliefs, attitudes and teaching practices, including student-assessment practices
  • teachers' reported feelings of self-efficacy, job satisfaction and the climate in the schools and classrooms in which they work

We selected a structured random sample of teachers, ensuring for instance that all institution types were captured. To ensure we ran the survey efficiently, we excluded a small number of teachers who taught in schools with 3 or fewer teachers of Years 7–10. Despite these school-level exclusions, just over 95% of Year 7 – 10 teachers had a chance of being in the survey. The schools that were excluded are almost all smaller full primary schools, and they are more likely to be located outside urban centres.

References

  • Guide to Producing Statistics on Time Use: Measuring Paid and Unpaid Work, United Nations, 2004
  • OECD (2014), TALIS 2013 Results: An International Perspective on Teaching and Learning, OECD Publishing
  • PISA 2012, Series on the Learning Environment, Volume III; Student behaviour
  • TALIS 2013 Technical Report, OECD 2014

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