Canadian Teachers’ Federation announces citizenship program

July 15, 2010
Edmonton… The Canadian Teachers’ Federation (CTF) is launching a national bilingual program designed to assist teachers meet the challenges of using a critical thinking model to teach citizenship through active community-based projects. The program, called Imagineaction will be available to Canadian teachers in September.

“Quality education is about providing students with opportunities to infuse curriculum into real world situations,” CTF President Mary-Lou Donnelly explains. “Education should be about a student’s journey as a life-long learner and problem solver—it should be about teaching students to be critical thinkers and looking for opportunities to apply their knowledge in a transformative way.”

The CTF president says recent polling by her organization shows that more than nine out of 10 Canadians agree that public elementary and secondary schools should teach their students about values and ethical behaviour, human rights, peacemaking, environmental protection, and participatory democracy—“taking an active role in democracy as opposed to just voting in elections.”

“Virtually all Canadians surveyed agree that schools should be active participants in community projects such as recycling, community gardens and food drives,” says Donnelly. “Canadians understand that when community organizations support community school projects, it nurtures community-school relationships. Some 97 per cent of those surveyed agreed that it is possible for student-led projects to bring about positive change in a community.”

The findings are contained in the National Issues in Education Poll conducted by Vector Research for the CTF between Feb. and March 5, 2010. Some 2,591 Canadian adults took part in the online poll. The survey examined a wide range of issues, including Canadians’ priorities for education spending, as well as attitudes towards measuring student achievement, and emerging problems such as cyberbullying.

The new program will provide support for teachers and their students in four ways—funding subsidies, access to expertise, professional development and project showcases. Teachers will be able to register their projects and apply for funding in September 2010. They will also be able to browse current and past projects in order to connect with colleagues across the country and share their ideas.

The Imagineaction platform will also contain a database of individuals and organizations willing to share their expertise and a space that will allow teachers to upload text, pictures, video and other media to showcase the good work being done in their schools and communities.

“It is our hope that Imagineaction will serve as a catalyst to inspire teachers and their students to think critically about the world around them and to act to make their community a better place,” Donnelly told delegates attending the CTF Annual General Meeting in Edmonton this week.

The Canadian Teachers’ Federation (CTF) speaks for nearly 200,000 teachers in Canada as their national voice on education and related social issues. CTF membership includes teacher organizations across Canada. CTF is also a member of the international body of teachers, Education International.

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Comments:  Mary-Lou Donnelly, CTF President

Media Contact: Francine Filion, Director of Communications, 613-688-4314 or 613-899-4247 (cell)