New Approaches to Lifelong Learning
252 Bloor St West, Room 12-254
Toronto, ON M5S 1V6
- FOR IMMEDIATE
RELEASE OCTOBER 10, 2001 -
Most Ontario Teachers Already Constantly
A new in-depth study of Ontario secondary school teachers
finds that they are generally spending over 50 hours a week
in teaching work and employment-related learning activities.
Teachers in the study were constantly engaged in activities
to upgrade their knowledge. The findings suggest that recent
Ontario legislation to impose mandatory re-certification on
teachers may be unnecessary.
A time diary and follow-up interview study of Ontario
secondary teachers during the 1999-2000 school year confirms
the findings of an earlier province-wide survey that the
vast majority of teachers have taken at least one further
education course or workshop in the past year and devote on
average more than 7 hours each week to informal learning
directly related to their profession. The study finds that
much of Ontario teachers' informal learning concerns using
their professional judgement to keep up with knowledge in
their fields and to teach themselves how to implement
provincial educational reforms. In addition to subject
knowledge and other teaching skills, about 90 percent have
been actively learning about computers informally.
These continual learning activities are above and beyond
the average of over 47 hours a week that secondary teachers
devote to their teaching duties. Besides an average of 28
hours a week on formal teaching and other assigned tasks,
teachers spend another 19 hours on course preparation,
marking assignments, and school meetings with students,
parents and others. These findings on working hours are
consistent with the results of prior Ontario and national
surveys, but earlier studies have not considered teachers'
informal learning activities.
"The findings suggest that teachers are devoting
more time to both their jobs and related learning activities
than either they or government policy makers generally
realize,' says Harry Smaller, the York University faculty of
education professor who headed the study.
The time diaries indicate that most teachers' daily lives
are heavily devoted to their work and to closely related
learning activities. A common complaint is the lack of
in-service training to aid teachers' efforts to learn how to
deal with the many recent changes in their teaching duties.
"The notions that teachers have a lot of free time
or that they generally resist educational change are far
from the realities of their daily lives," notes David
Livingstone, a co-investigator in this study and leader of
the NALL research network at OISE/UT which supported the
These time diary and follow-up in-depth interview studies
were conducted just prior to the passage in June, 2000 of
Bill 74 which imposed an extra half course workload on each
secondary school teacher. The original sample included 85
secondary teachers selected at random across Ontario as part
of a larger national survey. Detailed time diaries were
completed in November 1999 and February 2000 by a diverse
group of 13 teachers drawn from this larger sample.
The study was conducted by researchers associated with
the SSHRC-funded research network on New Approaches to
Lifelong Learning (NALL) centred at OISE/UT. The full
report, entitled Informal/Formal Learning and Workload among
Ontario Secondary School Teachers, as well as the earlier
national survey report, are available at the NALL
website:www.nall.ca. or in hard copy version from the NALL
project office: phone 416 923-6641 x2392; email:email@example.com.
For further information, please contact the following
authors of the report:
Harry Smaller, Faculty of Education, York University; phone
(office: 416 736-2100 x88807; home 416 536-0414);
David Livingstone, Centre for the Study of Education and
Work, OISE/UT; phone (office: 416-923-6641 x2703; (home 905
271-2755); email: firstname.lastname@example.org.