Trying to Teach Technology:
A Matter of Certification


When I was thirteen years old, I went to a guidance session designed to assist elementary school children in choosing their courses for high school. My girlfriend and I asked what "Industrial Arts" meant. The guidance counsellor replied "Oh, that's the boys' course. Young ladies take Home Economics." I wish I could say that we were outraged and demanded to know more about the course, but we didn't. In fact, I remember being embarrassed that we had even asked about the "boys' course."

Now I teach drafting in a high school. I love being surrounded by the sounds and activity in a shop class, but more than that I love watching young people experience the thrills of manipulating all kinds of machines to produce dramatic results.

Having a female teacher in a shop class is like putting a sign on the door that says "Women have the right to be here and are welcome

We have just finished a two day event to introduce students from grades five and nine to the activities that go on in the math, science, and technology courses. One of the major goals of this event was to encourage girls to feel comfortable in and excited by these courses. As well as hands-on tours of a variety of classes, the students saw videos about science and technology and heard a female engineer talk about her experience in her field.

The new Ontario NDP Minister of Colleges and Universities was recently quoted as saying that we need to remove the "subtle and not so subtle barriers" to women in education. The Society of Manufacturing Engineers has introduced an incentive grant to programs which encourage women to enter engineering. Boards of Education are actively trying to increase female enrolment in science and technology courses. Still, girls hesitate to take technical courses and many drop most of their math and science courses before the Ontario Academic Credit (previously grade 13) level.

Obviously just saying that science and technology are open to women is not enough. It is great to encourage girls to consider technology but once they have chosen to enroll, they must feel comfortable. A technology course with a male teacher and an all male student population is very intimidating but it is a common scenario.

We need more female teachers in technology. Having a female teacher in a shop class is like putting a sign on the door that says "Women have the right to be here and are welcome." Even though I am a new teacher and still have a lot to learn, I think that just my presence in the class has encouraged many girls in the school to take another look at technology. A few times this year girls have come to the shop with their boyfriends to see what the boys are doing. I show them the equipment and talk to them about what we do. I think it is much easier for me to convince them that technology is a viable option than it would be for a man.

Essayer d'enseigner des matières techniques: une question de diplôme


Jane Will enseigne le dessin industriel dans une école secondaire. Elle estime qu'elle donne l'exemple aux filles qui s'intéressent aux sujets techniques. Elle aimerait continuer à enseigner, mais elle n'est pas certifiée. Elle a fait une demande pour suivre le programme de formation des enseignants à l'Université Queen's, mais en raison du Règlement 69 dans la Loi sur l'éducation, elle n'y est pas admissible. Le règlement stipule que les candidat(e)s doivent compter cinq ans d'expérience dans l'industrie ou l'équivalent. Mme Will affirme que ce règlement empêche les femmes de devenir professeurs de matières techniques car très peu d'entre elles ont une vaste expérience dans le secteur industriel.

Le nouveau ministre des collèges et Universités a dit que les barrières éducatives qui se dressent sur la route des femmes doivent être supprimées. Il a affirmé à Jane lorsqu'elle luttait pour que sa demande soit à nouveau étudiée que le règlement 269 serait peut-être amendé. Ces amendements arriveront trop tard pour elle, mais elle prie instamment tous les organismes qui s'intéressent à l'équité dans le domaine de l'éducation de faire des recommandations au ministre pour que la situation s'améliore.

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