ChapterPDF Available

Abstract and Figures

Teachers are entrusted with the task of ensuring children's intellectual growth and preparing each new generation to meet the challenge of the future. One might expect that such important work would enjoy high status and considerable respect and reward within any society, but as we shall see this is not always the case: while teachers in some countries enjoy high salaries and comfortable working conditions, elsewhere they may have to do two jobs in order to survive, or they may not have been paid for months. Fortunately, as Lortie (1975) pointed out, teachers tend to seek the ‘psychic’ rewards — the desire to give children a good start in life and the pleasure of seeing them learn — rather than material rewards for their work. Unfortunately, Hoyle (2001), noting the British Labour government's determination to raise the image, morale and status of teachers [e.g., DfES (Department for Education and Skills), 1998] sees this vital relationship with children as ‘an intractable barrier’ to improved prestige for teachers. In this chapter we shall explore these matters further, beginning with definitions of status and prestige, moving on to consider the current status of teachers, the hypothetical determinants of teachers' status, the impact of various policies and, finally, the consequences of the status of teaching for the profession.
Content may be subject to copyright.
Section 3
Saha_Ch13.indd 215Saha_Ch13.indd 215 9/17/2008 6:50:02 PM9/17/2008 6:50:02 PM
Saha_Ch13.indd 216Saha_Ch13.indd 216 9/17/2008 6:50:02 PM9/17/2008 6:50:02 PM
Linda Hargreaves
Teachers are entrusted with the task of ensuring children’s intellectual growth and
preparing each new generation to meet the challenge of the future. One might expect
that such important work would enjoy high status and considerable respect and
reward within any society, but as we shall see this is not always the case: while
teachers in some countries enjoy high salaries and comfortable working conditions,
elsewhere they may have to do two jobs in order to survive, or they may not have been
paid for months. Fortunately, as Lortie (1975) pointed out, teachers tend to seek the
‘psychic’ rewards – the desire to give children a good start in life and the pleasure of
seeing them learn – rather than material rewards for their work. Unfortunately, Hoyle
(2001), noting the British Labour government’s determination to raise the image,
morale and status of teachers [e.g., DfES (Department for Education and Skills),
1998] sees this vital relationship with children as ‘an intractable barrier’ to improved
prestige for teachers. In this chapter we shall explore these matters further, beginning
with definitions of status and prestige, moving on to consider the current status of
teachers, the hypothetical determinants of teachers’ status, the impact of various poli-
cies and, finally, the consequences of the status of teaching for the profession.
Status and Prestige
In everyday discourse, terms such as prestige, status, esteem, respect are used almost
interchangeably. Prestige is defined as ‘influence, reputation or popular esteem
derived from characteristics, achievements, associations’, while status, for the pur-
poses of this chapter, is defined as ‘position or standing in society; rank; profession;
relative importance’ in the New Shorter Oxford English Dictionary, 1993). Encyclo-
paedia Britannica’s (2008) on-line definition of status goes further:
the relative rank that an individual holds, with attendant rights, duties, and
lifestyle, in a social hierarchy based upon honour or prestige. Status may be
ascribed – that is, assigned to individuals at birth without reference to any innate
L.J. Saha, A.G. Dworkin (eds.), International Handbook of Research
on Teachers and Teaching, 217–229.
© Springer Science + Business Media LLC 2009
Saha_Ch13.indd 217Saha_Ch13.indd 217 9/17/2008 6:50:02 PM9/17/2008 6:50:02 PM
218 Hargreaves
abilities – or achieved, requiring special qualities and gained through competition
and individual effort.
Status, of course, is a crucial sociological concept, as Turner (1988) demonstrates
through a series of six definitions of status. These culminate in his view of status as
equivalent to modern citizenship, but take in the Weberian notions of ‘status groups’
and lifestyles, defining status as,
… firstly a bundle of socio-political claims against society which gives an indi-
vidual (or more sociologically a group) certain benefits and privileges, marking him
or her off from other individuals or groups… This cultural aspect of status gives
rise the a second dimension, namely the notion of status as a cultural lifestyle which
distinguishes a status group with special identity in society. (1988, p. 11)
Turner refers also to the distinctive American construct of ‘subjective status’ in
which self-perception of rank or prestige became important in the 20th century
US social context of consumerism, rapid social mobility and emphasis on personal
achievement. Thus we have both ‘a “subjective” dimension of status (individual per-
ceptions of prestige) and an “objective” dimension (the socio-legal entitlements of
a individual’ (Turner, 1988, p. 5). This subjective dimension is especially relevant in
the case of teachers, whose subjective status typically underestimates, and, arguably,
limits their objective status.
Finally, Hoyle (2001), long-established scholar of teacher status and professional-
ism, argues for the adoption of a consistent terminology which recognises prestige,
status and esteem as separate components of ‘status’. Hoyle’s definitions are
• occupational prestige: public perception of the relative position of an occupa-
tion in a hierarchy of occupations (p. 139).
occupational status: a category to which knowledgeable groups allocate an
occupation (p. 144) In other words, whether knowledgeable groups such as poli-
ticians, civil servants, social scientists refer to teaching as a profession or not.
• occupational esteem: the regard in which an occupation is held by the general
public by virtue of the personal qualities which members are perceived as bring-
ing to their core task (p. 147).
This chapter will focus on teachers’ occupational prestige, esteem and subjective
status, using the word ‘status’ generically, and ‘prestige’ in Hoyle’s specific sense.
What Is the Current Status of Teachers?
