Friday, 20 August 2010

The role of students in recruitment

The NASUWT recently published some data on teacher's responses to the use of 'Student Voice', so I thought I might write up my current views on the topic.

Students are the primary recipients of teachers' practice and wisdom, teachers need to be respected by those pupils (it's earned, not granted by right of position), need to be able to communicate effectively (the meaning of a communication is the response you get) and to be able to engage students when either or both are stressed.

Why should those recipients (we would call them customers in a different environment) not be involved? I used to involve my staff in decisions about their peers and theri bosses - they had to work with them so let them have a voice.

The challenge then becomes how to engage pupils most effectively in the process and how (much) to value their input in the final decision. That might be the topic for a separate blog, here I want to stick with the principle of pupil involvement.

Obviously a teacher liked by the students but who has no technical knowledge or teaching ability would be no use, equally a teacher with the best knowledge and teaching credentials would be no good if they could not actually enage the students. Would you employ a great teacher who could not communicate effectively with their peers (or 'subordinates' if they were seeking a management role)? I hope not. Likewise someone who comes across well to the interviewers but cannot connect with the kids is likely to be a weak link.

The students have their place in the process, as I said above, the challenge is to give them the right place and weight and to equip them with the right tools to be abel to contribute effectively (and what a useful skill that will be in theri futures).