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BCTF Advantage

Professional Development Overview, Policies, and Procedures

BCTF Mission Statement

The BCTF is a union of professionals that represents and advocates for the social, professional, and economic goals of teachers and promotes a quality pluralistic public school system through leadership and advocacy, professional development, collective bargaining, and other services for members.

The Professional and Social Issues Division (PSID)

The purpose of the division is to enhance student learning by promoting and supporting socially responsible quality teaching.

Key elements of work in the division:

  • Career-long teacher development (recruitment, pre-service, certification, induction/mentoring, and ongoing professional development)
  • Curriculum and education policy
  • Social justice programs to support safe, nurturing, and inclusive environments in which all teachers and students can work and learn
  • Quality teaching and support for at-risk teachers
  • Aboriginal education
  • Training and support for local leaders and professional development and social issues networks
  • Programs and services for French-speaking members
  • Lesson aids and teacher resources
  • Support for new teachers and liaison with the teacher education institutions.
  • Advocacy for teachers in matters related to the BC College of Teachers and the Teacher Qualification Service.

Priorities of PSID

  1. Focus on professional leadership
    • Assert the central role of members in student learning and in the development of education policy at the school, district, and provincial levels.
    • Advocate, in all venues, for continued improvements in students’ learning conditions.
    • Exercise professional autonomy in the planning, delivery, and assessment of education to students.
    • Challenge the achievement/assessment/accountability agenda at the school, district, and provincial levels.
    • Establish control by BCTF members of our professional development.
    • Promoting and supporting quality teaching practices that support the needs of teachers throughout their careers
  2. Focus on social justice
    • Advocate for a quality public education system that is free and equitablefor all students, and resists privatization and commercialization.
    • Promote the work of the revitalized social justice program with locals, PSAs, and members.
    • Extend the work of the Federation in Aboriginal education in all locals.


BCTF Professional Development
Policies and Procedures

Reprinted from the Members’ Guide to the BCTF



1. Definition of Professional Development

Professional development is a process of ongoing growth, through involvement in programs, services, and activities designed to enable teachers, both individually and collectively, to enhance professional practice.

2. Purposes of Professional Development

The purpose of professional development is to assist members in:

  1. building and strengthening themselves as a professional body.
  2. establishing and maintaining a professional relationship with students/parents.
  3. initiating curriculum and instructional reform directed to improve teaching and learning.
  4. developing, discussing, revising and applying educational theories.
  5. improving the quality of professional practice through career-long professional development.
  6. engaging in professional and collegial conversations.

(00 AGM, p. 15)
(June 06 RA, p. 8)

30.A.03—That the BCTF perspective of professional development may include:

  1. advocacy for professional autonomy.
  2. advocacy for the rights and responsibilities of members.
  3. advocacy on social justice issues.
  4. advocacy for public education.
  5. ongoing examination of the purposes of public education.
  6. workshops, seminars, conferences, action research, and others.

(83 AGM, p. 11)
(June 06 RA, p. 8)

30.A.05—That a goal of the BCTF is to co-operate in the development and improvement of teacher education programs.

(Oct 80 RA, p. 4)
(June 06 RA, p. 8)

30.A.07—The BCTF promotes partnership with other groups involved in teacher education. This partnership should take the form of:

  1. direct participation in program design and evaluation at all teacher education institutions;
  2. significant representation on bodies with overall responsibility for teacher education or certification;
  3. optional representation on less permanent groups or agencies seeking to influence decisions on teacher education;
  4. a shared control over entry into the teaching profession.

(Jan 95 Ex, p. 13)
(June 05 Ex., p. 24)

30.A.09—Principles of Professional Development 

The following is a statement of policy representing collective professional opinion of members of the BCTF. It is based on values and principles that reflect a democratic perspective on public education and is intended to provide a provincial standard of professional development principles.

These principles reflect understandings of professional development and the core values of teachers which are:

  • The primacy of continuing career-long professional development.
  • The necessity of teacher autonomy.
  • The importance of teaching-centered and teacher-directed PD.
  • The diversity of effective professional development needs and practices.
  • The value of teachers teaching teachers.
  • Recognition that teachers are learners.
  1. Members have an ongoing responsibility to develop professionally.
  2. Members have autonomy in making choices about their own professional development.
  3. Professional development planning is guided by members’ needs.
  4. Professional development informs teaching practice and encourages collegiality.
  5. Professional development requires time and resources to meet members’ needs.
  6. Professional development incorporates a wide repertoire of teacher collaboration, mentorship, action research, workshops, professional course work, professional reading, peer coaching, and reflection.
  7. BCTF has a role in providing professional development services to individual members or groups.