Generalisation about teachers’ occupational prestige, is not straightforward. The
OECD’s (2005) 25 country survey on the recruitment and retention of effective teachers
is both comprehensive and detailed. It acknowledged a ‘frequently voiced concern
that teaching has fallen in social standing over the years’, but concluded that the
‘social standing of teachers seems quite high and seems to have changed little over
Saha_Ch13.indd 218Saha_Ch13.indd 218 9/17/2008 6:50:02 PM9/17/2008 6:50:02 PM
Teachers Status 219
the years’ (OECD, 2005, par. 3.3.5). Nevertheless, OECD identified the improvement of
the image and status of teaching as its highest priority policy objective.
Status, of course, is a relative concept and is subject to cross-cultural variation,
despite Treiman’s (1977) structural theory of prestige determination argument
that ‘since the division of labour gives rise to characteristic differences in power,
and power begets privilege, and power and privilege beget prestige, there should
be a single, world-wide occupational prestige hierarchy’ (pp. 5–6). He suggested
that this hierarchy would be invariant in all complex societies, past and present
(p. 223), and, using 85 studies of occupational prestige from 60 countries, cre-
ated the Standard International Occupational Status scales (SIOPS) based on the
International Standard Classification of Occupations (ISCO-68) [International
Labour Office (ILO), 1968]. High correlations between pairs of countries (aver-
age 0.83 with US-UK and US-Australia over 0.9) seemed to confirm his theory
concerning complex societies, while at the other extreme, the US - India-peasant
correlation was 0.19.
Ganzeboom and Treiman (1996) updated SIOPS to correspond with the ISCO-88
(ILO, 1988) but found little change in teachers’ occupational prestige. They point
out the difficulties in cross-national measurement of occupational status, due to the
differences between national classifications, the change in these over time and the
difficulty of finding reliable and comparable cross-national measures. The forthcom-
ing ISCO-08 (ILO, 2007) differentiates jobs more finely within teaching to include
(i) recognition of a new group of ‘vocational education teachers’, (ii) the ‘merging’ of
primary teachers and ‘primary education teaching associate professionals’ (including
teachers’ aides) who were previously in Major Group 3, a move with serious implica-
tions for the occupational prestige of teachers; (iii) greater differentiation of ‘Other
teaching professionals’ to recognise teachers of languages, music, arts and infor-
mation technology [ILO (International Labour Office), 2007] The effect on revised
SIOPS teaching scores remains to be seen.
Using such international scales, Hoyle (1995, 2001) stated that the occupational
status of teaching was both consistent over time, and high compared with all occupations.
Teaching scores are relatively high compared with other public service occupations
(nursing, social work, police) but lower than the major professions (medicine, law
and architecture). Table 1 illustrates these points but also reveals the wide differentiation
of prestige scores within the teaching profession.
Table 1 masks wide international variations, however. The OECD (2005) survey
found countries such as Italy, Korea, Portugal and Spain where teaching was considered an
attractive occupation, recruitment to the profession was not a problem, and countries
where experienced teachers enjoyed high salaries relative to their national GDP per
capita, notably Korea and Mexico, or relative to other public sector workers (Austria,
Finland, Hungary, Mexico, New Zealand and Turkey). Yet, in Switzerland there have
been teacher shortages recently despite high salaries, while in Hungary, teachers are
plentiful in most subject areas, but earn only 0.75 of the GDP. They often need sec-
ond jobs to supplement their incomes, despite a major rise in salaries between 1996
and 2002. In other words, identification of a single current status of teachers depends
to a great extent on the nation in question.
Saha_Ch13.indd 219Saha_Ch13.indd 219 9/17/2008 6:50:02 PM9/17/2008 6:50:02 PM
220 Hargreaves
Higginson (1996) noted a ‘serious loss of prestige’ in teaching ‘once regarded
as one of the noblest professions, … as the key to the intellectual development of a
country’s human resources and the determinant of social and economic progress’ …
… Once prominent local officials, teachers today are more frequently regarded as
simply ordinary civil servants, a shift in status which contributes to declining stand-
ards. Governments are increasingly obliged to seek new ways of attracting qualified
young people to the teaching profession. (Higginson, 1996, pp. 9–10)
Many of UNESCO’s (1966) Recommendations for the Status of Teachers were
evidently unfulfilled by 1997 (UNESCO, 1966, 1997). Higginson goes on to identify
numerous factors which contribute to teaching’s low prestige, including the employ-
ment of unqualified teachers in developing countries, as well as developed countries
where because extreme rural and isolated contexts are ‘… steadfastly resisted by
accredited teachers as eventual postings, [so that] the authorities are often obliged
to waive the accreditation requirements if they are to open a school.’ The alternative
would be to deny access to schooling and thus institutionalize socioeconomic and
urban-rural inequalities.
