NALL Working Paper
Teacher Learning, Informal and Formal:
Results of a Canadian Teachers' Federation Survey*
As part of a larger national study examining informal learning practices
across the general population, a representative random sample of elementary and
secondary school teachers across English Canada were sent English language
questionnaire forms in October of 1998, inquiring into their practices and
opinions concerning their own on-going learning. Respondents (N=753) were asked
to comment on any informal learning they may have done in the past year in their
workplaces, their homes and their communities. They were also asked to
report on any formal learning activities in which they participated in,
including courses, workshops or conferences. Most questions replicated closely
those asked in the 1998 national telephone survey (N=1562) of Canadian adults’
learning practices (see Livingstone 1999).
Over 85% of all teachers indicated that they had engaged in formal courses
and workshops in the previous year, as compared to 49% of the entire Canadian
labour force, and 67% of those in the labour force with university level
education. Similarities and differences among teachers' responses were
examined, based on gender, age, region, elementary/secondary school
placement, urban/rural residence, position in the system. Teachers reported
spending an average of over eight hours per week engaged in their own formal
learning activity (including course time, reading and preparing assignments). In
addition to this formal learning, teachers reported that they also spent an
average of 4 hours per week in informal learning related to their jobs and an
average of 10 hours per week devoted to informal learning activities generally
(related to their employment, housework, community volunteer work and other
general interests). Again, there were variations among teachers as well as
within the general labour force. As one example, 89% of teachers, as
compared to only 61% of the overall labour force and 77% of employed
professionals, had engaged in informal learning of computers in the previous
This study has evolved from the confluence of three distinct, but related,
First and foremost, it arises from the recent discourses and realities of
schooling reform and "restructuring." Critiques of state schooling
systems and demands for their reform (whether popular, political and/or
academic) have been in place almost from the inception of state schooling itself
(Katz 1974; Curtis 1988). However, recent demands for change can be
differentiated from earlier injunctions in at least two ways. On the one
hand, to a much greater extent that ever before, schooling reform is now
more closely linked to transformations in the larger political economy of
provinces and nations - a move to more globalizing, neo-liberal economies,
including tighter control over, but less funding for, public sector social
institutions (Althouse 1929; Royal Commission on Education 1950; Goodman 1995).
In this regard, teachers' work in many provincial and state jurisdictions is
also rapidly being restructured as well (Hargreaves 1992; LeBlanc 1994).
In addition, while the recent reforms in education continue to range across
the many aspects of schooling - funding, governance, curriculum, resources,
facilities, etc - a strong argument can be made that the ways in which teachers
have been singled out for special attention is quite unlike anything that has
occurred before. Formerly, teachers were often addressed as a collective
entity, and improvements to education were often associated with the need to
improve conditions for teachers - class sizes, resources, salaries, benefits,
pensions and job security. Even where and when teachers were seen to be in
need of further education themselves, governments at various levels often moved
to expand and improve teacher education programs, and/or to offer incentives for
teachers to engage in further study, whether pre-service or in-service
(Hopkins 1969; Robinson 1971; Fleming 1972).
Today however, teachers seem bathed in a different light. From the media,
from school and government officials, and from community and corporate leaders,
teachers are increasingly being subjected to a critique of the individual.
Individual teachers themselves, it is widely claimed, constitute the main
"problem" in education. While the prescriptions for improvement vary
widely across the schooling domains of Canada and the USA, in many
cases the underlying intentions are abundantly clear. Individual teachers
themselves, need to be more carefully selected, trained, directed, evaluated,
tested and controlled (Holmes Group 1990; Labaree 1992; Darling-Hammond 1998;
Darling-Hammond and Ball 1998; OECD 1998, Ontario Government 2000).
Often, these initiatives are being promoted through a rhetoric of a
"need" for increased professionalism, and in at least two
jurisdictions (British Columbia and Ontario), government-initiated and
controlled "colleges of teachers" have been established, with a
mandate to control the training, certification and practice of teachers
(Popkewitz 1994; Ontario Government 1995). In many areas of the USA,
salaries, promotion, and even basic job tenure for individual teachers are
increasingly being determined by teacher testing regimes, increased external
evaluation of teacher practice, and/or by the "success rate" of
students on standardized examinations (OSSTF 1999). While these measures
have yet to gain a foothold in Canada, in Ontario at least, student results from
external examinations now appear in the public press, displayed on a
school-by-school basis. The implications for individual teachers in these
schools are certainly clear.
In addition to these new controls over teachers' classroom practice, there
have also been increasing calls for introducing compulsory "professional
development" programs for teachers, and the closely-related phenomenon of
regular, and compulsory, teacher re-certification programs (Ontario Government
1999). What remain to be determined, were any of these programs to be
imposed upon Canadian teachers, would be the overall parameters of such
endeavours. Who would control the content and process? What would be
the assumptions about necessary or important knowledge? Would they be
based, and build, upon existing teacher knowledge, or otherwise?
In this light, the second underlying theme informing this study is
reflected in the increased interest among educational researchers about this
concept of "teacher knowledge." This research has taken a number of
directions in recent years, including explorations about what it is, what it
should be, how it is acquired and/or enhanced, and the nature of its relation to
student and school success (Briscoe 1997; Klein 1996; Gibson and Olberg 1998;
Donmoyer 1995; Ontario College of Teachers 1999). Although there is
large and increasing volume of literature covering these themes, to date there
has been little attention paid to how teachers themselves see these matters
personally - what they think is important to know and to learn, how they would
like to engage in this learning process, and what they are already doing in this
Finally, this study has been motivated, and informed, by the concept of
"informal learning" - the ways in which learning is undertaken outside
of formal structures of classes and courses, instructors and regulations.
While much (or most) human learning takes place incidentally, another important
aspect in the overall spectrum of knowledge acquisition is that informal
learning which is deliberate and sustained. This learning can take place either
alone or collectively. As David Livingstone points out, it is
any activity involving the pursuit of understanding, knowledge or skill which
occurs outside the curricula of institutions providing educational programs,
courses or workshops. . . . Explicit informal learning is
distinguished from everyday perceptions, general socialization and more tacit
informal learning by peoples' own conscious identification of the activity as
significant learning. The important criteria that distinguish explicit
informal learning are the retrospective recognition of both a new significant
form of knowledge, understanding or skill acquired on your own initiative and
also recognition of the process of acquisition (Livingstone 1999, 3-4).
Given the relative informality of these forms of learning, one can appreciate
the difficulties in attempting to research the ways and extents to which they
take place. However, the past three decades have seen a growing number of
studies in this area.1 In fact, this particular study was spawned by
the overall activities of a group of researchers brought together through a
national network entitled New Approaches to Lifelong Learning (NALL), financed
by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC),
for the purposes of expanding the research base through a wide array of studies
into informal learning (for summaries, see the NALL website: www.nall.ca).
The questionnaire for this study was developed in tandem with a national
public survey on informal learning, undertaken by NALL (Livingstone 1999).
