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NALL Working Paper #14-2000
 
Teacher Learning, Informal and Formal:
Results of a Canadian Teachers' Federation Survey*

Harry Smaller
York University
Rosemary Clark
OSSTF
Doug Hart
OISE/UT
David Livingstone
OISE/UT
Zahra Noormohamed
York University

 

Abstract:

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 year.

 

INTRODUCTION

This study has evolved from the confluence of three distinct, but related, themes.

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 regard.

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).

METHODOLOGY

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 computer/internet use.

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.

FINDINGS

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 other sources.4

Table B-1 - Comparative Data on Canadian Teachers, by Gender, Age and Region
 
 
Atlantic
 Ontario
 West
Total
 
 StatCan
%
Study
%
 StatCan
%
Study
%
 StatCan
%
Study
%
 StatCan
%
Study
%
Age
 <30
 30-39
 40-49
 50+
20
23
45
12
9
17
51
24
11
29
35
26
8
35
27
30
16
25
39
21
5
18
35
40
14
27
37
22
7
27
34
33
Gender
 Female
 Male
65
35
64
36
69
31
69
31
66
34
64
36
67
33
67
33

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
 
School Type
 Primary
 Middle/Jr
 Secondary
K-12
Other
schls
Other than 
schl
% Respondents
 47% 
10% 
31% 
7%
4%
1%

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
Over 1000
% of teachers
 25% 
39% 
17% 
18%

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
 
 
Female
Male
Total
 
 %
N
 % 
N
 %
N
Full-time 
Part-time
On leave 
Recently retired
Total
65%
89%
100%
45%
67%
412
56
20
9
496
35%
11%
0%
55%
33%
225
7
0
11
243
86% 
9%
3%
3%
100%
637
63
20
20
740

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 Months
 
# Courses 
1 or more 
1 or 2 
3 or 4
5 or more
%Teachers
N=746
86%
38%
35%
27%

Table D-2  -  Participation in Formal Learning Activities - Teachers, Labour Force and Adult Population.
 
 Teachers
 Labour Force 
Adult Population
(excluding full-time students)
86%
N=753 
49%
N=840
44%
N=1424

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 Courses
 
Years of teaching experience 
 % taking formal courses and workshops
 
All respondents
N = 736
All full-time classroom teachers
N = 468
1-10 years
89% 
 87%
11-20 years
 89%
 89%
21+ years
82%
83%

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
Work-related
themes
Computers
Academic 
courses
Recreation-related c
ourses
86% 
61% 
37%
 27% 
21%

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 credentials.

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 Force
 
 
Take course in next twelve months?
Teachers
N=753
Canadian Labour Force
N=950
Yes 
61% 
60%
Maybe 
27% 
10%
No 
12%
30%

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 
Computer 
Student Issues
 Specific grade/ subject 
Communication skills
Classroom management skills
New knowledge related to teaching
98% 
89% 
65% 
68% 
63% 
63% 
63%

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 parents (14%).

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
 
 
Computers
Teacher education 
and development
Curriculum policy,
development, implementation
Other themes
(21 in total)
27% 
19% 
17% 
37%

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 time.

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 E-4).

Table E-4 - Computer Use at Home - Teachers, General Population and Labour Force.
 
 
Computer Use at Home
Internet Use at Home
Teachers 
General Adult Population 
General Labour Force 
86%
48% 
57% 
54%
29%
33%

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 RESPONDENTS

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 experienced colleagues.

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
With others
Both modes
 equally
Depends upon
situation
37% 
8%
25% 
30%

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
 
Learning Preference
Teachers
Labour Force
General Adult Population
Formal Courses 
12%
 24% 
23%
Informal Learning - Self or With Others
26%
61%
64%
Both types equally
22%
5%
5%
Depends on what is being learned
49% 
10% 
9%

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
Other Themes
Teacher 
Education
Other School 
Related
Academic 
Courses
Total
Computers
Retirement/
Travel
Other Personal
21% 
17% 
18% 
56% 
26%
 6% 
13%

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.

I. SUMMARY

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 self-learning.

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 interest.

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.


Notes

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 of courses.

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 science/technology).

12. 55 respondents (7% of total) selected more than one option in this question.

14. Central refers to teachers sampled from the following Ontario federations: ETFO, OECTA and OSSTF.



BIBLIOGRAPHY

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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.

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Drago, Robert et al (1999).  New  Estimates of Working Time for Elementary School Teachers. Monthly Labor Review 122/4, April.

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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 Press.

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 Review 62/2.

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 (forthcoming).

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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 Teachers.

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.

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Saskachewan Teachers Federation 1996.  A Study of the Workload and Worklife of Saskatchewan Teachers.  Regina:  Saskatchewan Teachers' Federation.