(85 AGM, p. 28)
(05 AGM, p. 43)

30.A.11—That individual members, school teaching staffs, locals, PSAs, LSAs, and the BCTF are responsible for planning, structuring, organizing, and evaluating professional development programs and services for members.

(Jan 92 Ex, p. 4)
(June 05 Ex., p. 24)

30.A.13—That the BCTF encourage the provision of professional development through:

  1. volunteer efforts of BCTF members.
  2. paid work carried out by BCTF staff.
  3. services funded by local school boards and/or the provincial government which are directed and performed by BCTF members.
  4. services provided by universities and other agencies in co-operation with the BCTF.

(June 86 Ex, p. 12)
(June 05 Ex., p. 24)

30.A.15—That the BCTF affirm the importance of critical reflection and collaboration to the growth and development of knowledge, understandings and skills of teaching. Specifically, members need adequate resources (time, space, materials) for:

  1. critical reflection on teaching;
  2. individual and collaborative planning;
  3. active research and development;
  4. personal, professional and staff development;
  5. democratic decision-making within the schools.

(Feb 90 Ex, p. 8)

30.A.17—Members of the BCTF have the right to five professional development days within the school year book ends of the first working day after Labour Day, and the last Friday of June, and have the professional autonomy to plan those days.

(Nov 84 RA, p. 3)
(Jan. 06 RA, p. 12)

30.A.19—That the member, as an autonomous professional, determines, in concert with BCTF colleagues and/or the local union, the content of professional development activities scheduled for professional development days, and further, that professional development days are not used for school goal setting and/or School Improvement Plans, marking accountability assessment tools, or voluntary activities (e.g., sports tournaments, science fairs, music festivals, drama productions.)

(98 AGM, p. 30)
(June 06 RA, p. 9)

30.A.21—That the Ministry of Education target funds for member-planned and member-led professional development.

30.A.23—That the Ministry of Education re-affirm its commitment to member professional development by designating five non-instructional days of the "days in session" for member planned and led professional development.

30.A.25—That the Ministry of Education and the BCTF investigate other ways to provide rural member equity of access to professional-development programs.


  1. That the BCTF encourage teachers to voluntarily maintain a self-directed PD log.
  2. That the BCTF implement strategies to promote the use of self-directed PD logs.

(Feb. 04 Ex., p. 13)

30.A.29—That the BCTF continue to encourage teachers to participate in a wide variety of teacher-initiated ongoing professional development activities.

(Feb. 04 Ex., p. 15)


30.A.04—That the BCTF offer workshops, training and professional development consulting services through PD associates according to the following guidelines:

  1. The PD associate will consult with the group in creating a workshop to meet their specific needs. This consultation is an integral part of the BCTF service.
  2. Workshops should be booked at least one month prior to the date.
  3. There will be at least 12 members who participate in a BCTF workshop, unless there are extenuating circumstances (e.g., small schools, department, or local).
  4. Workshop facilitators should normally be PD associates. BCTF staff should only facilitate these workshops in exceptional circumstances.
  5. No PD associate should be out of pocket for any expenses incurred in providing a BCTF workshop.
  6. That any member who provides workshop services to BCTF members as a PD associate, through a Federation-recognized program or service should not receive an honorarium.

(June 05 Ex., p. 25)

30.A.06—That each local be encouraged to maintain a professional development committee to offer advice and to stimulate programs in professional development, and to work with other professional development committees at the local, regional and provincial levels.

(May 75 RA, p. 14)
(76 AGM, p. 55)

30.A.08—That though involvement of teachers on call and unemployed members in local professional development activities varies from local to local, they should be involved as fully as possible.

(Dec 79 Ex, p. 5)

30.A.10—That where circumstances permit, members of the public should be invited and encouraged to attend professional development day activities.

(85 AGM, p. 27)

30.A.12—The BCTF supports one Friday within the regular work year on which all districts hold a professional development day.

