New study offers candid glimpse at how Canadian teachers feel about teaching in today’s classrooms

July 10, 2012

HalifaxTeaching the Way We Aspire to Teach: Now and in the Future – a joint research report from the Canadian Education Association (CEA) and the Canadian Teachers’ Federation (CTF) – paints a national picture of who teachers are and articulates the support they need to teach at their best. The research involved extensive input from over 200 teachers who participated in CEA focus groups across the country and over 4,700 teachers who responded to a CTF online survey.

“Feedback from these focus groups was loud and clear. Teachers above all have a passion for teaching and a commitment to their students.” says CEA CEO Ron Canuel. “After 35 years in education, I can honestly say that the teacher voices I heard across the country have changed the way I think about teaching and how caring for students predominate their beliefs and actions. As a society, we tend to either forget or ignore this."

Focus group feedback exposed a difference between how teachers wanted to teach and how they felt that they were required to teach. Nearly half of teacher survey respondents (49%) indicated that they occasionally have opportunities to teach as they aspire to teach (and 9% indicated that they rarely or never have the opportunity to do so); 48% of respondents indicated that they are only occasionally able to be creative in their teaching practice (with 6% indicating rarely or never).

“What stands out for us in this report is the extent to which teachers thrive amid the myriad of external conditions imposed upon them,” says CTF President Paul Taillefer, “and the fact that they just want to be given the respect and flexibility they need to make the best decisions possible for their students’ academic success.”

This report also defines how provincial and territorial governments, administrators, and parents can best support teachers – from developing trusting relationships, policies and programs that increase flexibility in the classroom; and assessment policies that provide information useful to adapting learning. The focus groups were held from June 2011 to December 2011 and the online survey was conducted in May 2012.

Download full report here:

Founded in 1891, the Canadian Education Association (CEA) is a network of passionate educators advancing ideas for greater student and teacher engagement in public education. Follow CEA on, @RonCanuel

An alliance of 15 Member organizations and one Affiliate Member representing nearly 200,000 teachers across the country, the Canadian Teachers’ Federation (CTF) is a member of the international body of teachers, Education International (EI).

Follow CTF on Twitter @CTFPresident, @CanTeachersFed, @EnseigneCanada


To arrange an interview with spokespersons Ron Canuel (CEA CEO) and Paul Taillefer (CTF President) please contact:

Max Cooke
CEA Director of Communications
twinner: @max_cooke

Francine Filion
CTF Director of Communications