Funding for this teachers' study came from the SSHRC and from the major
provincial teachers' federations/unions across Canada. Names and addresses for
potential respondents were randomly and proportionately sampled from the
membership lists of these ten organizations. (Given the mandatory membership
legislation in place in all but one province, virtually every teacher
working in a publicly-funded elementary and secondary school in Canada is
included in these data-bases2).
The questionnaire (Appendix B) consisted of an eight-page booklet containing
61 questions (some involving sub-questions). The questions were grouped into
five sections pertaining to respondents' activities and opinions about their own
learning activities - their formal schooling and continuing education courses,
as well as questions about their own informal learning in the community,
informal learning in the workplace, informal learning in the home, and other
informal learning issues and approaches. In addition, there was a final section
involving background/demographic questions, work-place matters and
These questionnaires were mailed out to the individual sampled teachers at
their home or school address, along with a pre-addressed return envelope, and a
one-page letter on the letterhead of the respective provincial teachers'
federation, over the signature of the president or equivalent of that
organization. This letter explained the purpose of the study, the reasons for
the federation's involvement, and encouraged recipients to respond to the study.
A follow-up letter was sent to non-respondents approximately four weeks later.
In total, 1945 questionnaires were mailed out at the end of October, 1998.
A. RESPONSE RATES
Response rates varied considerably across Canada. Of the 1945 forms
mailed out, 753 completed forms, or 39% of the total mailed, were
returned. Gross response rates by province ranged from 31% to 46%, with
somewhat higher response rates in the western provinces.3 In
addition, approximately 210 forms were returned unopened, in most cases with a
written indication on the envelope that they were undeliverable because of lack
of current address. On this basis (even without speculating on how many
additional forms were neither delivered nor returned), it would appear that at
least 43% of teachers who received English language forms responded to them.
B. GENERAL BACKGROUND CHARACTERISTICS OF RESPONDENTS
Gender and Age - Of the 753 respondents, two-thirds were women and
one-third men (67% - 33%) - figures which very closely reflect the national
teacher population. Overall, their ages ranged from 23 to 64 years, with a mean
of 43.6 years (Table B-1). As indicated in Table B-1, this gender division is
very close to data from Statistics Canada as reported by Tremblay 1997,
and the average age is similarly close - within one year as indicated by three
Table B-1 - Comparative Data on Canadian Teachers, by Gender, Age and
Other Background Characteristics - 85% of all respondents
indicated they were Canadian born, and, while 93% identified English as the
language they could express themselves in "most easily," 18% stated
that they could speak at least one further language "well enough to hold a
conversation." 92% identified themselves as being
"White," while 4% self-identified as belonging to other
ethno-cultural groups (31 respondents (4%) did not answer this question).
In relation to family status, 77% indicated that they lived with a spouse or
partner. In 82% of these cases, the spouse/partner was also working
for pay, with 88% of this latter group employed full-time. 55% of teachers
reported having one or more children living at home, 12% of whom were the sole
parent in the home. 79% of this sole-parent group were women.
C. School-related Characteristics of Respondent5
Length of teaching experience of respondents (calculated as number of
education-related work since gaining their teacher certification) ranged from 1
to 51 years, with the median being 17 years of teaching. 71% of
respondents described their present position as that of classroom teacher, while
29% indicated they held other positions - eg. school librarian, department head,
consultant, student services, school administrator, etc. 47%
worked in primary schools, 10% in middle/junior schools, 31% in secondary
schools of varying types, 7% in K-12 schools, 4% in other kinds of schools
(adult, alternative, special needs) and 1% in non-school locations (school board
or federation offices)(Table C-1). For purposes of analysis here, a cohort
consisting of full-time classroom teachers and department heads/assistant heads
has been identified, as being the group spending most or almost all of their
scheduled time in regular classes. This "teaching" group of 506
represents 67% of all respondents.
Table C-1 - Type of School
Schools in which respondents worked were located across the urban-rural
landscape - 51% in and around "metropolitan areas," 32% in
"smaller cities and towns, and 16% in "rural" areas. School size
also varied - 25% were employed in schools under 300 students, 39% in schools
between 300 and 599, 17% with 600 and 1000 students, and 18% in schools over
1000 (Table C-2).
Table C-2 - Size of School
|# of students
|| Under 300
||300 - 599
||600 - 1000
|% of teachers
Full-Time and Part-Time Employment - 86% of all respondents
worked full-time, 9% were employed part-time, and the remaining 5% were divided
evenly between those on leave for the year, and those who had retired in the
previous six months. Women were proportionally more prevalent among
part-timers - 65% of all full-time teachers were women, as compared to 89%
of all part-timers (Table C-3).
Table C-3 - Full-time/Part-time Teachers
Teacher Workload - The full-time respondents reported an overall
workload of 47 hours per week, comprised of assigned and voluntary labours.
On average, they were assigned 28 hours per week for working directly with
students, and such additional tasks as school administration, library
coordination, administration, hall supervision, preparation and marking, and so
on. In addition to these formally assigned hours, teachers reported that, on
average they spent a further 19 hours per week on school related tasks -
approximately 10 hours at school, and 9 hours at home and elsewhere. Such
tasks ranged from preparing and marking student work and extra-curricular
activities, to communicating with students and parents, and participating in
subject, school, board and federation meetings. This overall workload of
47 hours per week was consistent between those who indicated they spent
most or all of their time directly in the classroom (teachers and department
heads), and those respondents who held other educational positions.
These teacher workload findings are similar to studies which have asked
teachers in other jurisdictions the same kinds of questions. A 1994-95
study found that Saskatchewan teachers worked slightly more than 47 hours per
week (Saskatchewan Teachers' Federation 1995) Similarly, a 1993-94
national study of U.S. full-time elementary and secondary public school teachers
found that they were required to be at school 33 hours per week, and that they
worked an additional 12 hours per week, before and after school and weekends,
for a total of 45 hours per week (National Centre for Education Statistics
1997). A 1996 British study found that teachers in both primary and
secondary schools worked on average 50 hours per week, with a quarter of those
surveyed working more than 55 hours (National Union of Teachers 1998; see
also Michelson and Harvey 1999; Drago et al 1999).
D. FORMAL LEARNING ACTIVITIES OF RESPONDENTS6
Respondents were asked whether, in the past year, they had participated in
any kind of formalized learning activity - organized workshops, courses or
programs for education, training or general interest, regardless of length. 86%
of respondents stated that they had participated in one or more courses and
workshops. Of this group, 38% had taken one or two, 35% had taken three or
four, and the remaining 27% had participated in anywhere from five to twenty
such organized activities (Table D-1). It is interesting to note, by comparison,
that in the general NALL survey of Canadian residents over 18 years of age who
are not in school, only 44% of respondents reported that they had engaged in
similar pursuits in the past year. Even when one examines just those
Canadian residents actively participating in the labour force, the number of
formal learners still numbered only 49% of the total group (Table D-2).
