TORONTO, Aug. 11 /CNW/ - If elementary schools want to improve student
learning, they should focus on improving teacher working conditions, suggests
a new research report released today.
Based on its research on the experiences of elementary and secondary
public school teachers in Ontario, the report concludes working conditions are
more favourable for secondary teachers.
"Insofar as teacher working conditions are student learning conditions,
better working conditions would seem to be an obvious focus for school
improvement," says the report.
The report was produced by Kenneth Leithwood, a professor at the Ontario
Institute for Studies in Education (OISE) at the University of Toronto, on
behalf of the Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario (ETFO). Evidence for
the study was collected from phone interviews with a small number of teachers
who had recently worked in both elementary and secondary schools and from
survey responses from 3,000 elementary and secondary teachers.
When asked about the main differences in working conditions they
experienced as elementary and secondary teachers, teachers were unanimous in
the view that working conditions were more favourable for secondary teachers.
Almost all teachers who had worked in both elementary and secondary
schools indicated that workload volume in secondary schools was less demanding
than it had been in elementary schools. They also said the complexity of their
work in secondary schools was much reduced.
ETFO President David Clegg noted that Ontario school boards receive $711
less for each elementary student than for each secondary student, and this is
a key reason why working conditions are less favourable for elementary
"Teachers can play a key role in closing the gap between student
potential and student achievement, but only if they have the proper resources
and a supportive school environment," said Clegg.
Details of the teacher working conditions study were released at the ETFO
annual meeting in Toronto. The meeting continues until August 14.
The Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario represents 73,000
elementary public school teachers and education workers across Ontario and is
the largest teacher federation in Canada.
For further information:
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Phone: (416) 957-7181, Fax: (416) 957-7180