Student teachers learn tough lesson in social media use

Some teachers-in-training at the University of Manitoba have been caught using their Facebook and Twitter accounts inappropriately, in some cases bad-mouthing their professors on the social media websites.

University of Manitoba finds some education students guilty of misusing Facebook, Twitter

Teachers-in-training at the University of Manitoba are having to learn how to use Facebook and Twitter appropriately, after some have been found guilty of professional misconduct. 1:46

Some teachers-in-training at the University of Manitoba have been caught using their Facebook and Twitter accounts inappropriately, in some cases bad-mouthing their professors on the social media websites.

The university's Faculty of Education says in the last seven months, a professional misconduct committee found four student teachers guilty of misusing social media.

In most instances, the prospective teachers had posted nasty messages about their professors, said Jerome Cranston, the department's acting dean of undergraduate studies.

"There's a clear identification that these are Bachelor of Education at University of Manitoba students," Cranston told CBC News.

"Then [they] enter into these conversations that clearly go beyond their personal life and start to then definitely blur into their professional life."

The consequences for the student teachers range from having to write letters of apology to expulsion from the department.

Cranston said the number of students being disciplined for improper social media use is up dramatically — in previous years, the number was zero.

"This has taken us by surprise. We are now trying to be as positive and turn it into a learning experience as we can," he said.

"But no, we are trying to catch up on social media, there's no doubt about that."

Cranston is working with the Education Student Council to develop guidelines around the appropriate use of social media.