Table 1 The occupational prestige scores of teachers and other profes-
sional occupations according to the Standard International Occupational
Prestige Scales (SIOPS)
Occupation SIOPS 1977aSIOPS 1996b
University professor 86 78−
Judge 78 76−
Trial lawyer/barrister 71 73+
Physician/medical doctor 78 78 =
Secondary school principalc72 60−
Primary school principalc66 60−
Secondary/high school teacher 64 60−
Special education teacher 62 62 =
Veterinarian 61 61 =
Police officer 60 40−
Primary school teacher 57 57 =
Social worker 56 52−
Accountant 55 62+
Nurse 54 54 =
Librarian 54 54 =
Teacher’s aide 50 50 =
Pre-primary teacher 49 49 =
aTreiman (1977)
bGanzeboom & Treiman (1996)
cClassified in 1996 as ‘Production Department Manager not elsewhere
classified’, along with Impre
Saha_Ch13.indd 220Saha_Ch13.indd 220 9/17/2008 6:50:02 PM9/17/2008 6:50:02 PM
Teachers Status 221
Political instability and transition also contribute to low teacher status. Higginson
refers to teachers’ low salaries in Eastern Europe, the Caucasus and Central Asia in
the 1990s, such that in the Russian federation ‘a third of teachers lived barely above
survival level’, and ‘in Poland, the average teacher salary fell by 66.7 per cent since
1989’ (p. 11) to be 70% of their counterparts in other sectors by 1993. In Africa,
Ogiegbaen and Uwameiye’s (2005) survey of parents and prospective university stu-
dents in Nigeria found negative attitudes to teacher education were influenced by
teachers’ low status and poor, irregular payments. Osunde and Izevbigie’s (2006) sur-
vey of 400 post-primary teachers found the effect of low and delayed pay was a ‘lost
a sense of belonging’, while ‘poor conditions of service, wider negative influence
and teachers’ negative personal and professional behaviour’ contributed to teachers’
low status and esteem (p. 426).
The prestige of different groups of teachers within one country varies also. Inter-
national scales such as SIOPS classifies primary and early years teachers as having
lower occupational prestige than secondary teachers, although their qualifications,
training and pay may be equivalent. In England, teachers such as those who work
with children with behavioural or learning difficulties, substitute teachers, and, a
matter of consternation, minority ethnic teachers experience a status deficit (Cun-
ningham, 2006; Hargreaves et al., 2007 ).
Finally in this section, teaching suffers from various status anomalies. In England
and the US, for example, public opinion polls repeatedly show that teachers’ occupa-
tional esteem is high, but this is matched by neither their prestige nor their subjective
status. In Britain, MORI (2007) found that 96% of people are satisfied with the way that
teachers do their jobs (i.e., Hoyle’s definition of occupational esteem), and teachers have
topped this list annually since 1999. Doctors are second with 91% expressing satisfac-
tion. MORI (2005) that revealed teachers (selected by 88%) were the second most trusted
profession after doctors (90%), and before professors (77%), judges (76%), and even
clergymen (73%). In terms of subjective status, MORI’s (2002) survey found that teach-
ers themselves underestimate the respect in which they are held: 68% (of the sample of
70,000) thought the general public give them little or no respect at all. In the US, a Harris
Poll (2005) placed teachers sixth after firemen, doctors, nurses, scientists, and military
officers, and before police officers, as occupations having ‘very great’ or ‘considerable’
prestige. Furthermore, judgements of ‘very great prestige’ for teachers have shown a
consistent rise from 29% to 47% in since 1977.
Given these variations and anomalies, we turn now to consider the determinants
of the status of teachers.
How Is Teachers’ Prestige Determined?
Several models and lists of the determinants of teachers’ occupational prestige exist
and we shall consider a few of them here. The common features of these models
include socio-historical precedents, the size and nature of the teaching force, salaries
and qualifications, image, knowledge and expertise. Hoyle’s (2001) framework of
hypothetical determinants of occupational prestige includes the inter-relationships
between these separate elements.
Saha_Ch13.indd 221Saha_Ch13.indd 221 9/17/2008 6:50:03 PM9/17/2008 6:50:03 PM
222 Hargreaves
Hoyle’s framework has three branches which stem from the fact that teachers’ cli-
ents are children, and culminate in their contributions to the image of teaching.
(i) The first branch refers to the nature of the teaching force. State education, in
England at least, resulted in a large, urgent and sustained need for teachers to
supervise the nation’s children, and hence, because the size of the workforce
limits teachers’ pay, compromised the socio-economic status and academic
quality of potential teachers. It also resulted in large numbers of women being
recruited into elementary school teaching.
(ii) The second, and middle, branch concerns the close but potentially fragile
relationship between teachers and their young clients. As these clients grow-up
and leave school, so they leave their teachers behind, forever associating them
with childhood rather than adulthood. The most significant impact on teachers’
status however, is the mere possibility that their clients could get out of control.
Hoyle calls this ‘the most intractable barrier’ to enhanced prestige for teachers
(p. 143)
(iii) The third branch carries the ambiguities and diffuseness inherent in the goals of
education itself, as teachers must not only train children in specific and measur-
able skills, but also, prepare them socially, emotionally, and intellectually, for the
myriad wide-ranging possibilities that might await them. This range places lim-
its on the feasible level of specialisation in teachers’ professional knowledge and exper-
tise. While secondary teachers typically have a specialist subject area, teachers
of younger children tend to be generalists, possibly with specialist knowledge
of child development. For Hoyle all three branches conspire to depress teachers’
occupational prestige.
Hoyle’s model accounts for the prestige of teaching in England, and recent research
by Hargreaves et al. (2007) tended to confirm the view that having to control a class,
and deal with difficult behaviour were the principal detractors from the attractiveness
of teaching. Citations of teachers pay dropped from second (20%) to fourth (12%)
most frequently mentioned detractor from the attractiveness of a teaching career
between in 2003 and 2006.
