Canada (Ontario, English language project)


Teaching as a Profession Initiative


Background: In Ontario’s English-speaking school system, the futures ‘Teaching as a Profession’ initiative was launched after a period of repeated reforms aimed at improving curricula, assessment, accountability, and regulating the teaching profession had had a negative impact on education’s industrial relations. This scenario work was used to open up discussion about the futures of teachers and teaching to address an atmosphere of entrenchment and lack of dialogue among key stakeholders.


Objective: To establish fruitful dialogue and strategic thinking among stakeholders and address the sustainability of educational policies. The development, use, and evaluation of futures thinking will contribute to meeting the challenges within the educational sector in Ontario and other participating jurisdictions.


Target: Primary and secondary education


Timeframe: 2002 – 2007


Who runs it: Ontario Ministry of Education


How does it work: Earlier phases of the initiative, from 2002-2004, included the adaptation of OECD-developed future scenarios to permit an expanded range of dialogue, testing the use of these scenarios to examine policy issues in workshops, as well as national and international dialogue and sharing of lessons learned with respect to using scenarios. Workshops were day-long experiments in fostering discussion and expanding thinking about teachers and the teaching profession in particular, using future scenarios.


The third phase of the Teaching as a Profession initiative, from 2005-2007, continued to examine the use of futures scenarios as a way to engage in strategic conversation and informed dialogue. It also began to use the futures scenarios to explore the robustness of actual policy. The aim of engaging stakeholders in dialogue on current thinking/perspectives on teaching as a profession and the future of teaching has continued along with a more ambitious attempt to contribute to policy development. Two different types of workshops were developed in Phase III: case study workshops and workshops contributing to the development of the ministry’s leadership framework related to supporting school and system leadership


Evaluation: Each workshop has been evaluated by the participants with the results utilized in the further development of the project.


Project related websites:


Project report (.pdf):

SfT country report Canada - English language program


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