Our Mandate column offers members information about particular aspects of the College’s responsibilities as a self-regulatory body and explains how we carry them out.


Find a teacher

The public register is a cornerstone of the teaching profession’s accountability to the public.

The Ontario College of Teachers Act requires that the College maintain a register to which the public has access. The register provides information about a member’s qualifications and any conditions or notations that may exist on the member’s certificate. The public register is one of the most visited areas of the College web site, with over 700,000 visits in 2007.

Site visitors can access the register via the Find a Teacher section on our web site.

In 2005, the name/link on the site was changed from Public Register to Find a Teacher, after research revealed that site visitors didn’t realize they could locate this information via the public register link.

Many of the changes that the College’s public register has undergone since it went online are the result of ongoing research studies. The College occasionally recruits members and applicants to search the College web site. They are asked to carry out specific tasks or search for information while researchers follow their mouse or keystrokes in another room.

“When subjects need to make repeated tries to find information or use different paths than we did, we reassess our navigation and the way we organize information,” says senior web specialist Lynda Scarrow. “Getting web navigation right takes a commitment to continuous testing and improvement. The public register, the online application system and the online Council voting system have benefitted the most from this kind of member testing and feedback.”

The College also looked at how other provincial regulatory bodies – like the Ontario Association of Architects, The College of Audiologists and Speech-Language Pathologists of Ontario, The Ontario Association of Certified Engineering Technicians and Technologists and many others – provided access to member information on their web sites. A number of them used the words: find an architect, find a practitioner, find a member, for example. Following this research, focus tests with new applicants and College members showed that changing the name on our own site to Find a Teacher made it much easier for visitors to locate teacher information.

The College has also improved the Find a Teacher search feature, making it easier to locate information about a particular teacher and to understand descriptions connected with listings.

Site visitors told us they were having difficulty searching for a teacher if they entered only part of a name, a former name or one that included hyphens. Changes were made to the Find a Teacher search feature and it is now possible to search for hyphenated names and names with spaces, to do partial name searches by entering the first two or three letters, and to search for a member using a previous name.

The results page shows the member’s standing and year of certification, which helps to narrow searches when many members have the same name.

Originally provided on a separate page, definitions appear beside each category on the member’s qualifications page. Roll your mouse over the i to learn more.

For more about Find a Teacher and the public register, see the Member’s Handbook.