Socio-historic factors may or may not provide a vantage point for teachers’
prestige. In England, for example, the urgent need for a huge workforce to educate
the masses in 1870 resulted in the recruitment of anyone willing and able, and in the
formation of the National Union of Teachers (NUT: originally the National Union of
Elementary Teachers), determined to raise the status both of teachers and of education
(Banks, 1971). In North America, Lortie (1975) refers to the teacher’s ‘special but
shadowed’ place in the Colonial tradition (p. 10), providers of the Puritan linkage
between literacy and salvation, but ‘symbolically and literally outranked by preachers’
(p. 12). In contrast, Fwu and Wang (2002) locate the high status of teachers in Taiwan
in traditional Chinese culture, which placed teachers in the realm of heaven, earth,
the Emperor and parents, and dee med them especially privileged:
The operations of the True Way in the spheres of nature, human society and
domestic relationships are considered to be so profound that only the teacher
Saha_Ch13.indd 222Saha_Ch13.indd 222 9/17/2008 6:50:03 PM9/17/2008 6:50:03 PM
Teachers Status 223
(shz ) is able to delve into the essence of the True Way and explain its operations
in all the spheres. (p. 217)
This very high status is maintained today as Taiwanese teachers are drawn from
the top 10% of junior high school graduates, and pass a highly competitive entrance
examination. They enjoy salaries 25% higher than other graduates and have the
option to retire at 50, on a pension equivalent to 75–95% of their full salary (Fwu &
Wang, 2002).
Hwang, Chang, and Kuo (2007) compared the social prestige of teachers in Taiwan,
with those in the UK and US, noting the rapid turnover of teachers and relatively
low graduate salaries in the west. They cite Wolfensberger’s (2000) model of the
determinants of status, defined as the salaries, the image and competence of teachers,
three factors that align with Hoyle’s three branches. The model suggests upward and
downward cycles of teacher prestige, dependent upon the academic calibre and
socio-economic pool from which new teachers are drawn. Thus in the upward cycle,
higher entry requirements, higher salaries and high quality continuing professional
development (CPD) will attract candidates of higher socio-economic status, who will
in turn attract more such candidates, thus further raising the prestige of teachers. Unfor-
tunately, they suggest, England and parts of the US, appear to be stuck in a downward
cycle. Recently, initiatives such as ‘Teach for America’ and ‘Teach First’ in England,
which target top graduates from top universities, could contribute to an upward cycle
as they appear to be having some success in retaining these high fliers in the profes-
sion (Hutchings, Maylor, Mendick, Menter, & Smart, 2006; Ofsted, 2008).
In Finland, too, teachers’ enjoy high prestige, and unusually, primary teaching is
a sought after, high status occupation. Malaty (2004) relates this to the transfer of
responsibility for teaching basic skills from the church to the village primary school
in 1921, such primary teachers became ‘the enlightening candle of each village’
(p. 11). Then, in 1974 all primary teacher education was transferred to universi-
ties, heralding the present situation in which all teachers have Masters’ degrees.
He notes also the good working conditions, small classes, welfare role and profes-
sional autonomy in curricular decision-making that teachers enjoy, together with
freedom from discipline problems, inspections and pressure from a private sector.
Parents trust teachers to support their children’s growth. Paradoxically, the Finns’
mathematical superiority is based on a curriculum dominated by the visual arts,
music and physical education, with relatively few maths lessons per week. Since
some argue that the high proportion of women in teaching constrains its prestige
(e.g., Basten, 1997; Hoyle, 2001), it is worth noting that women enjoy higher status
in Finland than elsewhere (Lewis, 1988).
Hall and Langdon (2006) offer what might be seen as a 21st century model of
status determinants derived from their research on teachers’ status in New Zealand.
They found that in ‘the “old days”… … status was accorded more to those who
were “pillars of the community” which sometimes included the local teacher … …
people seen as having the power to influence society’, but nowadays, status depends
on people having some form of exclusivity, or image which differentiates them from
‘ordinary folks’ (p. 27). Hall and Langdon identify three present day ‘drivers’ of
Saha_Ch13.indd 223Saha_Ch13.indd 223 9/17/2008 6:50:03 PM9/17/2008 6:50:03 PM
224 Hargreaves
status, namely power, money and fame, and say that ‘without at least one of these, an
occupation does not appear to have any status at all in the wider community’ (p. 26).
These are supported by two secondary influences on status: ‘influence on people’s
lives’, and skills, training and expertise. Insufficient on their own, ‘it is only when
[these secondary influences] “cause” the career to be seen as making people rich,
famous or powerful that status happens’ (p. 26). Teaching fails to make the highest
status career, because teachers’ power over people has been eroded as ‘kids know
their rights’, and their pay does not equal that of doctors, politicians or professional
sportspeople. While teaching is unlikely to make one famous, who can tell what
the effects of the Teaching Awards ceremony in England, or ‘Education Oscars’ in
Austria (OECD, 2005) could become.
Finally, pursuing what Turner (1988) defines as American thinking on the deter-
minants of status, teachers’ subjective status may have a contribution to make to their
prestige. In England, teachers’ persistently negative perceptions of their status, and
universal but out-of-date conviction that they have a negative image in the press,
may exert a depressing effect on their prestige (Hargreaves et al., 2007). On the other
hand, good facilities and buildings undoubtedly enhanced their subjective status, as
did involvement in research and in provision of initial and continuing professional
development for colleagues. Likewise, being funded to seek higher qualifications, or
given significant professional challenges with support by enterprising school leaders
strongly enhanced their subjective status. Thus, in addition to higher salaries and
evidence of government trust, teachers felt that greater public and policy maker awareness
of these essentially vocational aspects of their work would improve their status.
