How holistic admissions help diversify the teaching workforce

Only 32.3% of Canadians consider their ethnic origin to be Canadian suggesting the majority of Canadians identify with a culture outside of the country in which they live. Canada’s LGBTQ+ population is now 4%. However, the teaching workforce doesn’t reflect the social fabric of Canadian society. 

For 20 years the answer to diversifying the teaching workforce was to hire more males teachers. Now, the need for diversity goes beyond this. Despite a rise in students being from a visible minority, a 2016 Census found a lack of diversity still exists within Canada’s teaching workforce 1.8% of elementary and high school teachers were black with a total of 7.6% of teachers identifying as a visible minority.

Why diversify

Gender and sexual orientation

A study from Education International reports, according to Canada’s largest study on teachers’ perspectives on LGBTQ inclusive education in the country, only 30% of educators say their schools have responded effectively to homophobic, biphobic, and transphobic harassment”. Further research shows LGBTQ+ teachers make exceptional leaders because of the attributes they may have in abundance, including, reading people, making connections, courage and risk-taking, managing uncertainty, and compassion and commitment to the inclusion of others.


Evidence has found, some unequipped teachers may not effectively handle challenges presented when teaching a diverse classroom of students. Representation in the workforce has an impact on what and how students learn. When there is a lack of racialized teachers it creates the untrue impression that certain groups are better suited for positions of authority within the community. When there is a presence of racialized teachers in the classroom, it serves as a source of inspiration for students, and provides a more positive sense of self-worth. Therefore making a difference in the lives of the students they teach.

Research has shown, black students with one black elementary school teacher are 13% more likely to apply to college or university and those with two black elementary school teachers are 32% more likely. Research also shows having a black educator from an early age has also benefits all students regardless of background.

Teachers of colour have a positive impact on students of colour – such teachers refer racialized students to gifted and talented programs, and less suspensions and referrals to special education. Diversifying the teacher workforce must become a priority, ensuring all students see themselves reflected in their educational experience.

Going beyond academic achievement

The current teaching workforce in Canada is predominantly white women with a high socio-ecomonic status, and numbers of non-white educators falls further and further behind the numbers of non-white students in classrooms. This same group of teachers who make up the majority of the workforce typically didn’t experience academic difficulties in their academic journey and therefore lack the understanding of what it feels like to struggle academically or have an exceptionality, which can make learning difficult. As a result, they may find it challenging to understand the needs of their students. 

This is why empathy is an important skill to possess: the ability to walk in another person’s shoes, understand their struggles, and be able to adapt the curriculum and differentiating instruction to ensure those students have the opportunity to learn. By creating a more holistic admissions process, you are able to see the person behind the application and understand what non-cognitive skills they possess.

Casper is our online, standardized, open-response Situational Judgment Test (SJT). It reliably assesses the all-important non-cognitive skills by generating valid results in the form of a z-score. These skills include empathy, motivation, and professionalism

Go beyond academic achievement to find applicants suited for your teaching program. It takes more than good grades to thrive in a teaching program and become a great teacher.

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