Views on Teacher Training Recruitment: Uncertainty and Clarity
As a marketing company specialising in the area, we know that now is a tough time for education recruitment. If you work in the area, you may have many views on how things can be improved. So do we. It’s part of what makes us so valuable to our client schools and teacher training providers. However, as with any problem, we believe it’s always worth taking into consideration a range of views on how things can progress generally, as well as within specific institutions.
Uncertainty is the problem – Kevin Courtney of the National Education Union
Kevin Courtney, Joint General Secretary for the National Education Union, said that uncertainty among aspiring teachers regarding routes into the profession was a big reason for recent struggles in teacher recruitment.
He has a point. Once upon a time, teacher training consisted of passing an exam, gaining experience and then getting a job. Over the decades, the system has developed and become more complex. Consequently, entry routes today are not only much longer, they are also more convoluted; with university and school led courses, SCITTs and ITTs, paid and unpaid training.
No doubt there are many political arguments to be had about the right solution on a national level. However, when we consider the problem within individual institutions, the solution is clarity. The first thing Drunk Animal do for most of their teacher training clients is help them to clear out the jargon and provide answers to the big questions prospective trainees have:
- Why train to be a teacher?
- What is needed?
- How does the training work?
- What is included?
- What will I gain?
And most importantly:
- Why train here?
Delivering clear answers to these questions is a significant step on the road to solving the issue that Mr. Courtney rightly highlighted.
There may be many readers currently in teacher training who say that they provide plenty of information, including answers to the questions above, in their handouts and on their sites. This is almost certainly true; a lack of information is not the problem. The issue is that it’s often so dense that it can be overwhelming, clarity is lost, and the most important things are obscured. We trim the amount of information circulated by most of the providers we work with to make the answers to those questions stand out. We also find ourselves scrapping complex, technical language and adding images or visual aids to break up the text.
Most importantly, keep it short and simple. It may help to remember that the people you are writing for are just like the children who sit in your classrooms; clarity is key.