Table D-1 - Teacher Participation in Formal Courses and Workshops, Last 12
||1 or more
||1 or 2
||3 or 4
||5 or more
Table D-2 - Participation in Formal Learning Activities -
Teachers, Labour Force and Adult Population.
|| Labour Force
(excluding full-time students)
As Table D-3 indicates, teachers seem to engage overwhelmingly in further
formal education, regardless of their years of teaching experience. While
there is a slight reduction in educational pursuits among those with more than
twenty years of teaching seniority, well over eighty percent of these senior
teachers are still participating in formal courses and workshops to enhance
their own learning (and, as will be noted in the following sub-section, these
senior teachers actually spend on average more hours per week in these
educational pursuits). This pattern is in marked contrast to Canadian adults and
the labour force in general where older, more experienced people are very
unlikely to take further education courses (Livingstone, 1999)
Table D-3 - Length of Teaching Experience and Involvement in
|Years of teaching experience
|| % taking formal courses and workshops
N = 736
|All full-time classroom teachers
N = 468
Types of Formal Learning Activity - The content of these courses and
workshops varied significantly. Over three-fifths (61%) of all respondents
had engaged in "work-related" courses. In addition, over a third (37%)
indicated they had taken computer related courses, 27% had taken academic
courses, and 21% had taken recreation-related courses (Table D-4).7
Table D-4 - Participation Rate in Formal Courses and Workshops, by Theme
|Involvement in one or more themes
N = 753
Time Spent on Formal Learning Activities8 - On average,
full-time classroom teachers (N=506) reported spending 32 hours in actual
attendance at courses and workshops over the past year. However, when work
on course assignments, preparation and studying time was included in the overall
amount of time taken up by these courses, teachers reported that they spent much
more time on such formal, organized learning activities. Understandably, this
time varied considerably among respondents, depending upon how much engagement
they had had in the past year with such activities. Overall, teachers
spent an average of over eight hours per week on formal learning activity.
Within the overall respondent group, there were some significant variations
in their engagement with these pursuits - based upon gender (Appendix A, Table
D-5), years of teaching experience (Appendix A, Table D-6), work location
(Appendix A, Table D-7), elementary/secondary school (Appendix A, Table D-8),
family status (Appendix A, Table D-9) and region (Appendix A, Table D-10).
As the tables indicate, teachers who taught secondary (as compared to
elementary) school, those who had children at home, those who lived in the
Atlantic provinces, those who had work responsibilities outside of the
classroom, and those with more than twenty years of experience, were, on
average, likely to be more engaged each week in their own further
education activities. In addition, women teachers were more engaged in these
activities than their male counterparts, and women with children at home were
the most engaged of all sub-groups of teachers. However, there were no
significant differences based upon rural-urban location of teachers.
Reasons for Taking Courses and Workshops - Motivations varied for
engaging in these formal courses and workshops. 19% of those respondents taking
courses stated that one or more of the courses they had taken were part of a
degree, diploma or certificate program at a university, community college,
technical or business school, while 20% stated that one or more of their courses
qualified them for (additional) certification related to their teaching
Almost half (47%) of those taking courses reported that one or more of the
courses and workshops were required or recommended by an employer (eg. school
board, principal), while 27% noted that one or more of these engagements had
been required or recommended by some "other work-related organization (eg.
professional association, federation)."
Related to the matter of motivation, 54% of all those taking courses
reported that they themselves had paid the fees for one or more of these
activities. By comparison, 44% stated that fees had been paid at least
once by their employer, 14% reported that courses had been paid by their union
or professional association, and approximately the same number (13%)
participated in courses which were paid jointly by their employer and
union/professional association. It should also be noted that 17% of
respondents taking courses and workshops reported that one or more of these
activities had no fees attached to them.
Future Plans - While 86% of responding teachers reported that they had
taken one or more formal courses or workshops in the past twelve months, an even
larger percentage (88%) stated that they would definitely (61%) or possibly
(27%) take one or more courses in the future. Again, these numbers compare
favourably with the general Canadian labour force, where only 70% indicated they
would or might be so engaged (Table D-11)
Table D-11 - Likelihood of Future Formal Learning - Teachers and Labour
|Take course in next twelve months?
|Canadian Labour Force
Those who were undecided, or stated that they would definitely not take
further courses in the next few years, cited one or more reasons for this
reluctance: too expensive (31%), courses held at inconvenient times and/or
places (19%); family responsibilities (18%); no relevant courses available
(17%); lack of employer support (14%); and health reasons (3%). By
comparison, among those responding to the general Canadian population survey,
nearly half said that they had no time to participate,9 about 40%
cited inconvenient times and places of programs, and family responsibilities,
while about a third indicated that courses were too expensive.
E. INFORMAL LEARNING ACTIVITIES OF RESPONDENTS
The first part of the survey questionnaire asked teachers to describe the
ways in which they engaged in formally organized educational activities.
By comparison, the next part of the questionnaire asked them to think about the
various ways they had engaged in informal learning, outside of formally
organized courses and workshops - in their communities, in their workplaces, in
their homes, and elsewhere.
a) Informal Learning in the Workplace - The questionnaire form listed
a number of work-related themes around which self-learning could take place.
Teachers were asked to identify any in which they had informally (that is, not
through organized courses or workshops) acquired new skills and/or knowledge
over the past twelve months - things that would have assisted them in their
present job, and/or would assist them in assuming new job responsibilities.
Virtually all respondents (98%) stated that they were certainly
"learning on the job." 89% had informally gained new knowledge
and skills about computers. Well over 60% of all respondents indicated
that informal learning had occurred in each of a number of other work-related
areas - team-work/communication skills, teaching a particular
grade/subject, classroom management, student problems, and keeping up with new
teaching-related knowledge (Table E-1). (Among other themes, learning about
extra-curricular student activities, and supervisory/management skills, were
selected by 49% and 34% of respondents respectively.)
Table E-1 - Types of Informal Learning at the Workplace
|One or more themes
|| Specific grade/ subject
||Classroom management skills
||New knowledge related to teaching
In a separate question, teachers were asked whether, in the course of their
work in the past twelve months, they had informally engaged in learning in any
of six specific work-related themes which were listed in the questionnaire.
From this list, "Curriculum policy/development" was selected by well
over two-thirds of all respondents (70%), while about one-half indicated each of
"employee rights and benefits" and "teacher
education/development" (54% and 47%). In addition, many respondents
also indicated they had acquired knowledge and/or skills in the areas of
"occupational health and safety" (35%), "environmental issues
related to your work" (29%) and "equity/gender issues" (21%).
When asked how this informal learning took place, 82% indicated that
significant amounts took place collaboratively with colleagues. In addition, 63%
also stated they engage in informal workplace learning on their own. Other
modes of informal learning included: interactions with students (24% of
all respondents), with principals or school board administrators (27%) and with
When asked the single most important knowledge, skill or understanding that
they had acquired informally, related to current or future paid employment, over
one-quarter (27%) identified computers, approximately one fifth (19%) stated
teacher education/development, 17% selected areas relating to curriculum
policy/development/implementation. The remaining 37% of respondents to this
question selected among 21 other themes (including student issues, team
work/problem solving, employee rights, personal development, etc)(Table E-2).