Change in the Status of Teachers
Hoyle (1995 , 2001) argues, on the basis of international scales such as Treiman’s
SIOPS (1977) that the status of teachers is relatively high compared with other
occupations, but that it is also resistant to change. Teachers, and other education
stakeholders in England, however, perceive a dramatic fall in teachers’ prestige since
the 1960s, driven no doubt by the lambasting of teachers by press and politicians
alike in the 1990s (Woods, Jeffrey, Troman, & Boyle, 1997). The perceived decline
appears to have bottomed out in the last decade, however. This corresponds with (but
may not be a consequence of) a government intention ‘to raise the image, morale and
status of the profession’ (DfEE, 1998, p. 13), reiterated in 2001, to create the ‘teacher
of the future’ who has ‘more status and more responsibility, and a better work-life
balance, in support of higher standards of teaching and learning’ (DfES, 2001 ,
p. 14), and again in 2004, ‘Our goal must be to make working with children an attrac-
tive, high status career’ (DfES, 2004, p. 10). A torrent of policies intended to achieve
this goal was introduced. These included the creation of a General Teaching Council
(GTC), introduction of rigorous national qualification standards, a stepped, rather
than ‘flat’ career structure, prescriptive national frameworks for teaching, reform of
the workforce which places teachers in managerial roles and as members of multi-
professional teams. While the creation of the GTC has as yet unrealised potential to
Saha_Ch13.indd 224Saha_Ch13.indd 224 9/17/2008 6:50:03 PM9/17/2008 6:50:03 PM
Teachers Status 225
raise teachers’ status, the last two reforms increase the visibility of teachers’ work
with adults thus also potentially enhancing teachers’ prestige, according to Hoyle’s
model. Yet, still the GTC has no control over entry to the profession, and the work-
force reforms potentially undermine teachers’ prestige by admitting under-qualified
and poorly paid teaching assistants to a wide range of teaching duties.
A fundamental flaw in England’s reformation programme has been the exclusion
of teachers themselves from the development process, particularly, for example, in
the development of standards, thus indicating a lack of government trust in the
profession (Mahoney & Hextall, 2001 ). In contrast, Cameron’s (2003) examples
from Australia and the USA, reveal the Australian College of Educators’ ‘national
commitment from the profession itself towards developing and assessing teaching
standards to promote and enhance the teaching profession’ and a national consen-
sus that professional standards for teaching should ‘be the responsibility of, and be
owned by, the teaching profession in collaboration with key stakeholders’ (p. 35).
In the USA, the National Board of Professional Teaching Standards has aimed to
enhance the quality and status of experienced teachers through its voluntary scheme
of standards of effective teaching, and is described by Cameron, as having ‘become
a truly national voice for teaching’ (p. 34).
Cameron’s (2003) review concludes that success in raising the status and quality of
teachers depends on an overall local and national vision, which avoids the co-existence
of contradictory policies, as, for example where high stakes assessment, and hence
‘teaching to the test’, runs alongside encouragement of teachers to develop their peda-
gogical repertoires. The more successful projects identified by Cameron, typically
were supported by high level leadership and advocacy,
built networks and understanding within different parts of the system,
saw learning to teach as requiring intensive scaffolded preparation,
sought to position teachers in a supportive policy environment,
enhanced teacher and principal leadership,
were based on sound professional knowledge and research,
were allocated enough resources to allow effective implementation without
causing burn-out,
were implemented by people who know and care about what they are doing,
increased the performance and capability of teachers in their daily work,
gave teachers opportunities to build their own content and pedagogical under-
standings in mentored situations,
looked for evidence about the effect on schools and students,
strengthened the capacity of the whole educational system,
had some consequences for teachers in addition to being better teachers. (Cam-
eron, 2003, p. 38).
Barber and Mourshed’s (2007) study of 25 education systems that perform well in
numeracy and literacy, argues that despite immense investment in educational reforms
the performance of many school systems has shown very little improvement in
standards. They note, however, that in all the most successful systems, the high quality
and status of the teachers are common features, and claim that new teachers saw status
Saha_Ch13.indd 225Saha_Ch13.indd 225 9/17/2008 6:50:03 PM9/17/2008 6:50:03 PM
226 Hargreaves
as one of the most important factors that attracted them into teaching. Reminiscent of
Wolfensberger’s model, they suggest that there are ‘strong feedback loops’ such that
‘once teaching has become a high status profession, more talented people became
teachers, [thus] lifting the status of the profession even higher’ (p. 22). Hwang et al.
(2007) cite Finland and South Korea as key examples of the upward cycle.
Clearly, governments’ attempts to raise the status of teachers can succeed only if
they increase the respect and reward accorded to teachers, by both improving the quality
and standards of professional qualification and practice but also by demonstrating
respect and trust for the profession. This might be achieved by encouraging teachers
to exercise critical autonomous judgement, through high quality professional devel-
opment, by supporting their involvement in continuing professional development, in
research and in reflection on their practice. If teaching is to become a high status pro-
fession, teachers themselves, like doctors, barristers and architects, must be involved
in the admission, regulation and development of membership of their profession.
Implications for the Profession of the Status of Teachers
Hoyle (2001) suggests that the only facet of status that they can influence themselves
is the occupational esteem attributed to them as a result of the way in which they do
their work. Of course, this esteem has a better chance of translating into prestige, if
teachers engage with a wider constituency than parents, such as local communities
and local businesses. There are other ways too that teachers might improve their
prestige especially if supported by governments. First, teachers need to improve their
collective self-respect and raise their subjective status at least to the level of stake-
holder and public status attributions (see, e.g., Hargreaves et al., 2007; OECD, 2005).
