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Teacher commitment overcomes system conflict, survey says

September 03 2003

College releases results of first ever poll of teacher attitudes

Sept. 3, 2003 (Toronto) Ontario teachers say they remain motivated and committed to mentoring and inspiring young people despite conflict in the education system and the need for more resources, says a survey of Ontario College of Teacher members.

A July telephone survey of 1,027 randomly chosen educators shows that they feel accountable to their students, have concerns with standardized testing and overwhelmingly support parent involvement and assistance.

The survey is the first in the seven-year history of the Ontario College of Teachers, the licensing and regulatory body for the province's teaching profession. The College is uniquely positioned to hear the voices of 190,000 teachers and educators in Ontario's public and private schools and faculties of education.

"The survey explored the perspectives of teachers regarding their confidence in teaching and the system, what makes good teaching possible, the profession’s public profile, accountability and the role of parents," says College Chair Marilyn Laframboise.

The College's member survey on the State of the Teaching Profession in Ontario found that:

  • 81 per cent of teachers say that mentoring or inspiring young people is the best part of being a teacher
  • almost 90 per cent are confident in the jobs they are doing
  • 98 per cent believe that supportive parents who read to their children or help with homework are essential for a young person’s success in school
  • more than 85 per cent feel that standardized tests demoralize students, do not improve learning and are not a good way to track student success or monitor teacher performance
  • 67 per cent would recommend a career in teaching to students.
  • 29 per cent identified an atmosphere of conflict in the education system as the most challenging aspect of their work.

The College commissioned COMPAS Inc., a public opinion and customer research firm, to conduct the survey. The sample results are accurate within 3.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

"We conducted this survey to get our members’ views on the teaching profession, to stimulate dialogue and to help the public understand the challenges teachers face," says College Registrar Doug Wilson. "The information will be used to spark dialogue within the education system about the teaching profession and professional issues."

For example, the College will propose a plan to the Minister of Education regarding support for newly certified teachers. In addition, the College will work closely with Ontario's faculties of education to review bachelor of education programs through the process of accreditation.

"Building a strong teaching profession and a quality education system for Ontario students is the baseline commitment of Ontario's teachers," Laframboise says.

"Applaud them. Recognize them. Appreciate their altruism. And support them."

"There are few issues as important to Canadians as education," says COMPAS Inc. president Conrad Winn. "The data underscores the need to have people in education working together to fix the problems and improve learning."

The Ontario College of Teachers licenses, governs and regulates the profession of teaching in the public interest. It sets standards of practice and ethical standards, conducts disciplinary hearings and accredits teacher education programs affecting its 190,000 members in publicly funded schools and institutions across Ontario. The College is the largest self-regulatory body in Canada.

For more information:
Brian Jamieson
416-961-8800 ext. 255
Toll-free 1-888-534-2222, ext. 255

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