Table E-2 - Single Most Important Informal Learning Theme
(21 in total)
Respondents were asked to indicate the number of hours per week they were
engaged in new informal learning activity in the course of their work.
Overall, the average amount of time spent on informal learning on the job was
almost four hours (3.9) per week. By comparison, those among the general
labour force reported that they averaged about six hours per week of informal
learning on the job.
As compared to rates of formal learning activity, there were no gender
differences indicated. However, elementary teachers were somewhat more active in
this area than their secondary school counterparts (see Appendix A, Table E-3).
b) Informal Learning in the Home - When asked how many hours
they spent working on "things around the house" (examples such as
"cooking, cleaning, home maintenance and repair, shopping, child or elder
care" were provided), respondents cited an average of fifteen hours per
week. In addition, 67% indicated that these tasks involved new, informal
learning experiences and that, on average, three hours per week was spent in
this kind of informal learning activity. By comparison, the general labour
force in Canada reported approximately five hours per week of such learning
Over half (51%) of teachers responding to these questions stated they had
engaged in informal learning in the area of "renovations or other
do-it-yourself projects," over 40% listed each of "home/auto
maintenance and/or repair," "gardening or farming" and "home
cooking," one-quarter selected "child or elder care," while
about one-fifth indicated learning had taken place in each of
"cleaning," "shopping" and "home budgeting."
When asked the single most important knowledge, skill or understanding they had
gained in the past year, over one-quarter of those responding to this question
listed home repair/renovation (26%), about 10% each listed gardening/farming,
health and safety, and child care, about 7% each listed economics/finance and
cooking, while the remaining 28% selected one of 18 other learning themes.10
c) Informal Learning in the Community - Similar to the previous
questions, teachers were asked whether they were involved in volunteer community
organizations, and if so, how frequently. Over three-fifths (61%)
indicated they were involved, and of this group almost three-quarters (73%)
stated that these activities had also provided them with an average of two hours
per week of informal learning opportunity. (By comparison, the general
labour force reported an average of four hours per week of informal learning in
this domain.) When asked the most important knowledge, skill or understanding
acquired as a result of this volunteer engagement, responding teachers cited 28
different themes, with "interpersonal skills," "community
knowledge" and "organizational/leadership skills" among the
forefront (35%, 13% and 10% respectively).
Interestingly, when asked if any of this informal, community-based learning
could be applied to their paid employment, 90% expressed concurrence -
with most stating that this learning was directly related to school-based
education and teaching practices.
d) Other Informal Learning Opportunities - Finally, teachers were
asked if, in the past year, they had engaged in any recreational activities,
either alone or with others, which might have occasioned informal learning of
things they couldn't do, or didn't know, a year previous. A number of
possibilities were listed for their consideration. 95% of all respondents
indicated they had engaged in learning in this way. Again, computers rated
high, with three-fifths of respondents, while four other themes were each
selected by 40 to 45% of respondents - leisure/hobbies, sports/recreation,
health issues, and finance/investing.11 On average, respondents
reported that they had engaged in learning in this manner, for four hours in a
typical week, as compared to six hours for the general labour force.
Related to these matters, it is certainly interesting to note that 86% of all
respondents stated that they used computers at home, for an average 2 hours per
week of computing time. In addition, over half of all respondents (53%) also
reported using Internet as well, for an extra two hours per week. By comparison,
data from the NALL national survey suggest that computer use at home among the
general adult population is 56%, and by the general labour force, 64% (Table
Table E-4 - Computer Use at Home - Teachers, General Population and Labour
||Computer Use at Home
||Internet Use at Home
General Adult Population
General Labour Force
e) Total Informal Learning - When the total estimated hours of
informal learning are added together and divided by all sample respondents, the
average amount of informal learning time by Canadian teachers during the October
1998 to February 1999 period comes to about 10 hours per week. The national
survey of all Canadian adults conducted earlier in 1998 found an average of
about 15 hours. We tentatively conclude that Canadian teachers have less
discretionary time than the general public to engage in voluntary learning
activities. This difference may be related to teachers’ relatively long
employment hours and/or their very high participation in formal courses.
F. SUMMARY OF LEVEL OF FORMAL AND INFORMAL LEARNING ACTIVITIES OF
Earlier data in this paper suggested that there were significant differences
among teachers in relation to the amount of their further education activity,
depending upon factors such as gender, years of teaching experience, and so on.
By comparison however, there was very little difference among various categories
of respondents in relation to the time reported spent on their informal learning
activities - either related to their employment, or overall (cf. for
example, Appendix A - Table F-1). Elementary teachers may average slightly more
employment-related informal learning time (4 hrs/week) than secondary teachers
(3 hrs/week) as suggested in Appendix A - Table E-3. But teachers at all levels
of seniority tend to spend very similar amounts of time both in informal
learning related to their jobs and in total informal learning. This is in
contrast to the differing amounts of time they spend in further education
courses (Appendix A - Table E-4). While older teachers continue much higher
participation in courses than older Canadian adults generally, they do tend to
spend less time in such courses, an average of 5 hours per week for those with
over 20 years of teaching experience compared to 9 to 11 hours for their less
As compared to further education practices, where teachers engaged in
significantly more activity than the overall Canadian labour force (Table D-2),
respondents reported somewhat less engagement in informal activities, both in
relation to employment-related informal learning (4 vs 6 hours per week) and
overall informal learning (10 vs 15 hours).
G. GENERAL APPROACHES TO LEARNING
Teachers were also asked a number of questions related to how they saw
themselves as learners, in particular, how they went about engaging in learning
pursuits, and what they were interested in pursuing in the next twelve months.
Favoured Modes of Informal Learning - One question asked whether
respondents usually learned about general interest knowledge on their own, or
with others. Over one-third (37%) stated that they usually sought these things
out on their own, while about 8% engaged in these activities primarily with
others. By comparison, about one-quarter engaged about equally in each
formats, while the remaining 30% varied, according to the type of learning
involved (Table G-1).
Table G-1 - Favoured Modes of Informal Learning
|On their own
Formal vs. Informal Learning Preferences - Similarly, another question
required respondents to think about their preferences for modes of learning -
course-based, or more informal. Only 12% clearly favoured formal course-based
learning, while a quarter favoured learning informally (whether on their own or
with others). By comparison over 22% indicated that they favoured both
modes equally, while almost half of all respondents (49%) stated that the
decision depended in each instance upon what is to be learned.12
These preferences differed from the general population survey, in that the
latter group was much more explicit about selecting either formal courses (23%)
or informal learning (64%) (Table G-2).
However, a separate question, asking respondents to choose outright
between "formal courses" and "outside formal courses" (i.e.
informal learning) as the more preferred mode for further learning, proved
informative. While 20% selected formal courses and 58%
selected informal modes, 14% (104) wrote in (or otherwise indicated)
"both" and 8% (59) did not answer the question.
