Tags: Curriculum Manager | Student Voice | Teaching & Learning Coordinator | Teaching and Learning

As curriculum managers seek new ways to engage students as partners in learning, a new website that invites pupils to rate their teachers has received mixed reactions.

Many feel that such a site can only be destructive, encouraging students to slate staff in a public forum. Others believe it is important to give students a voice, even if what they have to say is not that complimentary.

For curriculum managers wanting to overcome teacher unease about seeking students’ opinions on their teaching, such a site is likely to make their task harder rather than easier.

The site www.ratemyteachers.co.uk invites pupils and parents to score teachers on categories including easiness, helpfulness, clarity and popularity. Their overall rating and any comments they want to add can be posted anonymously. Comments include: ‘she’s really boring’, and ‘awful teacher, no one likes him, and he doesn’t know how to teach’.

Teachers’ ‘disgust’ The site includes a comments board where visitors can say what they think about ratemyteachers. According to one posting, allegedly from a teacher: ‘This site is not a disgrace, it is just a place where pupils can vent their feelings and talk openly about their education.’ Another teacher comment was not so applauding: ‘Try teaching full time in an inner-city school yourself and maybe you’ll realise how callous and inaccurate your site is.’ As another user pointed out, anyone can register for the site saying they are a parent or teacher and post opinions on teachers they have never even met.

The Association of Teachers and Lecturers Cymru has condemned the website and has called for an investigation. Many are waiting for similar action from their own union and for information on the legality of such a site under the Human Rights Act .

What do you think of the site? Email your views to: [email protected]

This article first appeared in Curriculum Management Update – Apr 2006

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