Interview with McGill Personal Finance Essential

Associate Professor Gail Henderson was recently interviewed for the McGill Personal Finance Essentials podcast series. Prof. Henderson discussed with Prof. Croitoru the connection between law and financial literacy, the importance of financial literacy education, the results of the the team’s research on financial literacy education and some tips for parents. The interview can be accessed on YouTube here: Financial Literacy in Canada: Resources for Educators and Youth – YouTube.

Paper on survey results forthcoming in Canadian Journal of Education

Our article on the results of phase 2 of the study, a survey of Ontario elementary teachers, has been accepted by the Canadian Journal of Education and will be published in the June 2021 issue. The article titled “Financial Literacy Education in Ontario: An Exploratory Study of Elementary Teachers’ Perceptions, Attitudes, and Practices” is authored by Dr. Gail E. Henderson, Dr. Pamela Beach and Andrew Coombs.

Paper on teachers’ use of Canadian Financial Literacy Database accepted to AERA 2020 conference.

Back in October, 2019, our paper titled Elementary Teachers’ Cognitive Processes and Metacognitive Strategies During Self-Directed Online Learning, sharing the results of the third phase of this study, was accepted for a paper session at the American Educational Research Association (AERA) Annual Meeting, scheduled to take place in San Francisco, CA in April 2020. Like so many things in 2020, the conference was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This would have been the second time the Canadian Financial Literacy Project team shared research at this leading educational research conference. This paper was authored by Dr. Pamela Beach, Jen McConnel and Dr. Gail Henderson.

The third phase of the study employed a “virtual revisit think aloud” method to study elementary teachers’ cognitive processes and meta-cognitive strategies using the Canadian Financial Literacy Database. Participants, who ranged in teaching experience from four to over 20 years, were asked to navigate the Database to find information related to their teaching practice. The navigation was recorded, and then participants immediately verbalized their thoughts to the researcher while viewing the screen recording. This “think aloud” was audio recorded and transcribed, and then coded for themes. These themes revealed that a focus on their students and classroom context guided teachers’ navigations. Participants also evaluated resources for trustworthiness and credibility. Two participants identified banks as trustworthy sources, while one participant specifically expressed concerns about the potential conflict of interest. These findings have important implications for future research on how teachers use online resources for professional development generally and specifically related to financial literacy education.

Fin Lit research team presents at Canadian Society for the Study of Education (CSSE) in Vancouver

CSSE photo

On June 5, 2019, Queen’s Education doctoral student Jen McConnel, Queen’s Education faculty Dr. Pamela Beach and Queen’s Law faculty Dr. Gail Henderson presented the results of their study examining teachers’ experience using the Canadian Financial Literacy Database at the CSSE annual conference. This conference took place as part of the annual Congress of the Humanities and Social Science in Vancouver. Thirteen Ontario elementary teachers participated in the study, which employed a “virtual revisit think aloud” methodology. Participants were asked to use the Database to find financial literacy education resources to use in their classroom. Their navigation of the Database was recorded. Participants then watched the recording of their navigation while “thinking aloud” about what they were doing and thinking at the time. While all of the participants found the Database confusing to navigate at times, they also all found it useful. During the think aloud, teachers also noted whether the resource was from a financial institution, with some stating that they thought this made the source less credible, but many stating that it made the source more credible. In addition to a planned journal article, the research team plans to share these results with the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada, which is responsible for the Database.

A copy of the presentation slides can be found on the Research Contributions page.

Fin lit project team presents at American Educational Research Association (AERA) annual conference in Toronto

AERA photoOn 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:

  1. Are elementary teachers integrating financial literacy education into their practice?
  2. 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.

Upcoming Conference Presentations

Gail Henderson, Pamela Beach and Andrew Coombs, “This Little Piggy Went Banking: Elementary Teachers’ Perceptions of Financial Literacy Education”, AERA (American Educational Research Association) Annual Meeting, Toronto, April 9, 2019,

Pamela Beach, Gail Henderson and Jen McConnel, “Examining Elementary Teachers’ Learning Experiences as They Use the Canadian Financial Literacy Database”, CSSE (Canadian Society for the Study of Education) Annual Conference, Vancouver, June 5, 2019,

Getting Students Involved in Academic Research

“One year into a two-year, SSHRC-funded study on financial literacy education resources, research assistant Lucy Sun, Law’19, joined Queen’s professors Gail Henderson (Law) and Pamela Beach (Education) in sharing preliminary research findings. The group made their presentation at the Canadian Society for Studies in Education conference “Congress 2018,” held at the University of Regina last week. Congress brings together thousands of scholars from across the social sciences and humanities every year.”

Read the rest of the article here.

Queen’s emerging scholars win SSHRC Insight Development Grant to research financial literacy education

“In August 2016, Dr Gail Henderson of Queen’s Faculty of Law and Dr Pamela Beach of Queen’s Faculty of Education met at an orientation event for new faculty and chatted briefly about their research interests. That initial meeting resulted in a successful application for a two-year, $67,114 Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) Insight Development Grant. …”

Read the rest of the article here.

Watch the video interview here.