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We're listening

The participation of members in formal reviews – of professional and ethical standards and of teachers' qualifications – as well as in more general surveys keeps your College relevant and responsive.

by Marilyn A. Laframboise

Go ahead. Surprise us.

When you read the proposed revised ethical standards and standards of practice that make up the centre spread of this magazine (pages 32 and 33), you're seeing the results of the College's consultations with hundreds of College members like you about what teaching's professional standards should be.

But do those hundreds of teachers and administrators really think like you do?

We have consulted extensively with members all across the province, in meetings and via the web site, direct mail, questionnaires and focus groups – close to 2,000 in all.

We've considered all the input carefully. We heard an impressively wide range of opinions and have done our best to capture them in the proposed new standards.

"The eagerness with which College members share their thoughts."

But I will never say, "We've heard it all." Not when it comes to the teaching profession.

That's why we're offering you the opportunity to tell us what you think of the proposed revised standards. If your understanding of how the teaching profession's standards should be expressed is completely different from what we've heard so far, well, please surprise us.

The College is asking every member – classroom teacher, administrator, occasional teacher, whether currently employed in publicly funded schools or not – to read and reflect on the proposed standards.

We hope you'll take just a few minutes to share your thoughts, using the questionnaire on page 34. Let us know if you agree or disagree with the direction we've taken.

The College has benefited greatly over our short history from listening to our members. I'm proud of the way that we have worked so hard to seek out members' views.

But what's particularly gratifying for all of us is the eagerness with which College members share their thoughts with us.

Hundreds more have participated in the College's current review of the Teachers' Qualifications Regulation (TQR).

In phase one, the College visited six communities across Ontario to provide opportunities for members, representatives of education organizations and the public to share their views in roundtable forums, in English and in French, face to face and by videoconference. In all, more than 420 people came out to share their views on the future direction of pre-service teacher education, the first area of the TQR that we tackled.

We used Professionally Speaking's annual State of the Teaching Profession survey to ask members to rate their pre-service programs, telling us what was valuable and what was not so valuable.

We know from this statistically valid sample of College members that a majority of the profession thinks the pre-service program should be lengthened – 26 per cent say to two years, 30 per cent say to 10 months.

The practicum experience received the highest rating from members by a significant margin. At the other end of the scale, assigned readings really didn't do very well, so it's no surprise that College members overwhelmingly – 87 per cent – believe that the extension of the pre-service program should be devoted to practicum.

Council members and staff criss-crossed the province again in phases two and three of the TQR review, sharing information, listening and learning. More than 180 people came out to talk with us during these consultations in seven Ontario communities.

Phase two was an examination of additional qualifications. A key part of our listening on this subject was the survey we posted for over two months in the Member's Area of the College web site for members-only input. At this writing, more than 600 members with qualifications right across the spectrum of our membership have taken the time to complete and submit this nine-page survey.

More and more, we're finding ways to reach out to you and all our members, beyond our meetings, forums and symposiums, with e-mails, web surveys, phone surveys and other opportunities for input, like the one presented in this magazine.

Once again, please take a few minutes to respond to our standards questionnaire. I very much value your input.