Subjective status improves when teachers
feel valued within the profession,
feel trusted by school leaders present them with challenges, and time and sup-
port to meet those challenges,
are funded to engage in further professional training or education such as mas-
ters courses in inclusive education,
can work with high quality resources and facilities, which show insiders and
outsiders how much the profession is valued,
get involved in research, as part of a major project, or in practitioner research,
become providers of continuing professional development for other teachers.
Teachers themselves, in England, see public and policy maker awareness of their
work as critical to raising their status. They need to feel trusted by their govern-
ment, by having their professional autonomy and judgement recognised, and being
released from excessive control and regulation. Teachers themselves need to inform
others about their work, and enable the public to see beyond the impression that
class control is their major role.
Finally, Hwang et al. (2007) suggest that governments can raise the prestige of the
profession by raising both the salaries and the academic level requirements for training and
Saha_Ch13.indd 226Saha_Ch13.indd 226 9/17/2008 6:50:03 PM9/17/2008 6:50:03 PM
Teachers Status 227
to achieve qualification. However, advanced study (e.g., at master’s level) demands
critical appraisal of educational initiatives. Government must be prepared to allow its
practitioners to critique, adapt and contribute to educational policies. Governments
can also create teaching councils, equivalent to those in medicine and law, such that
the profession itself would regulate entry to the profession.
This chapter has shown that there is considerable international variation in teachers’
prestige. It is high in countries such as Finland, Japan and Taiwan, but low in others
where teachers may be poorly paid. Nevertheless, as a common determinant of sta-
tus, pay does not guarantee high prestige. One critical factor would seem to be the
academic quality of those who enter the profession. Where teachers enjoy high status,
they are typically drawn from the upper quartiles of achievement in their education
systems. In the UK and USA, however, the most academically successful graduates
are under-represented in teaching, although new schemes which target high flyers
appear to be having some success. While findings from New Zealand suggest that
fame, riches and power are the 21st century drivers of status, it is suggested that
teachers’ prestige could be improved by freedom from excessive government control,
recognition of their professional autonomy, professional self–regulation, and involvement
in research and the provision of continuing professional development. Such develop-
ments might raise teachers’ status while sustaining the ‘psychic rewards’ and vocational
principles that characterise their professionalism.
Biographical Note
Linda Hargreaves is a Reader in Classroom Learning and Pedagogy at the University
of Cambridge Faculty of Education, UK, having previously held lectureships at the
Universities of Durham and Leicester. She has a background in psychology and has
conducted research on classroom interaction processes, school transfer, co-operative
groupwork and educational provision in small rural schools. She recently directed
the major English government–funded national project on teacher status (www. 2002–07, and has a particular
interest in the status of teachers of early years and primary children, and teachers of
music. She is currently an Associate Director of the independent Primary Review
(, directed by Robin Alexander at Cambridge University
Faculty of Education.
Banks, O. (1971). The sociology of education (2nd ed.). London: RKP
Barber, M., & Mourshed, M. (2007). How the world’s best performing systems come out on top. London:
Saha_Ch13.indd 227Saha_Ch13.indd 227 9/17/2008 6:50:03 PM9/17/2008 6:50:03 PM
228 Hargreaves
Basten, C. (1997). A feminised profession: women in the teaching profession. Educational Studies, 23(1),
Cameron, M. (2003). Teacher Status Project: Stage 1: identifying teacher status, its impact, and recent
teacher status initiatives. Wellington, NZ: New Zealand Ministry of Education.
Cunningham, M. (2006). Minority ethnic teachers as socio-cultural empathisers. Findings from the
Teacher Status Project. International Journal of Learning, 13(6), 79–86.
DfEE (1998). Teachers meeting the challenge of change. London: HMSO.
DfES. (2003). Every child matters. Green Paper Cm 5860. London: The Stationery Office.
Encyclopædia Britannica. (2008). Social status. Retrieved January 1, 2008, from Encyclopædia Britan-
nica Online at
Fwu, B.-J., & Wang, H.-H. (2002). The social status of teachers in Taiwan. Comparative Education, 38(2),
Ganzeboom, H. B., & Treiman, D. J. (1996). Internationally comparable measures of occupational status for
the 1988 International Standards Classification of Occupations. Social Science Research, 25, 201–239.
Hall, D., & Langton, B. (2006). Perceptions of the status of teachers. New Zealand: Ministry of Education.
Harris Poll (2005). Firemen, doctors, scientists, nurses and teachers top list as most prestigious occupa-
tions. Accessed December 30, 2007, at ISCO
Higginson, F. L. (1996). Teacher roles and global change an issues paper. Accessed November 1, 2008,
Hoyle, E. (1995). Social status of teaching. In L. Anderson (Ed.), International encyclopaedia of teaching
and teacher education (2nd ed.). Oxford: Pergamon.
Hoyle, E. (2001). Teaching prestige, status and esteem. Educational Management and Administration,
29(2), 139–152.
Hwang, Y., Chang, C.-W., & Kuo, C.-H. (2007, April 10). Teacher status and turnover rate in the US and
UK: Critical review from educators in Taiwan. Chicago, IL: American Educational Research Associa-
tion (AERA) Annual Meeting.