(85 AGM, p. 35)
(95 AGM, p. 11)

30.A.14—That for the purpose of a province-wide PSA day, the BCTF supports the third Friday in October as the day on which all districts hold a professional day, except in years in which Thanksgiving Monday falls in the same week, in which case the fourth Friday would be the designated day.

(Jan 96 Ex, p. 2)


  1. That locals be encouraged to organize school-based or district-based PD days during the school year rather than during the summer.

(June 99 Ex., p. 20)

  1. That where the employer directs that PD days are to be held outside of the school year book ends of the first working day after Labour Day and the last working day in June, the BCTF will support members in exercising their right to choose not to participate.

(Nov. 03 RA, p. 22)

30.A.20—That the BCTF continue to support members through their locals in their efforts to gain autonomy over their professional development.

(May '94 RA)

30.A.22—Professional Growth Plans

  1. That the BCTF encourage locals and teachers to utilize voluntary, self-directed professional development planning.
  2. That locals which are seeking a means to eliminate cyclical teacher evaluation:
    1. negotiate mid-contract modifications which remove reference to cyclical evaluations from their collective agreements;
    2. not pursue professional growth plans as an alternative.
  3. That members be advised of the potential pitfalls inherent in involving themselves in administrator-driven professional growth plans.

(Aug. 99 Ex., p. 15-16)

30.A.24—Peer Support

  1. That the BCTF establish a Peer Support Service (PSS) to assist active members.

(Oct. 02 Ex., p.9)

  1. That the Peer Support Service may be offered to a member only when his/her school district agrees that it shall not use any information relating to the member’s involvement in the Peer Support Service against the member in any disciplinary proceedings or in any evaluation of the teaching performance of the member.

(April 00 Ex., p. 3)

30.A.26—That members appointed to the BCTF Peer Support Service will be known as Peer Consultants and will comprise a balance of female and male teachers, a representative balance of elementary and secondary teachers, will preferably be fluent in French as well as English. Members appointed as peer consultants will have an extensive background in teaching strategies and training in planning, consultation, classroom observations, analysis, and feedback.

(April 00 Ex., p. 3)
(Oct. 02 Ex., p. 9)

30.A.28—That an active member who is on a plan-of-assistance, or who needs assistance may request the services of the BCTF Peer Support Service by communicating with his or her local president or designate, who may direct the request to the BCTF staff assigned to co-ordinate the service.

(April 00 Ex., p. 4)


  1. That the cost of the service to a member who is on a plan-of-assistance will be paid by his or her school district.
  2. That the cost of the service to a member for whom the local president or designate requests assistance with his or her professional teaching practice will be paid by the Federation.

(April 00 Ex., p. 6)


  1. Normally, one peer consultant will be assigned to work with a member who is on a plan-of-assistance or who requests assistance with his or her teaching.
  2. The staff member assigned to co-ordinate the service will screen requests for service from local presidents or designates and assign peer consultants in each case.
  3. A peer consultant will not give reports to any person except as agreed to, in advance, among the member receiving the services, the local president or designate and the peer consultant.
  4. Wherever possible, a peer consultant assigned to assist a member on a plan-of-assistance will participate in developing the plan-of-assistance.
  5. Peer consultants may discuss information relating to their work with members of PSS and with appropriate BCTF staff on a privileged communication basis at any time.
  6. In the event that a situation where a peer consultant provided assistance develops into a grievance, no information from the peer consultant will be requested nor will any be offered about the situation.
  7. Members of the peer support service will be given adequate training and support by the Federation.

(April 00 Ex., p. 4)

  1. That the school district and the local will provide follow–up support, as needed, by the teacher who has received assistance from the Peer Support Service.

(Oct. 02 Ex., p. 9)

30.A.34—School Professional Development Representatives

The BCTF recognizes the PD Representative as a union leader and encourages locals to adopt and promote the following description of the role and function of the school-based professional development representative, recognizing that each school situation is unique and adjustments to the model may be necessary.

