On April 9, 2018, Queen’s Education doctoral student Andrew Coombs, Queen’s Education faculty Dr. Pamela Beach and Queen’s Law faculty Dr. Gail Henderson presented the results of their financial literacy survey at a poster session at the AERA annual meeting in Toronto. The conference drew approximately 14,000 education researchers and included more than 2,500 presentations.
The financial literacy survey was part of Dr. Henderson and Dr. Beach’s SSHRC-funded study on financial literacy education at the elementary school level. From September 2017 to June 2018, surveys were circulated to Ontario elementary school teachers. A total of 157 surveys were completed. Participants reflected a range of ages, years of teaching experience, and grades taught. The survey aimed to answer the following research questions:
- Are elementary teachers integrating financial literacy education into their practice?
- What kinds of support, if any, are in place for elementary teachers to integrate financial literacy into their practice?
Just under half (49%) of survey respondents indicated that they are incorporating financial literacy education into their teaching practice across all grades, from kindergarten to grade 8, even though the Ontario financial literacy curriculum only begins at grade 4. The survey also evidenced strong support for incorporating financial literacy into the curriculum. Teachers identified lack of an appropriate curriculum as the primary challenge limiting them in effectively teaching students financial literacy. Only 9 (6%) of responding teachers were able to identify any type of support for teaching financial literacy offered by their school and/or school board. These results indicate that further efforts by the Ontario Ministry of Education to develop the financial literacy curriculum and offer professional development opportunities for teachers in this area would be rewarded.
The survey also asked teachers about the Canadian Financial Literacy Database, which contains education materials aimed at elementary teachers and students. Only twelve respondents (8%) were aware of the Database and only one had accessed it, indicating that the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada, which manages the Database, needs to do more to promote this resource to elementary teachers.
To view the poster summarizing more results from the survey, please see the Research Contributions page.