Hutchings, M., Maylor, U., Mendick, H., Menter, I., & Smart, S. (2006). An evaluation of innovative
approaches to teacher training on the Teach First programme: Final Report to the Training and Devel-
opment Agency for Schools. London: Institute for Policy Studies in Education. Accessed January 31,
2008, at
ILO/UNESCO. (1966). CEART Recommendation concerning the status of teachers. Accessed March 14,
2008, at
ILO. (1988). International Standard Classification of Occupations ISCO-88. Accessed 121207 at http://
ILO. (2007). International Standard Classification of Occupations 2008 (ISCO-08) – draft structure.
Accessed January 20, 2008, at
International Labour Office (ILO). (1968). International Standard Classification of Occupations ISCO-
68. Accessed December 12, 2007, at
Lewis, J. J. (1988). ‘Finland – the status of women’, in Encyclopaedia of women’s history. Accessed 010208
at = 1
Lortie, D. (1975). Schoolteacher a sociological study. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
MORI. (2002). One in three teachers to leave within five years. IPSOS/Mori/Guardian poll for the General
Teaching Council for England. Accessed 031008 at
MORI. (2005). Doctors top opinion poll on trustworthy professions. Accessed 031008 at http://www.
MORI. (2007). Opinion of professions. Accessed 031008 at
OECD. (2005). Teachers matter: Attracting, developing and retaining effective teachers. Paris: Author.
Ofsted. (2008). Rising to the challenge: a review of the Teach First initial teacher training. London:
Ofsted. Accessed 020208 at
Ogiegbaen, S. E. A., & Uwameiye, R. (2005). Analysis of factors influencing negative attitude toward
teacher education in Nigeria. Education, 126(2), 292–303 (Abstract EJ 765678 retrieved from ERIC
on 010208).
Saha_Ch13.indd 228Saha_Ch13.indd 228 9/17/2008 6:50:03 PM9/17/2008 6:50:03 PM
Teachers Status 229
Author Queries:
[Au1]: Please check equal to sign is ok?
[Au2]: Please check ref. Hargreaves et al., 2007, has not been included in ref. list. Either
include it in ref. list or delete its citation.
[Au3]: Please check this is ok?
[Au4]: Please check ref. Malaty (2004) has not been included in ref. list. Either include it in
ref. list or delete its citation.
[Au5]: Please check year of ref. Hoyle (1995) has been changed as per ref. list.
[Au6]: Please check refs. “DfES, 2001, 2004” are not included in ref. list. Either include
these refs. in ref. list or delete their citation.
[Au7]: Please check ref. Mahoney & Hextall, 2001, has not been included in ref. list. Either
include it in ref. list or delete its citation.
[Au8]: Please check ref. DfES (2003) has not been cited in text. Either cite it in the text or
delete it from the ref. list.
[Au9]: Please check ref. ISCO for its completeness.
Osunde, A. U., & Izevbigie, T. I. (2006). An assessment of teachers’ attitude towards teaching profession
in midwestern Nigeria. Education, 126(3), 462–467. (Abstract EJ 765765 retrieved from ERIC on
Treiman, D. J. (1977). Occupational prestige in comparative perspective. New York: Academic Press.
Turner, B. (1988). Status. Milton Keynes: Open University Press.
UNESCO. (1997). The 1966 ILO/UNESCO recommendation concerning the status of teachers: What is it?
Who should use it? Accessed 031408 at
Wolfensberger, W. (2000). A brief overview of social role valorization. Mental Retardation, 38(2), 105–123.
Woods, P., Jeffrey, B., Troman, G., & Boyle, M. (1997). Reconstructing schools, reconstructing teachers:
Responding to change in the primary school. Buckingham: Open University Press.
sario, Film Producer and College Dean.
Saha_Ch13.indd 229Saha_Ch13.indd 229 9/17/2008 6:50:03 PM9/17/2008 6:50:03 PM
Saha_Ch13.indd 230Saha_Ch13.indd 230 9/17/2008 6:50:03 PM9/17/2008 6:50:03 PM
... However, a mere 39% of teachers felt very satisfied in 2013, the lowest level in 25 years ("MetLife survey of the American teacher," 2013). Salary is but one factor, albeit a significant one affecting both teacher recruitment and teacher retention (Geiger & Pivovarova, 2018, p. 607; see also Auguste et al., 2010;Dolton & Van der Klaauw, 1999;Hargreaves, 2009;Hargreaves et al., 2007;Smethem, 2007). Clearly, teacher job satisfaction is waning, indicated by a subsequent exodus of teachers from the workforce, negatively impacting our educational system(s) and creating the impetus for this study. ...
... Namely, 60% of teachers domiciled in the Northeastern United States believed they were remunerated, while only 30% of their Southern and Midwestern counterparts felt similarly, with 47% of the West feeling fairly remunerated (Phi Delta Kappa, 2019; Figure 3). Salary continues to be a factor of retention for many educators, as teachers report what seems to be obvious, "salary level significantly affects both teacher recruitment and teacher retention" (Geiger & Pivovarova, 2018, p. 607; see also Auguste et al., 2010;Dolton & Van der Klaauw, 1999;Hargreaves, 2009;Hargreaves et al., 2007). ...
... Salary is a factor that research (Auguste et al., 2010;Dolton & Van der Klaauw, 1999;Geiger & Pivovarova, 2018, p. 607;Hargreaves, 2009;Hargreaves et al., 2007) has indicated impacts both teacher recruitment and retention, but "the quality of administrative support" is identified "as more important to their decision than salaries" (Learning Policy Institute, 2017, p. ...
