A representative group of teachers that engaged in a daylong Teachers’ Forum sponsored by the BC Teachers’ Federation has helped draw up a number of recommendations to enhance teaching and learning in our schools.
“The education minister claimed yesterday that the public doesn’t believe BC has a good public education system,” says BCTF President Jinny Sims, “but teachers are continually hampered by this government’s education initiatives. The Teachers’ Forum was another example of how teachers frequently come together to look at ways to improve public education.”
The forum gave voice to teachers’ concerns about the direction of public education in the province. The forum was a daylong exchange of ideas and suggestions about teaching methods, curriculum, and learning conditions necessary to meet student needs.
“Recommendations were drawn up after hearing from teachers who fully understand and appreciate the challenges that face education today,” says Sims. “This forum was not a PR exercise. It was a day of hard work for teachers who were chosen by their peers to represent them and to give them a voice. These recommendations will be forwarded to government, and are available publicly to those interested in the direction of public education.”
The forum found that BC teachers are not only concerned that the government is ignoring the voice of teaching professionals, they are worried it is leading public education away from long-standing values that foster active citizenship. It also heard from teachers who refer to relentless and bureaucratic data collection that equates a student’s worth to a test score, and reduces a school community to a simple numeric ranking. “Neither is conducive to teaching and learning, and in fact,” says Sims, “they are detrimental to education.”
Teachers also told the forum that it takes courage to teach, and courage to advocate for what is best for students.
The following recommendations have been issued:
- That the premier join with the BCTF in a dialogue to discuss the current and future needs of public education in BC;
- That teachers hold forums in their local areas to bring together parents, trustees, administrators, politicians, and the community to discuss issues of public education;
- That teachers call on the provincial government to refocus its mandate and resources on teaching and learning, and not on unnecessary bureaucratic requirements, and demand the provincial government meet its responsibility for public education by providing sustained and adequate funding and resources to ensure teachers and students have the conditions necessary to enhance teaching and learning;
- That the BC government acknowledge that the primary goal of the public education system should be to foster the development of informed, engaged citizens who are active participants in their communities and in a democratic society;
- That teachers resist education-related initiatives that in their professional opinion, are educationally unsound and damaging.
For more information, contact Yvonne Eamor, BCTF media relations officer, at
604-871-1881 (office) or 604-340-1959 (cell).