National report gives voice to teachers’ perspectives on teaching and learning

July 13, 2011
OTTAWA… A Canadian Teachers’ Federation (CTF) report released today entitled The Voice of Canadian Teachers on Teaching and Learning draws on teachers’ substantial pool of experience, expertise and knowledge about teaching and learning to enhance the quality of public education. According to the Federation president, the report is timely and authentic, and is based on a recent teacher survey never before reported publicly. Please click here to order a copy.

“Increasingly, educational policy decisions are being informed by people with little or no background in public education,” explains CTF President Mary-Lou Donnelly. “Often missing in the debate is the voice of teachers who play such an important role supporting, inspiring and educating our country's future generation. This report aims to give expression to the collective views of teachers on K-12 education issues, with a view to informing and influencing education policy decisions to enhance the quality of education all students receive. Canada has one of the best public education systems in the world and through the leadership of teachers, we can make it even stronger,” explains Donnelly.

Teachers have told us about why they enter the profession and why they remain:

  • Almost 9 in 10 Canadian teachers believe that some of the “very” important purposes of public education include “Preparing students to become responsible citizens” (88%), “Ensuring that students acquire the basic skills: reading, writing, mathematics” (87%) and “Preparing students to be life-long learners” (86%).
  • 86% of Canadian teachers indicated that the fact that they “Enjoy working with children” was a “very” important factor regarding their decision to remain in teaching, ranking it the highest among 10 factors surveyed.
  • Over 8 in 10 teachers also reported the following factors as “very” important: “Making a difference in children’s lives” (82%); “Enjoy teaching/job satisfaction” (81%); and “Being good at your job” (80%).
  • 8 in 10 teachers said they would make the same choice to become a teacher if they could go back in time.


Teachers also told us about their concerns about meeting the needs of their students:

  • A majority report that, given the pressures they face, they are “very” concerned about “Ensuring that students achieve their potential” (60%), “Developing the capacity for critical thinking in students” (57%), and “Promoting good life habits among students” (50%).
  • 91% of respondents reported a negative influence on their ability to help students achieve to their potential with respect to “Reduction in human resources”, followed by “Socio-economic changes in the community” (74%), “Fluctuation of student population”(73%) and “Use of provincial standardized tests” (62%).


“Teachers have told us that while new communications and information technologies are a major positive influence on their students’ education, there is still a lack of resources and opportunities in place for related professional development.

"School budget and staff cuts are of great concern to teachers who worry about not being able to support their students. They also say that their students’ mental health issues have become a major challenge for teachers who have little or no support in dealing with them. Poverty was also highlighted as a key factor affecting the quality of their students’ education.”

When asked which measures would be most effective to improve education, the majority of teachers responded with “smaller class sizes”.  Teachers also indicated that a major area of concern remains standardized testing because of its narrow focus and the fact that it diverts attention from other subject areas such as the arts and citizenship education.

The national survey was conducted in spring 2011 involving 434 teachers from Newfoundland and Labrador, Prince Edward Island, Ontario, New Brunswick, Alberta, Manitoba, Northwest Territories, Nunavut, Nova Scotia and the Yukon. Teachers were asked questions on a wide range of issues related to teaching and learning.

CTF is the only organization that speaks nationally on behalf of the Canadian teaching profession. It is an alliance of 17 Member organizations representing nearly 200,000 teachers across the country. CTF is also a member of the international body of teachers, Education International.

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Media Contact:

CTF President Mary-Lou Donnelly

 Myles Ellis, CTF Director of Research and Information

 Francine Filion, CTF Director of Communications, 613-899-4247 (cell)