Table G-2 - Formal and Informal Learning Preferences - Teachers, Labour
Force and General Population
||General Adult Population
|Informal Learning - Self or With Others
|Both types equally
|Depends on what is being learned
Finally, when asked how they preferred to plan a self-learning activity
outside of a course or training program, respondents indicated a number of
different preferences, with some selecting more than one option. 58% indicated
that they would usually work it out on their own, 38% stated that they would
seek help from a friend, peer or family member, 20% would seek out an expert,
professional or guide, while 18% would consider cooperating with a group or
network of friends or family members.
H. FUTURE LEARNING INTERESTS
Finally, teachers were asked what they were most interested in learning about
in the next 12 months, both through formal and informal means.
Over 80% (81%) of all respondents indicated that they had a definite interest
in engaging in further education, and through this mode, two specific areas
stood out. Over half (56%) of all respondents expressed interest in
further teacher development, either broadly or more specifically defined (eg.
teacher education, curriculum development/implementation, further academic
pursuits, student issues, ESL, etc) while another 26% selected computers as an
area of prime further education interest. The remaining 18% of respondents
selected from among 30 other areas of interest, ranging across the fields of
work, further academic pursuits, and general interest areas (Table H-1).
Table H-1 - Most Important Future Further Education Interests
|Themes Relating Directly to Teaching
While almost the same number of respondents (79%) also indicated they were
interested in engaging in informal learning over the next 12 months, their
selections of topics were somewhat more widely distributed. While 14%
selected computers, and a further 11% expressed interest in pursuing further
teaching and academic-related learning in informal ways, the remaining
three-quarters of respondents selected from among the 27 other areas of
informal learning interests.
Based upon the returns from this cross-Canada sampled survey, it would appear
that elementary and secondary school teachers share a number of similarities
about their work load, their own engagement in further education, the extent to
which they engage in informal learning, and their interests and plans for future
Full-time teachers surveyed in this study reported an average overall
workload of almost 47 hours a week. Over 38 of these hours were spent in school,
working directly with students and undertaking related tasks such as
preparation, marking, supervision, administration, etc. An additional nine hours
of directly related school work were spent each week in their homes. These
figures are virtually identical to those found in a number of other studies
undertaken in Ontario, Saskatchewan, Nova Scotia and the United States in the
past five years.
Over 85% of all teachers reported that they had engaged in one or more formal
courses and/or workshops in the preceding year, while over a third had taken
three or four such courses. ( In this regard, teachers appear to be much more
engaged in further education than those working in the Canadian labour force
overall, where only 43% were similarly involved.) The subject nature of these
courses varied considerably. Over 60% of all teachers engaged in courses with
employment-related themes, while over a third learned about computers and over a
quarter undertook academic courses. Almost half of those taking courses
reported that one or more of these courses were required or recommended by an
employer. On average, teachers reported spending 31 hours in actual attendance
at courses over the preceding year. However, when the time spent on course
assignments, preparation and studying was factored in, teachers spent an average
of almost twelve hours per week, or 600 hours per year.
In addition to reporting on time spent in further education activities,
teachers reported that they were actively engaged in informal learning activity.
Over 98% stated that they were continually "learning on the job"
- almost 90% were informally gaining knowledge and skills in computers, while
well over 60% also reported learning in each of a number of work-related areas -
teamwork/communication skills, teaching a particular grade/subject, classroom
management, student problems, and keeping up with new teaching-related
knowledge. Over 80% of respondents reported that they engaged in informal
learning primarily through working collaboratively with colleagues. In addition,
over 85% reported that they used computers in their own homes for an average of
2.5 hours per week, while over 50% spent an additional two hours per week
specifically on Internet.
80% of teachers indicated an interest in engaging in both further education
and informal learning over the following year. 45% expressed interest in
courses that developed their skills, knowledge and qualifications as teachers,
while a further 26% stated they wished to take computer-related courses.
Similar wide-spread commitment was indicated for continued informal learning,
dispersed across a wide array of almost thirty categories of subject
Overall, Canadian teachers are almost twice as likely to be engaged in
further education as the general labour force. Teachers are also less likely to
declare that they do extensive informal learning related either to their
employment or to their general interests. Nevertheless, virtually all teachers
recognize that they do informal learning on the job, see much of their informal
learning as closely related to their jobs, and estimate that they do a
substantial amount of informal learning (about 10 hours a week) beyond their
heavy employment hours and their very high participation in further education.
1. See Livingstone (1999) for an overview.
2. British Columbia does not have province-wide mandatory membership
legislation, but reports a voluntary membership of over 95%.
3. All data reported in this paper have been weighted to ensure accurate
representation by region, based upon the overall numbers of teachers in each
province as reported by provincial teachers' federations.
4. Data provided by Canadian Teachers' Federation, Statistics Canada 1997 and
Tremblay 1997. This slightly higher average age can be at least partly
explained by the two or three year difference in data collection dates, combined
with the recent phenomenon of Canada's aging teacher population
5. In all following data, each response rate is calculated as the percentage
of those responding to that particular question.
6. In this report, the terms "formal learning" and
"further education" will be taken to have similar meanings, and will
be used interchangeably.
7. In addition, 5% had taken language courses, and 7% indicated other kinds
8. All averages relating to time spent on learning activities are expressed
as means. In calculating these means, individual responses of over 35
hours per week have been capped at 35 hours.
9. As compared to the general population survey, the response option
"no time to participate in formal courses" was not listed among those
available on the teachers' questionnaire form.
10. Other themes included organizing/planning skills, computers, elder care,
auto/boat repair, technical matters, etc.
11. In addition, four themes were each selected by at least 20% of those
responding (religion/spirituality, relationships, social skills/personal
development/ pet care, and public/political issues), while a further four areas
were each selected by at least 12% of those answering this question (cultural
traditions/customs, environmental issues, language skills, and
12. 55 respondents (7% of total) selected more than one option in this
14. Central refers to teachers sampled from the following Ontario
federations: ETFO, OECTA and OSSTF.
Althouse, J.G. (1929). The Ontario Teacher: A Historical Account of Progress,
1800-1910. Ph.D. Diss., University of Toronto; reprinted, Ontario
Teachers' Federation, 1972.
Briscoe, Carol (1997). Cognitive Frameworks and Teacher Practices: A
Case Study of Teacher Learning and Change. The Journal of Educational
Curtis, Bruce (1988). Building the Educational State: Canada West, 1836-1871.
London: The Althouse Press.
Darling-Hammond, Linda (1998). Teachers and Teaching: Testing Policy
Hypothesis from a National Commission Report. Educational Researcher 27/1.
Darling-Hammond, Linda and Deborah Ball (1998). Teaching for High
Standards: What Policymakers Need to Know and Be Able to Do. ERIC
Donmoyer, Robert (1995). The Very Idea of a Knowledge Base. Paper
presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research
Association, San Francisco, April.
