Professional Development for Teachers is Key to Improving Financial Education in Canada

TD-commissioned report offers ideas to strengthen financial literacy across the country

Key Findings:

  • Support for improved financial education is growing – among individuals and organizations
  • Teacher development opportunities are viewed as critical to improving financial education  
  • Syncing student needs at various stages with agreed upon knowledge, skills and behaviours is essential to delivering consistent financial education
  • Effective financial literacy tools and resources are available today but are underutilized; a focus on currency and relevancy is required
  • Earlier the better in terms of integrating financial education into student curriculums

TORONTO, Nov. 16, 2015 /CNW/ - Parents and educators share the main responsibility for the financial education of children, but more work should be done to help teachers develop the skills they need to confidently teach it in schools across the country, according to a new report on the state of financial education in Canada. The report, commissioned by TD and prepared by the Canadian Foundation for Economic Education, says a key step to improving students' financial literacy is to work toward a common approach and strategy that would apply wherever students learn in Canada.

"The education system has an important role in establishing a foundation for financial education among Canadians, but before it can do that effectively, we need to know the current state of play across the country," said Linda MacKay, TD's Senior Vice President of Retail Savings and Investing. "The study we commissioned not only looks at where things stand today but also offers a series of suggestions on how to improve and strengthen financial education in Canada going forward."

The report summarizes the state of financial education in all 10 provinces and identifies opportunities to better enable teachers through professional development. It also notes that, while there is increasing interest in financial education following the financial crisis of 2008-2009, the focus now needs to be on translating that interest into meaningful action, starting with empowering teachers in the form of training to help ensure a consistent level of instruction across the country.

"Virtually everyone we spoke with saw the schools as playing an important role in the financial education of our children – either through integration into various courses of study or as separate courses of instruction – or a combination of both," said Gary Rabbior, President of the Canadian Foundation for Economic Education. "We also identified the need for more professional development for teachers so they can feel confident in their ability to effectively teach financial literacy topics to their students."

More than 85 per cent of people consulted for the report feel that resources such as teacher training and teacher mentors would be helpful. The report also found that many educators would like to see financial education introduced in earlier grades than high school, where most financial teaching currently takes place, helping students develop good financial habits from the outset rather than modifying established habits later in life.

MacKay says the report is part of TD's ongoing support for the National Financial Literacy Strategy for Canada, which calls for a concerted and sustained effort by all sectors – including financial service providers and educators – to improve Canadians' financial literacy. She notes that the report found overwhelming support – 95 per cent – for parents to also play a significant or very significant role in providing financial education to their children.

"This report demonstrates the need for everyone to collaborate in strengthening the financial literacy of students, including parents and teachers," said Jane Rooney, Canada's Financial Literacy Leader. "By working together, we can provide young Canadians with good money management and ‎financial decision making skills today, that will endure into adulthood."

Additional tools and resources from TD, including a family resource centre, are available at www.td.com/financialeducation

About the TD Canada State of Financial Education in Canada Report
Since 2010, TD Bank Group has invested over $12MM in programs to strengthen financial literacy skills in communities across North America. As part of its activities in support of the National Financial Literacy Strategy for Canada's goal of improving financial literacy in Canada, TD Bank Group commissioned the Canadian Foundation for Economic Education (CFEE) to undertake research on the State of Financial Education in Canada. CFEE conducted approximately 250 interviews and consultations with curriculum directors and others from departments and ministries of education, school board officials, teachers, resource providers and other key stakeholders. Key findings are available here www.td.com/financialeducation and the full report is available upon request.  

About TD Bank Group

The Toronto-Dominion Bank and its subsidiaries are collectively known as TD Bank Group ("TD" or the "Bank"). TD is the seventh largest bank in North America by branches and serves more than 24 million customers in three key businesses operating in a number of locations in financial centres around the globe: Canadian Retail, including TD Canada Trust, TD Auto Finance Canada, TD Wealth (Canada), TD Direct Investing, and TD Insurance; U.S. Retail, including TD Bank, America's Most Convenient Bank, TD Auto Finance U.S., TD Wealth (U.S.), and an investment in TD Ameritrade; and Wholesale Banking, including TD Securities. TD also ranks among the world's leading online financial services firms, with approximately 10 million active online and mobile customers. TD had CDN$1.1 trillion in assets on July 31, 2015. The Toronto-Dominion Bank trades under the symbol "TD" on the Toronto and New York Stock Exchanges.

SOURCE TD Bank Group

For further information: Natasha Ferrari, TD Bank Group, 416 983 7180, Natasha.Ferrari@td.com; Rachel Halpern, Hill+Knowlton Strategies, 416 413 4646, Rachel.Halpern@hkstrategies.ca

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http://www.tdbank.ca

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