Do Canadian Teachers Truly Have the Freedom to Teach?
While the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms does not specifically protect a freedom to teach, many understand freedom of expression to be a two-ended right. In other words, it is impossible to censor the expression of only one person. If I do not hear what you want to tell me, I have no opportunity to form an opinion about your expression. I can neither agree nor disagree. I cannot celebrate your brilliance, nor can I stand outside your door to protest the nasty things you say.
Recently, I have learned about two teachers who, in different circumstances, have been restricted from teaching material they would like to teach. I do not think these two teachers are the same in their approaches. I do not think their students have had similar experiences. I understand that the outcomes are very different, but I feel uncomfortable about both.
Both teachers have taught high school-aged students for many years. Both teachers are committed to and well-liked by their students. Both teachers believe they have the best interests of their students at heart.
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I have always said to my American teacher friends how much I love that in B.C. I have a lot of freedom as to how I teach curriculum. Yes, there are Prescribed Learning Outcomes and often specific units/topics covered but the method in which those are taught is up to the teacher. I enjoy trying new approaches to teaching, and as a new teacher who has had a variety of grade levels and subjects - I'd like to know that I can explore different teaching strategies.
Still, this article is an interesting read. I wonder how often these situations occur? I can think of at least three teachers I know or have heard of, who have had similar situations for what I would consider far less "controversial" reasons named in the article.