... Wird in den ausgewählten Tages anderen europäischen Staaten eine breit geteilte Wahrnehmung (vgl. Eurydice, 2004;Everton et al., 2007;Hargreaves, 2009). Lehrerinnen und Lehrer würden demnach auch "weniger unter den Bedingungen leiden, unter denen sie arbeiten, als vielmehr unter Status-und Anerkennungsproblemen" (Wältz, 1980, S. 276 Ein Missverhältnis zwischen Selbst-und Fremdwahrnehmung deutet sich auch in der ersten zur Diskussion stehenden Annahme (s. ...
... Technically speaking, the programme these students chose ends with a specialization in teaching English as a foreign language. On the other hand, since many Polish language majors Osuchowska D. (2021) (Hargreaves, 2009), disillusioned with low salaries or other disadvantages of the teaching profession, their teaching curriculum also includes some classes in translation/interpreting presented as one of the career options (see also Zimányi, 2017) people who speak foreign languages can follow after leaving university. The administration of the survey to this second group brought about an increase in the total number of those collected between 2016 and 2019 to 80. ...
A survey conducted on four different groups of professionally active subjects from the Subcarpathian region, Poland, revealed that employees who work in multilingual settings are regularly entrusted with typical translation and/or interpreting tasks that arise in such settings. Simultaneously, as also evidenced from the answers they provided, none of the courses of English they attended have prepared them for acting in the role of, as they referred to themselves, ‘substitute translators’. The major stress in these classrooms the eighty participants were part of was typically placed on preparing a learner for situations in which one needs to express oneself in L2 and not for situations in which one is required to translate or interpret. This has resulted in some of the participants’ suggestion for a special form of language pedagogy that would take into account that translation outside the classroom seems to have become the norm in contemporary global economy. The study, which ends with a brief presentation of the subjects’ ideas, may be of interest to educationalists in the field of Translation Studies whose expertise may be exploited for the purpose of helping experts in ELT design suitable teaching materials. Keywords: teaching translation, English for Occupational Purposes, learners’ needs, TEFL, syllabus design
... Furthermore, teachers' perception of the societal status of their profession may play a role in the process of becoming a teacher, as well as in the decision to leave the profession. Teachers who believe the profession is highly valued in society are more confident and committed to their profession, which may potentially reduce the intention to leave the profession (e.g., Hargreaves, 2009). A comparison of teachers' status in 35 countries around the globe reveals large international variation in the societal appreciation of the teaching profession (Dolton et al., 2018). ...
This paper provides operational procedures for coding internationally comparable measures of occupational status from the recently published International Standard Classification of Occupation 1988 (ISCO88) of the International Labor Office (ILO, 1990). We first discuss the nature of the ISCO88 classification and its relationship to national classifications used around the world and also to its predecessor, ISCO68 (ILO, 1969), which has been widely utilized in comparative research. We argue that comparative research would gain much from adopting ISCO88 as the standard tool of classification and provide guidance on how to do this. We then outline the procedures we have used to generate new standard recodes for three internationally comparable measures of occupational status: Treiman's Standard International Occupational Prestige Scale (SIOPS), Ganzeboom et al.'s International Socio-Economic Index of Occupational Status (ISEI), and Erikson and Goldthorpe's class categories (EGP). To update the SIOPS prestige scores we have directly matched the occupational titles in the SIOPS scale to the categories of the ISCO88 classification. For ISEI scores we have replicated the procedure used to create scores for the ISCO68 categories, employing the same data but using newly developed matches between the underlying national occupational classifications and ISCO88. To construct the EGP class codes we have mapped the ISCO88 occupation categories into a 10-category classification developed by the CASMIN project for a 12-country analysis. To validate these scales, we estimated parameters of a basic status-attainment model from an independent source of data: the pooled file from the International Social Justice Project (a large international data file that combines data from sample surveys in 14 countries). Estimates based on occupational status scales derived from ISCO88 and ISCO68 are highly similar.
The need to recruit and retain teachers and to improve their morale has focused attention onthe status of teaching as a profession. This article suggests that the generic term ‘status’ has three relatively independent components, here labelled prestige, statusandesteem, the recognition of which as relatively distinct phenomena could enhance the debate. Factors affecting the relative prestige, status and esteem of schoolteaching are explored and possibility of enhancement on each of the dimensions is discussed. Finally, the argument that ‘the new professionalism’ will enhance the ‘status’ of teaching is examined.
Seasoned principals know that when veteran teachers are replaced by large numbers of teachers new to the profession, student achievement levels are threatened. The influx of new teachers, coupled with consistently high rate of teacher attrition, creates challenges for principals who have the responsibility of bringing new teachers up the experience curve as efficiently as possible. Responding to the conviction that effective mentoring of new teachers will boost their performance and that of their students, 30 states now require some form of teacher mentoring. In this article, the author describes the New Teacher Induction Model, a model teacher induction program developed by the New Teacher Center (NTC) at the University of California, Santa Cruz. Adopted by schools and districts from Alaska to Ohio, the model has significantly improved the effectiveness and productivity of second-year teachers. Elements of the NTC induction model include: (1) Supportive engagement of the principal; (2) Mentor selection based on a formal application and review process; (3) Well-defined and continuous training for mentors; (4) Mentor release from full-time classroom duties for one to three years; (5) Formally scheduled weekly mentoring support for two years; (6) Professional standards to provide a clear vision of best practice goals and provide a mentoring framework; (7) Comprehensive formative assessment to guide the evaluation of a new teacher's work; (8) Matching mentor and new teacher grade-level and subject area background; and (9 Ensuring that teacher instructional priorities align with those of school administrators and the community. The author also discusses the costs and benefits of a high-quality mentoring program. (Contains 2 online resources.)