Conseil supérieur de l'éducation
 
College Teaching: A CHANGING PROFESSION

The Conseil supérieur de l'éducation urges college teachers to increase their commitment to school life within their institutions, and to assume greater responsibility for developing their profession.

This request, which questions the individual- and discipline-based concepts underpinning current teaching practices, came from Conseil President Céline Saint-Pierre at the launching of the brief Enseigner au collégial : une pratique professionnelle en renouvellement on December 4 at the Cégep de Sainte-Foy. "New approaches to teaching and a more collegial notion of work are now necessary to ensure student learning and success," she explained.

 

Increased accountability

The Conseil supérieur de l'éducation believes that the implementation of the integrated program approach, which combines all components of teaching based on general training objectives, is a golden opportunity for teachers to show commitment to their institution.

The Conseil considers that willingness to locally negotiate certain conditions governing work organization is a major factor in achieving the changes targeted. It hopes that colleges will have more leeway, enabling the full range of local issues to be taken into account.

The Conseil also feels it fitting that departments, around which college activity revolves, be made more accountable. It urges departments to review some of their practices with regard to student training programs and teachers' professional development, and to be accountable for their activities.

 

The importance of evaluation and qualification

The Conseil supérieur de l'éducation stresses the role played by evaluation in professional development and achievement of the educational mission. It invites teachers to accept the evaluation process in cooperation with administrators. The Conseil favours use of a wide range of evaluation measures, notably those which involve soliciting the viewpoints of students, peers, and administrators.

The Conseil insists on the importance of teacher training, even in higher education. Despite scepticism in the college community, it feels that there is a distinct need for skills other than those required for teachers' specific disciplines, including psychoeducation, methodologies, introduction to research, and the use of new technologies in teaching.

The need to ensure a new generation of top-quality teachers has evoked the Conseil's concern regarding the precarious status of too many college teachers. It stresses the importance of counteracting the adverse effects of this situation in a context where teaching staff are expected to make a more substantial commitment to their institution.

 

Change already under way

The Conseil is aware that the practice of teaching has already been changed in many places despite certain difficulties encountered in implementing the reform, despite a culture and structures that promote a split between administrative and teaching activities, as well as the challenging financial situation that has triggered increased work loads.

In preparing this brief, the Conseil's Commission de l'enseignement collégial conducted extensive consultations with college community analysts, administrators, union representatives, and especially teachers. They took the form of panel discussions, workshops at the Association québécoise de pédagogie collégiale colloquium and interviews with over 175 teachers from 24 colleges.


Panorama • Volume 3, Number 1 • February 1998

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