Drago, Robert et al (1999). New Estimates of Working Time for
Elementary School Teachers. Monthly Labor Review 122/4, April.
Fleming, W.G. (1972). Ontario's Educative Society. Toronto: University
of Toronto Press.
Gibson, Susan and Dianne Olberg (1998). Learning to Use the Internet: A Study
of Teacher Learning through Collaborative Research Partnerships. The
Alberta Journal of Educational Research 44/2.
Goodman (1995). Change without Difference: School Restructuring
in Historical Perspective. Harvard Educational Review 65/1.
Hargreaves, Andy (1992). Time and Teachers' Work: An Analysis of the
Intensification Thesis. Teachers College Record 94/1.
Holmes Group (1986). Tomorrow's Schools: A Report of the Holmes Group. East
Lansing, Michigan: Author.
Holmes Group (1990). Tomorrow's Schools: Principles for the Design of
Professional Development Schools. East Lansing, Michigan: Author.
Hopkins, R.A. (1969). The Long March: A History of the Ontario Public School
Men Teachers' Federation. Toronto: Baxter Press.
Katz, Michael (1971). Class, Bureaucracy and Schools. New York: Praeger
Klein, Perry (1996). Preservice Teachers' Beliefs about Learning and
Knowledge. The Alberta Journal of Educational Research 42/4.
Labaree, David (1992). Power, Knowledge, and the Rationalization of Teaching:
A Genealogy of the Movement to Professionalize Teaching. Harvard Educational
LeBlanc, Clarence (1994). Teacher Time: Education's Critical
Resource. Education Canada 34/2.
Livingstone, D. W. (1999). Exploring the Icebergs of Adult Learning: Findings
of the First Canadian Survey of Informal Learning Practices. The Canadian
Journal for the Study of Adult Learning 13/2.
Livingstone, D.W. (2000). Reproducing Educational Inequalities in a
Learning Society: Conceptual Gaps and Recent Canadian Research on Barriers to
Adult Education.The Canadian Journal for the Study of Adult Learning
Michelson, William and Andrew Harvey (1999). Is Teachers' Work Never
Done?: Time-Use and Subjective Outcomes. Paper presented at the Annual
Meetings of the American Sociological Association, Chicago, August.
National Centre for Education Statistics (1997). Time Spent Teaching Core
Academic Subjects in Elementary Schools. Washington: U.S. Department
National Union of Teachers (1998). Joint Submission to the School
Teachers' Review Body 1998. Http://www.teachers.org.uk/data/jtrb.htm.
OECD 1998. Teachers for Tomorrow's Schools. Paris: Centre for
Educational Research and Innovation.
Ontario College of Teachers (1999). Professional Learning Survey
Results: Executive Summary. Toronto: Ontario College of
Ontario Government (1995). Province to Proceed with Ontario College of
Teachers. Ministry of Education News Release Communique, November 21.
Ontario Government (2000). Ontario Teacher Testing Program. Toronto:
Ontario Ministry of Education.
Ontario Secondary School Teachers' Federation (1999). A Report on
Teacher Testing. Toronto: OSSTF.
Pederson, K. George (1994). The Case for Reform in Teacher Education.
Education Canada 13/4.
Popkewitz, Thomas (1994). Professionalization in Teaching and Teacher
Education: Some Notes on Its History, Ideology, and Potential. Teaching and
Teacher Education 10/1.
Robinson, S.G.B. (1971). Do Not Erase. Toronto: Ontario Secondary
School Teachers' Federation.
Royal Commission on Education in Ontario (1950). Report 1950.
Toronto: Ontario Government.
Saskachewan Teachers Federation 1996. A Study of the Workload and
Worklife of Saskatchewan Teachers. Regina: Saskatchewan Teachers'
Smaller et al (2000). Teacher Learning, Informal and Formal: Results of a
French and English Canadian Teachers Survey. Unpublished paper.
Statistics Canada. Education in Canada, 1997. Ottawa: Statistics
Tremblay, Alain (1997). Are We Headed for a Teacher Surplus?
Education Quarterly Review 4/1.
APPENDIX A - TABLES
Table D-5 - Formal Learning Activities, Hours per Week by Gender
Table D-6 - Formal Learning Activities, Hours per Week by Years of Teaching
||Over 20 years
Table D-7 - Formal Learning Activities, Hours per Week - Classroom
Table D-8 - Formal Learning Activities, Hours per Week -Elementary/Secondary
Table D-9 - Formal Learning Activities, Hours per Week by Gender and Family
Table D-10 - Formal Learning Activities, Hours per Week by Region
Table E-3 - Informal Workplace Learning, Elementary and Secondary Teachers,
Hours per week
||Workplace Informal Learning -
Table F-1 - Formal and Informal Learning Activities, Hours per Week by Gender
|| Informal Learning
- At Work
| Informal Learning
Table F-2 - Formal and Informal Learning Activities, Hours per Week by
|Years of Teaching
- At Work
|11 - 20
APPENDIX B - QUESTIONNAIRE
CANADIAN TEACHERS' LEARNING
INTRODUCTION - PLEASE READ THIS FIRST
This questionnaire consists of several
sections, each relating to a specific way you have learned.
Some sections relate to “Informal
Learning” - that is, learning you do outside of any formal classes or
organized programs. This includes informal learning which takes place in
your home, your community and your workplace. It includes any activity,
and any subject, in which you gain knowledge, skill, or understanding. It can
be learning you have done on your own or with other people. It can be planned or
it can just happen.
Other sections relate to “Formal
Learning” - that is, learning you do as a result of your participating in
an organized workshop, course or program, no matter what the length, or topic,
or sponsoring agency. It is learning which takes place at a scheduled time
with an instructor or group leader, or through distance education courses.
In addition, there is a section which asks
you some background information, to ensure that we get an accurate sample of people
in our overall survey.
A. CURRENT/RECENT FORMAL
EDUCATION PROGRAMS AND COURSES
1. (a) During the
past 12 months, have you taken any formal organized workshops, courses or
programs for education,
training or general interest (regardless of length)? a) Yes
b) No (Go to question 7a)
indicate the subject or content of these programs (workshop, seminars, and/or
courses) you have taken (circle
one or more)
a) Academic courses
b) Recreation, leisure-related
c) Work-related courses
d) Language courses
f) Other (Please describe) ______________________________
indicate how you have engaged in these formal programs or courses (circle one or
a) Group/classroom-based courses offered by a college or university
b) Group/classroom-based courses offered by other institutions/organizations
d) Conferences or seminars
e) Private lessons
f) Correspondence courses
g) Internet/distance/media-based education programs
h) Other (Please explain) _______________________________
In total, how many formal organized courses, have you taken in the past 12
months (regardless of length) ?___ courses.
Please calculate the total number of hours you spent in the past 12 months
engaging in these courses - actual time
spent with a leader or teacher. (Do not include time spent on preparing/working
on assignments, or
correspondence courses). ________ hours in total.
