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Professional Learning Framework

Developing the framework

Consistent with its role to establish “a provincial professional learning framework to support standards of practice and promote continuing competence among College members,” the Standards of Practice and Education Committee examined the principles of teachers' ongoing learning between August 1997 and April 1998.

The committee developed principles that honoured flexibility and adaptability to members' multiple learning styles and preferences. To impact on classroom practice, a program of ongoing professional learning must be accessible, valued and relevant to the members themselves. The literature review substantiated the College's direction with themes that underlined the importance of self-directed learning and teacher choice. For example:

  • Teacher learning is supported and stimulated through holistic integration of all dimensions of teacher development.
  • Teachers are aware of the moral and social purposes in their teaching and the impact their teaching has.
  • Teachers learn from other teachers.

With encouragement to personally select ongoing and dynamic learning activities, College members were acknowledged as self-directed learners who anticipated how their own professional learning could be integrated in a meaningful way into their practices.

As well, a focus on collaboration and shared knowledge would encourage long-term commitment to professional growth.

Focus groups held

With these goals in mind, the College held a series of focus groups.

  1. Series A included representatives from the Ontario Teachers' Federation (OTF) and each of the affiliates and members of faculties of education.

    A French-language focus group included representatives from the six regional teacher centres.

  2. Series B brought together elementary, secondary, Native, Catholic, French-language independent and public school educators along with trustees, parents and faculty representatives at:
    • Nipissing University (Northwestern Region)
    • Queen's University (Eastern Region)
    • University of Western Ontario (Western Region) and
    • Ontario College of Teachers (Central Region).

The themes resulting from this consultation reinforced the need for:

  • linking theory and practice
  • practical but also social skills
  • reflection
  • a focus on diversity
  • professional learning that is autonomous and self-directed.

The College gathered and analysed data from the focus groups, a survey pre-test and hundreds of written responses.

Survey conducted

In addition, a Professional Learning Survey was conducted by York University with 800 English-speaking and 70 French-speaking randomly selected classroom teachers.

Results from 510 returned questionnaires revealed that, as teachers became more experienced, their interests in professional learning became more focused and their school culture encouraged professional learning.

In general, these respondents said they were actively involved “in a variety of learning programs” both formally and informally.

Only 15 per cent felt professional development days provided “most of the professional learning needed in a typical year.”

Draft approved

On April 8, 1999, the Standards of Practice and Education Committee approved a draft Professional Learning Framework for the Teaching Profession. To solicit feedback, over 300 copies of the draft document were mailed to members of the public and the educational community in Ontario who had participated in the development of the framework.

Although the committee indicated that the ongoing consultations and feedback were positive, they determined additional feedback would be valuable. They passed a resolution that extended feedback for the Professional Learning Framework for the Teaching Profession until December 31, 1999.

On August 25, 2000, the Standards of Practice and Education Committee passed the Professional Learning Framework for the Teaching Profession that was subsequently approved by Council at the October 12-13, 2000 meeting.

Read about opportunities for professional learning in the Professional Learning Framework for the Teaching Profession.

101 Bloor Street West, Toronto ON, M5S 0A1, P: 416-961-8800 / Toll Free (Ontario Only): 1-888-534-2222 /
F: 416-961-8822 / info@oct.ca

© 2014 Ontario College of Teachers

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