Ontario teachers get professional designation



    TORONTO, Sept. 2 /CNW/ - Ontario teachers have a new professional
designation - a first for Canadian educators.
    Ontario Certified Teacher - or OCT - will be granted by the Council of
the Ontario College of Teachers to qualified, registered members in good
standing.

    
    The designation serves to:

    -   identify qualified educators in Ontario's publicly funded schools
    -   recognize teachers as professionals with specific knowledge and
        skills
    -   honour the career-long professional development that teachers engage
        in
    -   acknowledge that teachers are members of a community of highly
        educated, responsible and caring practitioners who are committed to
        the growth and development of Ontario students.
    

    OCT or EAO in French (enseignante agréée de l'Ontario or enseignant agréé
de l'Ontario) lets students, parents and the public know instantly that
teachers' professional practice is guided and informed by the profession's
standards of practice and ethical standards.
    The designation is also testament to the respect, trust, care and
integrity that Ontario's teachers and school and system administrators
demonstrate with students, parents and each other.
    College Council approved granting the designation in September 2008. In
the months since, the College has sought federal trademark approvals and
revised materials and systems to reflect the new mark of professionalism.
    "Most of Ontario's regulated professions, including engineers, chartered
accountants and nurses, already have recognized designations," says Liz
Papadopoulos, OCT, Chair of Council. "Now, so do Ontario teachers."
    OCT will appear next to members' names on certificates of qualification
and registration (teacher licences), on the College's public register (the
list of all members, their qualifications and status), and in all manner of
printed and electronic material, including magazines and business cards.
    The notion received overwhelming support from College members themselves.
In written and phone surveys and focus groups, more than 5,000 teachers across
the province expressed a desire for a professional designation.
    "This is a powerful symbol to parents and the public," says College
Registrar Michael Salvatori, OCT. "It recognizes members of the teaching
profession as highly educated professionals, committed to their students and
to lifelong learning. From now on, the nobility of the calling has a special
distinction - Ontario Certified Teacher."

    The Ontario College of Teachers licenses, governs and regulates the
profession of teaching in the public interest. It sets standards of practice
and ethical standards, conducts disciplinary hearings and accredits teacher
education programs affecting its 220,000 members in publicly funded schools
and institutions across Ontario. The College is the largest self-regulatory
body in Canada.


    Professional Designation Backgrounder

    In September 2008, Council approved the granting of OCT or EAO as a
professional designation to all members in good standing with the Ontario
College of Teachers.

    
    What it stands for

    -   OCT stands for Ontario Certified Teacher. The Council of the Ontario
        College of Teachers awards the designation to certified, qualified
        members of the College who are in good standing. Ontario's Education
        Act defines a teacher as a member of the Ontario College of Teachers.
        Only College members are privileged to work and teach in Ontario
        publicly funded schools and school systems.
    -   EAO -- enseignante agréée de l'Ontario or enseignant agréé de
        l'Ontario - is the equivalent terminology for the professional
        designation in French for French-speaking members of the College.
    -   The OCT designation protects the public interest in public education.
        It represents a statement of accountability that:
        -  identifies qualified teachers in Ontario's publicly funded schools
        -  recognizes teachers as professionals who possess a specific
           knowledge base and a distinct skill set
        -  reflects the ongoing learning that teachers as professionals
           engage in throughout their careers
        -  acknowledges teachers as members of a community of highly
           educated, responsible and caring practitioners who are committed
           to the growth and development of Ontario students.
    -   OCT lets students, parents and the public know instantly that
        teachers' professional practice is guided and informed by the
        profession's standards of practice and ethical standards.
    -   OCT holders can immediately recognize other OCTs as fellow
        professionals who are committed to their own career growth and to
        advancing professionalism in teaching.

    Who it affects

    -   The professional designation affects the College's 220,000 certified,
        qualified members.

    Who can use the designation and who cannot

    -   Only Ontario College of Teachers members in good standing can use the
        designation.
    -   College members who resign, retire or fail to pay their fees and are
        therefore ineligible to teach in Ontario's publicly funded schools
        cannot use the designation. Members whose teaching certificates have
        been revoked or suspended as disciplinary measures are ineligible to
        use the OCT designation.

    Correct usage

    -   The Ontario College of Teachers is trademarking the use of the OCT
        designation. Unauthorized use is strictly prohibited.
    -   Certified College members in good standing have the right to use OCT
        on letterhead, business cards and professional materials.

    What happens if the designation is misused?

    -   The College's process for discipline will apply to members for abuse
        of the OCT designation. Non-members who use the designation to
        falsify their professional standing will be prosecuted to the fullest
        extent of the law.

    What support was there for a professional designation for Ontario
    teachers?

    -   Over 5,000 College members responded to surveys seeking feedback on
        the proposed designation. The research showed significant support for
        a professional designation for Ontario teachers.
    -   87 per cent of focus group participants polled favoured a
        professional designation for teachers
    -   80 per cent of respondents to an electronic survey conducted by Angus
        Reid Strategies in August 2008 supported a professional designation
    -   66 per cent of respondents to a July 2008 telephone survey conducted
        by COMPAS Inc. supported a professional designation for teachers.

    How will the designation be used?

    -   Individual College members - classroom teachers, principals,
        superintendents and directors of education - are encouraged to use
        OCT in professional correspondence, on report cards and in
        communication with parents
    -   The College will use the professional designation in its ongoing
        communication with members and the public. The abbreviation will be
        applied to member certificates in print and on its online public
        register (see Find a Teacher at www.oct.ca).
    -   OCT will appear next to members' names in Professionally Speaking,
        the College's official publication, as well as in paper
        correspondence, electronic newsletters, e-mails, guides, brochures,
        documents, consultations and other means of communication.
    





For further information:

For further information: Brian Jamieson, (416) 961-8800, ext. 655,
Toll-free 1-888-534-2222, ext. 655


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