  1. School Level
    1. Organizer/Leader
      1. Ensures that an election for school professional development representative and members of the school professional development committee is held annually.
      2. Chairs the school professional development committee.
      3. Develops with the staff a job description of the school professional development representative and the committee.
      4. Encourages staff members to identify professional development needs and establish goals each year.
      5. Develops with the school professional development committee a professional development plan based on the needs and goals identified in part (d).
      6. Ensures that where school-based professional development funds exist, they are distributed equitably according to locally established policies and procedures.
      7. Carries out other duties and responsibilities within school professional development guidelines as assigned by the school professional development committee and the district professional development committee.
    2. Communicator
      1. Receives and distributes relevant professional development and BCTF information.
      2. Attends staff meetings to report on school, local and BCTF professional development/BCTF education change oppor-tunities and information.
      3. Attends local meetings of school-based professional development representatives to provide liaison between the local* and school professional development committees.
      4. Participates in School Professional Development Representatives’ Training which provides the knowledge and skills to assist the school PD rep in performing their roles.
    3. Advocate
      1. Is familiar with contract language and local* policies related to professional development, curriculum implementation and education change.
      2. Serves as school advocate for all teachers in any matters related to professional development, curriculum implementation and education change.
      3. Participates with other school-based professional development representatives in generating appropriate contract language and local* policies for professional development, curriculum implementation and education change.
      4. Participates with other school-based professional development representatives in generating appropriate contract language and local* policies for professional development, curriculum implementation and education change.
      5. Works collegially with staff representatives and school committees.
  2. Local Level
    1. That locals ensure that each school in the district elects at least one school-based professional development representative each year.
    2. That locals ensure that the role and function of school-based professional development representatives is included in local policies and professional development handbooks.
    3. That locals* ensure that training programs, provided at BCTF expense, be held each year for school-based professional development representatives.
    4. That locals ensure that release time for this training is available.
  3. Provincial Level
    1. That the BCTF Professional and Social Issues Division communicate to the schools through the school-based professional development representative on all matters related to professional development, curriculum implementation and education change.
    2. That the BCTF promote and provide school professional development representative training for school-based professional development representatives.
    3. That school professional development representative training contain a strong locally developed component to meet the specific needs of the schools and the local.
    4. That school-based professional development representatives inform and advise teachers regarding BCTF policies and activities related to professional development, curriculum implementation and education change.

*It is understood that local is meant to refer to local committees at the district level.

BCTF Principles of Change

Reprinted from the Members’ Guide to the BCTF

9.A.20—That the BCTF advocate and support planned and responsible approaches to the implementation of change in education policies and practices. Specifically, implementation should adhere to the following principles:

  1. Centrality of Teaching—The implementation recognizes teachers as the key agents of educational change. The plan respects teachers as self-directed professionals committed to improving education policies and practices.
  2. Clarity—Before the implementation begins, teachers, both individually and collectively, are clear about the concept, the value, and the process of change.
    1. Conceptual clarity—Members understand the proposed change and how it differs from their current practice.
    2. Value clarity—Members are convinced that the change offers an improvement over current practice.
    3. Procedural clarity—Members understand the steps to be taken during the implementation.
  3. Resources—There are adequate and appropriate resources to support the implementation. Members identify their own resource needs. Provisions are made for physical resources—facilities, equipment, materials; organizational resources—workload, class size, class compositions; professional support—coaching, training, in-service.
  4. Time—There is adequate time for each phase of the implementation. Members have enough lead time to achieve conceptual, value and procedural clarity. They have additional time during the implementation process to assess, modify, and solve unanticipated problems. They have time to evaluate, share and report what they have learned.
  5. Professional Autonomy—The implementation recognizes the diverse talents, interests and experiences of teachers. Members can adapt and implement the plan in a variety of ways.
  6. Professional Development—The professional development of members is recognized as a key element of the implementation. The nature and timing of professional development specific to any implementation are determined by members in the context of their ongoing personal and professional growth.
  7. Empowerment—The implementation increases the confidence, vitality and feeling of influence of both students and teachers.
  8. Involvement and Communication—The implementation provides for the involvement of teachers, parents, students, trustees, district and ministry staff in ways that foster ownership and commitment.
  9. Diversity—The implementation acknowledges the uniqueness of communities, school districts and schools, and the diverse needs and expectations of parents and students. The process is flexible enough to accommodate these differences.
  10. Fidelity—Criteria for measuring the success of the implementation are determined before the process begins. Participants agree that these measures will be the basis for the evaluation of the implementation.

(89 AGM, pp. 13–15)

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