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Professional Learning

ETFO believes that students have the right to the highest quality education. Educators are committed to providing quality programs.


To support their professional practice, teachers have always voluntarily engaged in a wide range of professional learning. They have taken university courses, engaged in professional learning activities and opportunities at the school, school board, and provincial levels, presented workshops, served on in-school, board, and provincial committees, written curriculum, and assessed their own learning needs.


Ontario’s elementary students are well served by teachers who are committed to life-long professional learning, who reflect on their classroom practice, and who engage in the professional learning that best meets their needs and the needs of their students.


  • That the selection of professional growth programs be voluntary and determined by the teacher.
  • That leadership development be a component of professional growth programs.
  • That professional growth programs, in a variety of forms, be recognized.
  • That self-directed professional growth and employer-provided professional development be included as components in the professional growth of teachers.
  • That the time and location of any self-directed professional growth programs be determined by the teacher.
  • That curriculum implementation, student assessment, and effective teaching strategies be included as components of employer-provided professional development.
  • That employer-provided professional development be determined and delivered by a district school board in conjunction with teachers.
  • That employer-provided professional development be scheduled to occur on professional activity days during the school year, and/or on instructional days, with release time provided by the employer.
  • That employer-provided professional development be supported through designated funding in the education funding formula.
  • That nine professional activity days be available to teachers during the school year.
  • That a minimum of two professional activity days be available to teachers for self-directed professional growth.
  • That a minimum of three professional activity days be available to teachers for employer-provided professional development.
  • That school board programs developed for professional activity days be supported by designated funding in the education funding formula.
  • That personal professional growth plans be developed by teachers.
  • That the professional growth plans of teachers be teacher-directed and teacher-authored.

Among its other powers, Bill 78 gave the government the authority to determine both the number and purpose of professional activity days. Subsequently, the Minister of Education has increased the number of professional activity days from four to six, restoring two of the five professional activity days eliminated by the previous government.

The Minister has indicated that the additional two days will be dedicated to supporting Ministry of Education initiatives.

On September 1, 2007, new regulations under Bill 78, the Education Statute Amendment Act (Student Performance) 2006 come into effect. The regulation states that:

  • Starting with the school year commencing 2007, every board shall ensure that every teacher, other than a new teacher, employed by the board has a learning plan each year that includes the teacher’s professional growth objectives, proposed action plan, and timelines for achieving those objectives.
  • Each year after the first year that a teacher has a learning plan, the teacher shall, in consultation with the appropriate principal:
  • Review the teacher’s learning plan from the previous year, the teacher’s learning and growth over the previous year, and the summative report of the teacher’s most recent performance appraisal; and
  • Update the teacher’s learning plan for the purposes of the current year, if necessary, taking into account the results of the review under clause (a). O.Reg.97/07, s.1.

ETFO Position on Teacher Accountability and Professional Growth

ETFO welcomes a teacher accountability model that is:

  • based on a fair and effective teacher performance appraisal process;
  • based on Ministry of Education and school board support for teacher in-service related to new curriculum and student assessment initiatives; and
  • based on the recognition that teachers are best able to determine what professional development they need to pursue as lifelong learners.

Conclusion

Ontario’s elementary students are well served by teachers who are committed to life-long professional learning, who reflect on their classroom practice, and who engage in the professional learning that best meets their needs and the needs of their students.