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Cyberbullying Concerns Teachers

August 28 2007

Toronto, August 28, 2007 – Eighty-four per cent of Ontario teachers say they have been the subject of comment by cyberbullies who use e-mail and the Internet to criticize their teachers' appearance and grading skills, spread harmful gossip and even make threats of physical harm.

Ontario teachers responding to the annual survey of members conducted by the Ontario College of Teachers magazine Professionally Speaking say that schools and boards need to do more to counteract the trend.

The incidence of cyberbullying among French-speaking teachers is even greater - 93 per cent of Ontario's French secondary school teachers have been the subject of electronic comment.

The magazine's fifth annual survey of the State of the Teaching Profession, released today, probed teachers' opinions on a range of issues covering career satisfaction, classroom quality, teacher supply and cyberbullying.

"Teachers are overwhelmingly aware of the issue of cyberbullying," said Council Chair Don Cattani. "The results of the survey support and corroborate initiatives undertaken by the Minister of Education, teacher federations and principal associations to educate teachers in this regard."

Teachers believe that cyber harassment decreases classroom quality, affects job satisfaction among teachers and leads to poor student performance.

Most teachers think schools and boards should be doing more to protect teachers and students from cyberbullying. Forty-one per cent favour calling in the police.

Teachers indicate they are cautious about using e-mail to communicate with students, with only three per cent saying they use it on a regular basis in communicating with students and 11 per cent in communicating with parents.

Teachers' commitment to the profession is the highest it's been since the survey began. Nearly 80 per cent say they'll still be in teaching five years from now, up from 65 per cent in 2003. Among younger teachers - 18 to 34 years old - 97 per cent plan to still be teaching in five years.

Teachers have expressed great confidence in their school and the education system in past years. This year more than seven out of 10 said they were satisfied with their own performance, with that of their school or with the teaching profession overall.

Over 50 per cent said they were satisfied or very satisfied with the quality of the education system in Ontario, with another 37 per cent saying they were moderately satisfied.

Teachers are split evenly on whether classroom quality has improved, stayed the same or declined. About two out of three believe the implementation of smaller classes at the primary level is having a positive effect.

Asked to rate the seriousness of a number of challenges to the education system, teachers said that standardized testing, the condition of school facilities and school safety were the most serious challenges facing education.

COMPAS, Inc., a public opinion and market research firm, conducted the survey. Statistically, the sample is considered accurate to within 3.5 percentage points 19 times out of 20.

See the full survey at State of the Teaching Profession 2007.

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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 more than 210,000 members in publicly funded schools and institutions across Ontario. The College is the largest self-regulatory body in Canada.

For more information:

Brian Jamieson
Senior Communications Officer
416-961-8800 x 655

Lois Browne
Senior Communications Officer
416-961-8800 x 620

101 Bloor Street West, Toronto, ON, M5S 0A1

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