Support program for new teachers watershed in Ontario's public education system

The College's call for a $40-million, two-year mandatory program of support for newly certified teachers in every school represents a watershed in Ontario's public education system, says Registrar Doug Wilson.

He noted that the unanimous approval by Council in September of the College's white paper, New Teacher Induction: Growing into the Profession, reflects the "consistent and insistent voice of the teaching profession."

"New teachers, veteran teachers, board administrators and parents have been united in their overwhelming support for the plan," says College Deputy Registrar Brian McGowan. "But there were two huge provisos. One, it has to have full, sustained and protected government funding and, two, it has to remain flexible to meet the varying needs of local school boards."

The College's proposal is based on extensive research, including needs identified in the College's Transition to Teaching study and via face-to-face discussion with educators across the province.

According to this position paper an effective induction experience:

  • provides initial school and classroom orientation
  • benefits from ongoing, school-based peer support
  • provides orientation to the school board
  • includes a mentoring component
  • provides resources, time and support structures
  • offers professional learning opportunities for both new teachers and mentors
  • demonstrates administrative support, understanding and commitment
  • creates opportunities for reflection and self-assessment
  • focuses on new teacher concerns as well as system priorities
  • is standards-based.

The proposal calls for mentor training, significant time for mentoring activities, professional development for new teachers plus board and administration support. The position paper will be presented to Ontario's new Minister of Education for review and action.

"New teachers have asked for this, school board administrators support the idea, and students deserve it," says Wilson. "Everyone wins."

New Teacher Induction: Growing into the Profession can be read online at

Professional Standards Symposium

The Ontario College of Teachers holds its first symposium on standards of practice and ethical standards in November.

The symposium brings together more than 200 participants to share experiences and ideas on incorporating the standards into their day-to-day work.

In the words of Marilyn Laframboise, Chair of College Council: "By sharing ideas we can learn new teaching strategies and find out how we can contribute to improving our students' learning."

College helps immigrants qualify as teachers in Ontario

Internationally trained teachers could receive a boost to their hopes shortly as the College and its partners await word on funding for a program to help them qualify to teach in Ontario.

Working as part of the Teachers' Leadership Council, the College submitted a proposal in August to the Access to Professions and Trades Program of the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities. The proposal would create a bridge to help internationally trained teachers (ITTs) advance toward licensing and to ensure their successful integration into Ontario's publicly funded schools.

The College will co-ordinate the program, if approved, and will provide training for staff to help ITTs understand the licensing process for teachers in Ontario. Training will take place at Skills for Change in Toronto and Ottawa and LASI World Skills in Ottawa.

Despite a teacher shortage in critical areas, many foreign-trained teachers are unable to contribute to their new communities. So classroom teachers do not reflect the ethno-cultural diversity among Ontario students, while school systems scramble to fill vacancies in high-need areas.

Ontario's nurses, pharmacists, engineers and midwives have already established bridging programs and received provincial government funding to encourage hiring.

Quebec to test language skills of all teacher candidates

Quebec's Fédération des syndicats de l'enseignement (FSE) has agreed to the introduction of a standarized test of French-language proficiency for all prospective teachers in Quebec. Johanne Fortier, president of the federation, said that their support was contingent upon this test replacing the profusion of tests given by individual school boards and universities.

The Quebec Ministry of Education is requiring that standardized testing of teacher education candidates begin in 2004.

The measure responds to the 2001 study Rapport Larose, which found more than half of prospective teachers did not have sufficient knowledge of the French language. Twenty-five per cent of university graduates who wanted to teach failed the written French evaluation test given by the Montreal school board.

It is now left to the province's nine francophone education faculties to agree on a test that will best evaluate candidates' linguistic competence. Testing is to start at the beginning of university so that students in teacher education courses who do not pass the test in the second or third year of their four-year program will have time to correct their linguistic shortcomings by the end of their program.
Minister of Education Pierre Reid said, "If we want our youth to do well, we must be clear and we must also offer them every opportunity to succeed."

Australian faculties open doors to Ontario students

Representatives of Australian faculties of education visited the Ontario College of Teachers on September 30th to review credentialing requirements. This was part of their ongoing effort to ensure that graduates of their programs will be able to transfer their know-ledge to Ontario's education requirements.

Hundreds of Ontario students in the past 10 years have opted to earn teacher education degrees at Australian universities. The Ontario College of Teachers does not pre-approve degrees earned at universities outside Ontario. But the College and the Australian universities have been working closely to make things as smooth as possible.

Faculty representatives from universities in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Perth, the Gold Coast, Cairns, Wollongong and other centres want to provide programs that suit Ontario candidates and meet Ontario credentialing criteria. With more than 30 faculties of education in a country with a population of only 18 million people, space can usually be found.

Teens at risk

Many teens are at risk of pregnancy, as well as HIV and other sexually transmitted infections, says a study administered by the Council of Ministers of Education, Canada (CMEC).
The Canadian Youth, Sexual Health and HIV/AIDS Study surveyed more than 11,000 youths from Grades 7, 9 and 11. It covered knowledge, attitudes, behaviours and other factors that influence sexual health. It utilized two new concepts that originated with the World Health Organization - sexual health and healthy sexuality, which integrate the emotional, physical, cognitive and social aspects of human sexuality.

The study finds that fewer teens are engaging in risky behaviour and most students see schools as their main source of sexual-health information. However, knowledge has declined since 1989 and one-half of Grade 9 students think that AIDS can be cured if treated early.
For the full report visit CMEC's web site at

First Nations teacher education grads reunite

Graduates of the earliest First Nations teacher education program in Canada reunited in Hamilton this summer.

The Native Teacher Training/Certification program was offered in the summers of 1974 and 1975 at McMaster University. The program was jointly sponsored by Indian and Northern Affairs Canada and the Ontario Ministry of Education and brought together 125 native people from across the province.

The program produced educators who have become role models for First Nations students and who have worked to ensure that the education system in First Nations communities reflects local culture and values.

There are currently five faculties of education in Ontario that offer native teacher education programs.

New Registrar at BC College of Teachers

The Council of the British Columbia College of Teachers has appointed Marie Kerchum as its Acting Registrar and Chief Executive Officer.

Kerchum has been Deputy Registrar of the College since 1989 and served as Acting Registrar during 1995-96. Prior to joining the College she was an administrator at Langara Vancouver Community College and a teacher and counsellor in the Langley and Coquitlam School Districts.

She replaces Doug Smart, who was Registrar since the College's inception in 1988.