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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
 
Female 
Male 
Total
Mean 
9
338
7
146

484

Table D-6 - Formal Learning Activities, Hours per Week by Years of Teaching Experience
 
1-10 years 
11-20 years 
Over 20 years 
Total
Mean 

162 

143 
10 
180 
8
485

Table D-7 - Formal Learning Activities, Hours per Week - Classroom Teacher/Other Responsibility
 
Classroom Teacher 
Other Responsibility 
Total
Mean 

345 

145 
8
490

Table D-8 - Formal Learning Activities, Hours per Week -Elementary/Secondary Teachers
 
Elementary 
Secondary 
Total
N
Mean
7
281 
10 
137 
8
418

Table D-9 - Formal Learning Activities, Hours per Week by Gender and Family Status
 
Female -
No kids 
Male -
No kids 
Female - 
Kids
Male -
Kids
Total
Mean 
N

157

56 
10 
181 
8
91 
8
485

Table D-10 - Formal Learning Activities, Hours per Week by Region
 
West 
Central13
Atlantic 
Total
Mean 
8
179
8
265
9
45
8
489

Table E-3 - Informal Workplace Learning, Elementary and Secondary Teachers,  Hours per week
   
Workplace Informal Learning - 
Hours/week
Elementary 
Mean
N
4
369
Secondary 
Mean
N
3
207
Total 
Mean
N
4
576

Table F-1 - Formal and Informal Learning Activities, Hours per Week by Gender
Gender 
 
Formal Learning
 Informal Learning
- At Work 
 Informal Learning
-Total
Female
Mean
N

338 

443 
10
486
Male
Mean
N

146 

217 
10
234
Total
Mean
N

484 
4
660
0
720

Table F-2 - Formal and Informal Learning Activities, Hours per Week by Teaching Experience
Years of Teaching  
Formal
Learning
Informal Learning
- At Work
Informal Learning
-Total
1 -10
Mean
N
9
159 
 4 
210 
11
222
11 - 20
Mean
N
11 
41 

179 
9
196
21+
Mean
N

77 

262 
11
290
Total
Mean
N
12 
477 

651 
10
708

 



APPENDIX B - QUESTIONNAIRE

CANADIAN  TEACHERS' LEARNING SURVEY

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)
     (b)  Please 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
            e) Computer-related
            f) Other (Please describe)  ______________________________
     (c)  Please indicate how you have engaged in these formal programs or courses (circle one or more):
           a) Group/classroom-based courses offered by a college or university
           b) Group/classroom-based courses offered by other institutions/organizations
           c) Workshops
           d) Conferences or seminars
           e) Private lessons
           f) Correspondence courses
           g) Internet/distance/media-based education programs
           h) Other (Please explain) _______________________________

2.        In total, how many formal organized courses, have you taken in the past 12 months (regardless of length) ?___ courses.

3.        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 university,
           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

5.        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
     (b)   Were any of the courses which you took in the past year required or recommended by an employer (eg. school
             board, principal)?     a) Yes          b) No
     (c)   Were 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
     (b)   If 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 COMMUNITY

8. (a)   Are you involved in any unpaid volunteer activities in community organizations (such as civic or political organizations,
           service clubs, fraternal, cultural, educational, or hobby organizations, sports or recreational teams, religious,
           neighbourhood or school associations, environmental  or other community  groups)?
           a) Yes         b) No (Go to question 13a)
     (b) About how many hours per week, on average, are you involved with these community groups? _____ hours per week.

9.       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 situations better.)
          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  b) No
      (b)Whether you answered yes or no above, please explain why you think this is so:
            __________________________________________________________

C.       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)
           a) Computers?
           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 specify)________________________________________________
           h) None of the above

15.      Please 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?

_________________________________________________________

D.      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 household work
         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 household tasks
         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
         b)Home cooking
         c)Cleaning
         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?
            (Please specify) ________________________________________________________________

20)   As compared to simply working on household tasks, approximately how many hours did you spend in a typical week
         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 household tasks,
        housework or related activities? _______________________________________________________________

E.       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 (please specify)
_____________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________ 

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.

24)      Thinking 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? 

_______________________________________________________________

F.       GENERAL APPROACH TO LEARNING

25)     Do you usually learn about general interest knowledge on your own or with others?
          a)on my own
          b)with others
          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 work out
         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 you generally:
          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
          e)don't know.

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  _____________

G.       BACKGROUND QUESTIONS

31)     Year of birth _________

32)     a)  Female b) Male

33)   (a)  Were you born in Canada?     a) Yes        b) No
        (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?
         a) White
         b) Chinese
         c) South Asian
         d) Black/Afro-Canadian
         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
          classroom teaching?
     (a) Your  university education (academic component-other than teacher training)
           a) Very effective; b) Somewhat effective;  c) Not very effective;  d) Don’t know.
     (b) Your teacher education program (or component):
           a) Very effective; b) Somewhat effective;  c) Not very effective;  d) Don’t know.
     (c) Subsequent in-service education courses and programs
           a) Very effective; b) Somewhat effective;  c) Not very effective;  d) Don’t know

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 languages
          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:
          a) Excellent
          b) Good
          c) Moderate
          d) Poor?

41)     How often do you sit read down to read a book, outside of your workplace?
          a) daily,
          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    b)  No

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 sources?
          a) daily
          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 ____)
       (b) If Part-time, was this your choice?   a) Yes     b)  No

47)      Please 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?
            a) Inner-city
            b) Metropolitan area
            c) Suburban
            d) Smaller city or town
            e) Rural
            f) Other (please explain) __________________________

49)(b) Approximate number of students in your school:
           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 scheduled in:
         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? ______hours.
         d) for other designated responsibilities? _____ hours.   (Please explain)
            ______________________________________________________

52)   In addition to your assigned timetable, how many further hours per week, on average, do you spend on school-related
        work (preparing courses and lessons, gathering materials, marking and evaluating students work, other extra-curricular
        activities, department activities, talking with parents, teacher association activities, etc).
         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 teacher
         certification? _____ years.

54)    Please indicate your present status:
         a) Married/living with a partner
         b) Separated/divorced
         c) Widowed
         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

      (b)  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:

Name: _______________________________
Address ______________________________
              ______________________________
Phone Number:   _______________________

   

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