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Experts Offer Four Ways to Ease the Teaching-Hiring Process

Experts Offer Four Ways to Ease the Teaching-Hiring Process

Finding and maintaining an effective teaching staff can be tough, but there are plenty of methods administrators can take in order to ease the teaching-hiring process.

Jennifer L. Hindman, assistant director of the School-University Research Network in the College of William & Mary's School of Education said that interviewing "just doesn't get the training time that it needs," according to an article on DistrictAdministration.com.

“Yet if we hire the right folks, it makes everything else easier, from getting the instructional gains in student achievement that we need to evaluation of the employees that we hire," Hindman continued.

The article, written by Deborah Yaffe, looks at four methods administrators can take when hiring new teachers. These tips are provided by school administrators and education experts. One method is "shaping the hiring team."

According to Yaffe, "improving hiring requires sharpening every stage of the process: ensuring that hiring teams are well-trained, finding ways to detect hidden gems in tall stacks of resumes, and tailoring interview questions to elicit key information about teaching ability."

"Too many school districts still leave hiring entirely up to principals, rather than adding such people as department heads or instructional coaches to the hiring team, say those in the field," the article said. "And while it’s common in higher education for instructors to help hire their future colleagues, few K12 district leaders involve teachers in the process."

A second area of tips is titled "beyond Q&A."

Once the pool of teacher candidates has been narrowed to a few finalists, it’s crucial that principals and their interviewing teams know how to ask the right questions—and avoid the wrong ones. Even innocent inquiries about such forbidden topics as religion, pregnancy or age can risk discrimination complaints from rejected candidates. And woolly, value-laden questions—such as “What is your educational philosophy?”—waste precious interview time without eliciting useful information. Instead, say those in the field, interviewers should ask “behavior-based” questions, which encourage candidates to describe what they’ve done in the past rather than hypothesize about what they might do in the future.

According to the article, "in evaluating the answers that candidates give, members of the hiring team should use rubrics—or less detailed proficient/satisfactory/unsatisfactory scoring systems—to judge prospective teachers against consistent and objective criteria."

"Some districts are also moving beyond traditional question-and-answer interviews, arranging for groups of teacher candidates to come together to interpret data or to discuss short reading assignments; hiring teams observe the sessions, looking for signs that prospective teachers can work in teams, communicate effectively and understand data," the article said.

Read the full story and comment below.

Article by Kassondra Granata, Education World Contributor

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