Students Interviewing Teachers for Jobs

It's quite commonplace now to have students on the interview panel for teaching jobs, and the BBC article I've linked to below recommends that more do it. It's widely condemned by teaching unions as undermining teacher's authority, and there is a quote from NASUWT in the article below.

I understand what they are trying to do here. Students are really the only ones who can tell you if they are learning from a particular teacher or not. Feedback from students, in a questionnaire or verbal form, after a lesson taught during interview is probably the only way you're going to get proper insight into how much they actually picked up.

I think there is definitely a culture of spying on teachers from senior management though, and this just gives them one more way to do that. The aim is to catch the teacher doing something in front of students that they wouldn't do with senior management present. Students become spies as well, reporting back with what they saw and heard in the field.

I think students realise this, and of course, what's to stop them fabricating what they saw, heard and learned? By an extension of this, putting students on interview panels just gives too much weight to that voice.

Yes, it is only members of student councils and carefully selected students that can be trusted with the task. Yes, they're not present for the whole interview when potentially sensitive human resources and health issues are raised. At least I would hope they are not.

But, it's just too much. Can you imagine inmates on a panel to interview prison guards and police officers? Patients on a panel to recruit doctors and nurses? It just wouldn't happen. Yet, it happens in teaching.

It's gimmicky, and it gives too much weight to the learner voice.


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