4. (a) Were any of the workshops,
courses or programs part of a degree, diploma or certificate program at a
community college, technical or business school? a)Yes b) No
(b) Did any of
these courses qualify you for (additional) certification related to your
teaching credentials ? (Eg. Guidance,
Special Education, Other Subject Areas, Student Evaluation, Principalship, etc)
a) Yes b) No
Please give your best guess at how many hours in a normal week you spent in the
past year on all of your formal
organized workshops, courses and programs, counting time in class, doing
homework and course assignments, and any
time studying on your own or with others. ______ hours.
6. (a) Who paid for the
course(s) you took in the last year? (Check as many as apply)
a) Yourself or family
b) Your employer (school board, school)
c) Union or professional association
d) Combined employer/union/professional assocation support
e) Cultural or community organization
f) Grant from foundation or other source.
g) Other source (please specify) __________________________________
h) There were no fees
any of the courses which you took in the past year required or recommended by an
employer (eg. school
board, principal)? a) Yes
any of the courses which you took in the past year required or recommended by
any other work-related
organization (eg. professional association, federation)?
a)Yes b) No
7. (a) Are you planning on
taking any (additional) courses in the next few years? a) Yes
b) Maybe c) No
you answered No? above, or are undecided, why would this be the case?
a) No relevant courses available
b) They are held at inconvenient times and/or places;
c) Lack of employer support
d) Other family responsibilities
e) Health reasons
f) Too expensive
g) Other (please explain)___________________________________
B. INFORMAL LEARNING - IN THE
8. (a) Are you involved in any
unpaid volunteer activities in community organizations (such as civic or
service clubs, fraternal, cultural, educational, or hobby organizations, sports
or recreational teams, religious,
neighbourhood or school associations, environmental or other community
a) Yes b) No (Go to question
(b) About how many
hours per week, on average, are you involved with these community groups? _____
hours per week.
We're interested here in any new knowledge, skills, or understandings that you
gained informally in the past twelve
months, as a result of your involvement in any of the any community
organizations referred to in question (8) above. Did
you learn anything by yourself or with others about any of the following (please
circle one or more):
a) Fund-raising skills
b) Technical skills, or related knowledge or understanding (eg. first aid,
coaching, word processing.)
c) Organizational or managerial skills? (Eg. organizing resources, leadership
and planning skills.)
d) Increased knowledge about social issues? (Eg. Health, political,
criminal justice, environment and related issues.)
e) Communication skills? (Eg. public speaking and public relations issues.)
f) Interpersonal skills?( Eg. help in understanding people and difficult
g) Other skills or knowledge that you acquired informally in the past year as a
result of doing volunteer or community
work? (Please specify) ________________________________________________________
10. During your
hours of volunteer community work listed above, approximately how many of
those hours (on average,
per week) involved actual informal learning on your part (ie. not
including time for formal organized courses,
programs or workshops)? ______ hours per week.
11. What is the
MOST important knowledge, skill, or understanding related to your community
activities that you gained in the past 12 months through informal learning?
12. (a) Do you think that any of this
informal learning could be applied to your paid employment? a) Yes
answered yes or no above, please explain why you think this is so:
INFORMAL LEARNING - IN THE WORKPLACE
Note: These questions refer to learning
which has taken place in your workplace, but outside of formally organized
workshops, courses or programs - informal learning which you have acquired on
your own and in discussions with others. By "workplace" we
mean any locale related to your work as teachers - classrooms, staff rooms,
schools in general, education offices, committee meetings, staff meetings,
parent-teacher meetings, subject associations, teacher federation/union
activities, conferences, work-related research, etc.
13. In the
past twelve months, at work or in the context of your work, have you
learned anything informally about any of
the following work-related themes, which assisted you in your present job,
and/or would assist you in assuming
new job responsibilities? (Check as many as apply)
b) Other new technologies or equipment?
c) Supervisory or management skills?
d) Team work, problem solving, communications skills?
e) Learning another language?
f) Teaching your particular grade/subject matter?
g) Classroom strategies, classroom management and related issues?
h) Student problems (related to their individual or social situation)?
i) Extra-curricular student activities (Sports, clubs, music, etc)
j) Keeping up with new knowledge related to teaching?
k) Other? (please describe)_________________________________
14. In the
past twelve months, have you learned anything informally about any of the
following work-related issues (circle
one or more):
a) Occupational health and safety
b) Environmental issues related to your work
c) Employee rights and benefits
d) Equity/gender issues
e) Curriculum policy/development
f) Teacher education/development
g) Other work-related issues (please
h) None of the above
give your best estimate of the average number of hours per week in the past year
you have spend learning, in
an informal way, about all of the
employment-related things you have listed in this section. _____ hours per week.
16. Do you
spend most of this employment-related informal learning time on your own, or
with others? (Circle one or ore)
a) On my own
b) With other colleagues
c) With students
d) With parents
e) With principals or school board administrators
f) Other (please explain) ______________________________________
17. What is
the MOST important knowledge, skill, or understanding related to your current or
future paid employment that
you gained in the past 12 months through informal learning?
INFORMAL LEARNING - IN THE HOME (Non-Employment Related)
18) About how many hours a
week do you usually spend doing things around the home? (This includes
like cooking, cleaning, home maintenance and repair, shopping, child or
elder care, renovations or other do-it-yourself
projects, home budgeting, housework, and all other household tasks.) _____
hours per week.
19) Think of any learning you
have done on your own or with others in relation to housework and all other
in the past year. For each of the following activities, please circle those in
which you have learned anything which you
couldn't do or didn't know a year ago. (Informal learning only - not based on
any formal/organized course activities)
a)Home/auto maintenance and/or repair
d)Child or elder care
e)Shopping (groceries, clothes, etc.)
f) Renovations or other do-it-yourself projects
g) Home budgeting
h)Gardening or farming
i) Other household tasks or house work type of activities that you have learned
something about in the past year?
20) As compared to simply
working on household tasks, approximately how many hours did you spend in a
last year learning about anything related to household tasks, housework or
related activities? _____ hours per week.
21) What is the most important
knowledge, skill or understanding you gained in the past year through your
housework or related activities?
INFORMAL LEARNING - OTHER ACTIVITIES (Non-Employment Related)
22) Think of
any learning you have done in the past year, either on your own or with others
in relation to recreational
activities. Please circle any of the following activities in which you have
learned things which you couldn't do or didn't
know a year ago. Items in brackets are only examples. (Note: Informal learning
only - not as a result of any
formal/organized course activities)
a) Sports or recreation (eg. basketball, cards)
b) New practical skills in the last year (eg. driving car , public speaking).
c) Cultural traditions or customs (eg. ceremonial dances, stories).
d) Leisure and hobbies (eg. arts and crafts, music)
e) Social skills and personal development.
f) Health issues.
g) Finances (eg. investing)
h) Computers or new computing skills
i) Language skills (learning a new language or adding to your vocabulary).
j) Science or technology (eg. biology, electronics)
k) Intimate relationships.
l) Religion or spirituality.
m) Environmental issues.
n) Pet care.
o) Public or political issues.
p) Other things which you have learned outside of formal classes in the last
year, that weren't related to employment, community activities or housework
23) How many
hours did you spend in a typical week last year in these types of learning
activities not related to employment, community organizations or housework?
