The professional image and ethos of teachers
24-25 April 2014 - Council of Europe - Strasbourg, France




In an increasingly complex world in which more or less radical changes take place at all levels of social life, we need to re-think education. The sustainability of the objectives and of the content of education have to be put to the test, teachers’ role, the teaching process and school as a learning organisation must be reoriented.
The conference has highlighted the importance of education for preparing our youth for a life as democratic citizens in diverse democratic societies, for their future world of work and for the development of their personality. It focused in particular on the implications this has for the image and ethos of teaching profession, the competences of teachers and their day-to-day practices. In this context, what is the role of the beliefs of teachers, of parents and of the public in general regarding what education - good education - is and which outcomes it ought to produce? The conference also discussed a Manifesto for Teachers of the 21st century to serve as inspiration, orientation and guidance for teachers and also for all those concerned by education: children, parents, teachers, schools, (local) authorities, civil society and society as a whole. Last but not least, the conference explored what future actions can be envisaged to support this change of mind-sets, of policies and practices in cooperation and partnership with all stakeholders.

The conference was organised by the Pestalozzi Programme of the Council of Europe (DG II) and the Education and Culture Commission of the Conference of International non-governmental organisations (INGO) at the Council of Europe in cooperation with partners (Centre européen Robert Schuman, the European Wergeland Centre, Landesakademie für Fortbildung und Personalentwicklung an Schulen in Baden Württemberg, Pädagogisches Landesinstitut Rheinland Pfalz.

Available resources

The following resources and online spaces are available for the interested public

Recordings of the conference plenary sessions

  • Recording 1 - Thursday morning
    • Opening – Josef Huber, Head of the Pestalozzi Programme
    • Welcoming words by Sjur Bergan, Head of the Department of Education
    • Welcoming words by Sabine Rohmann, Chair of the Education and Culture Committee of the conference of international non-governmental organisations of the Council of Europe
    • The professional image and ethos of teachers– Why do we care, and what can it mean? Keynote by Jón Torfi Jónasson, Professor of the faculty of Teacher Education, School of Education, University of Iceland

  • Recording 2 - Thursday afternoon
    • Round Table Debate “What is the perfect teacher for you?” Moderated by David Addis, United Kingdom
    • Gabriela Bergan, Representative of the European Students Union, France
    • Oren Gostiaux, Representative of European Parents Association, France
    • Haldis Holst, Chair of the Governing Board of the European Wergeland Centre and Deputy Secretary General of Education International, Norway
    • Ida Kreutzman, Representative from Organising Bureau of European School Student Unions, Finland

  • Recordings 3 - Friday morning
    • Feedback on and open discussion of the Manifesto from the thematic discussion, moderated by Richard Stock, Director of the Centre européen Robert Schuman
    • Preliminary conclusions and closing, Sabine Rohmann and Josef Huber

Podcasts and interviews

Facebook page and pictures


For further contacts: [email protected]

Manifesto: Education for change - change for education

Available in: English - French - Greek - Italian - Russian - Spanish

This manifesto has been prepared by representatives of the Community of Practice of the Pestalozzi Programme and the working group “Teachers’ profession in the 21st century” of the Education and Culture Committee of the Conference of International Non-governmental Organisations of the Council of Europe for the jointly organised conference “The professional image and ethos of teachers” in April 2014 at the Council of Europe in Strasbourg.

The overwhelming majority of the conference expressed their conviction that this manifesto - revised and adapted in the light of the discussions and feedback during the conference - reflects not only their major concerns but also the main avenues to explore in future.

It is meant as a message from practitioners to other practitioners and to policy makers. Despite all differences of context across European classrooms and learning spaces, the principles and the orientations contained in this manifesto can offer a shared vision of what education for democracy can and ought to mean in the 21st century.

We hope that this manifesto will spark and fuel debates on the purpose and practice of education, to see how it can help to move us further towards the desired change of practices in our classrooms across Europe and elsewhere.

We invite you to continue to follow these crucial debates and developments and to share your experiences, comments and ideas.

Please follow us and share on


The Pestalozzi Programme was the Council of Europe's programme for the professional development of teachers until the end of 2017.