______ hours per week.
about your informal learning not related to employment, community organizations
or housework, what is the most important knowledge, skill or understanding
you gained in the past year?
GENERAL APPROACH TO LEARNING
25) Do you usually
learn about general interest knowledge on your own or with others?
a)on my own
c)both about equally
d)varies according to type of learning
26) When you are trying
to learn something outside of a formal course or training program, how do you usually
what you need to learn and how to go about it:
a)Work it out on my own
b)Get an expert or professional or guide
c)Get an friend, peer or family member to help me
d)Co-operate with a group or network of friends, or family members
e)Do not usually plan
f)Other (please specify) _______________________________
27) Which of the
following best describes what you do when you want to learn about something. Do
a) prefer to learn by taking a course or class;
b) prefer to learn by yourself or with others in your own way
c) both equally
d)depends on what is being learned
28) What are you
most interested in learning about, on a formal basis, in the
next 12 months? _____________________________________________
29) What are you most
interested in learning about, on an informal basis, in the next 12 months?
30) In the future,
how are you more likely to do your learning?
a) Through formal courses
b) Outside of courses _____________
31) Year of birth
Female b) Male
33) (a) Were you born in
Canada? a) Yes
(b) If No, please state country of birth: ____________________
Number of years that you have lived in Canada: ____________
(c) If Yes, please state province of birth: _____________________
34) How would you describe
your race or colour?
c) South Asian
e) Aboriginal/First Nations
f) East Asian
g) Other (please specify) __________________________________
35) Level of Schooling
(circle one or more)
a) High School
b) Some university
c) Completed undergraduate university degree
d) Completed post-secondary technical/commercial/vocational program
e) Some graduate university
f) Completed graduate university degree
36) Which of the following
degrees do you hold, if any?
a) Bachelor of Arts
b) Bachelor of Education
c) Masters Degree
d) Doctoral Degree
37) Overall, how
effective were the following programs in preparing you for
university education (academic component-other than teacher training)
a) Very effective; b) Somewhat effective; c) Not very effective; d)
(b) Your teacher
education program (or component):
a) Very effective; b) Somewhat effective; c) Not very effective; d)
in-service education courses and programs
a) Very effective; b) Somewhat effective; c) Not very effective; d)
38) In which
language can you express yourself MOST easily?
a) English b) French
c) Other (please specify) _________________________
39)(a) In addition to English or French,
and any other language listed in question (38) above, do you speak any other
well enough to hold a conversation? a) Yes b)No
(b) If Yes
(please specify one or more) ________________________
40) In general,
how would you rate your math skills or ability to work with numbers:
41) How often do
you sit read down to read a book, outside of your workplace?
b) a few times a week
c) less than once a week.
42) Do you
buy/subscribe to one or more daily newspapers? a) Yes
43) Do you
buy/subscribe to any other types of newspapers, magazines, or newsletters?
a) Yes b) No
44) How much time do you
usually spend each day watching TV or videos?
a) less than 1 hour per day
b) 1 to 2 hours per day
c) more than 2 hours but less than five
d) more than 5 hours per day
e) rarely watch
f) do not watch on a daily basis
g) do not have a television or videos
h) don't know
45) How often do you
follow news and current affairs through the radio, newspaper, TV or other media
b) several times a week
c) several times a month
d) rarely or never
e) don't know
46) (a) Are you presently:
a) Employed Full-time
b) Employed Part-time
c) Retired (Go to Question __)
d) Laid off/unemployed (Go to Question _)
e) On leave (Go to Question ____)
Part-time, was this your choice? a) Yes b)
describe your present position:
a) Classroom teacher
b) School librarian
c) Head or Assistant Head of Department
d) In-School Administrator (eg. Principal, Vice-Principal)
e) Other (please specify) ______________________
48) What type of
school do you presently work in?
a) Primary School
b) Middle school or Junior High School
c) Academic High School
d) Technical, Commercial or Vocational Secondary School
e) Composite Secondary School
f) K-12 School
g) Adult (continuing education) school/centre
h) Other (please specify) ____________________________
49)(a) Where is your school located?
b) Metropolitan area
d) Smaller city or town
f) Other (please explain) __________________________
49)(b) Approximate number of students in
a) Less than 100
b) 100 - 299
c) 300 - 599
d) 600 - 1000
e) Over 1000
50) If you have one or
more subject specialities which take up a considerable portion of your teaching
day/week (eg. History, Drama, Phys Ed, Computers, Technical, etc), please list
(one or more) here:_____________________________________________
51) According to your
assigned timetable, approximately how many hours per week are you personally
a) to work (teach) directly with your own students? _______ hours.
b) to perform other specified tasks (hall supervision, temporarily covering
other classes, administration, school
library, etc)? ______ hours.
c) for your own time to prepare for classes and evaluate student work?
d) for other designated responsibilities? _____ hours. (Please
52) In addition to your
assigned timetable, how many further hours per week, on average, do you spend on
work (preparing courses and lessons, gathering materials, marking and evaluating
students work, other extra-curricular
activities, department activities, talking with parents, teacher association
a) At school, before and after classes, and during lunch. ____ hours per week.
b) At home (evenings, mornings and weekends. ____ hours per week
c) Other locations (eg. library, school board)____ hours per week.
53) How many years have
you been employed in teaching or related educational work since gaining your
certification? _____ years.
54) Please indicate your
a) Married/living with a partner
d) Never married
e) Other ______________________
55) If applicable,
please state the number of dependent children living in your home:
a) Under 6 years of age_______
b) 6 to 12 years of age ________
c) Over 12 years of age ________
56) If you are married
or living with a partner, what is the highest level of schooling which your
spouse or partner obtained?
a) Elementary or High School
b) Some university
c) Completed undergraduate university degree
d) Completed post-secondary technical/commercial/vocational program
e) Completed teacher training
f) Some graduate university
g) Completed graduate university degree
57)(a) Is your spouse or partner currently
employed for pay? a) Yes b) No
(b) If yes, a)
Full time b) Part-time
58)(a) Do you use a computer at home?
a) Yes b) No
(b) If yes,
approximately how many hours per week, on average, do you use your computer at
home, for other than
Internet purposes? _______ hours per week.
59)(a) Do you use Internet from your home?
a) Yes b) No
If yes, approximately how many hours per week, on average, do you use Internet
on your computer at home?
_______ hours per week.
Many thanks for you time in completing
this questionnaire. In the space below (or on the back, or on a separate
sheet, if desired) please let us know what you think of this questionnaire and
our survey project. In the future, we may be contacting some respondents
to explore our research topic further. If you are willing to identify
yourself, please fill in this section:
Phone Number: _______________________