Does this scenario seem familiar? A CELTA trainee’s struggling more than most with teacher talk time/language awareness and you want to remind yourself what’s on the interview note sheet. Digging that out reveals a combination of comments such as ‘might be a bit wordy’ or ‘LA weak’ or ‘explained’. Then at the bottom of the sheet, the overall is ‘quite weak, but should be ok’ and ‘offer place’ is ticked.
It is familiar to me and I wonder how commonplace this is. It’s important that assessors have to answer that question ‘Did the interview notes and selection tasks of fail and pass/fail candidates provide evidence that they were appropriately selected?’ and presumably then Cambridge would act if they had a cause for concern about the numbers.
But can we ourselves do anything to limit the number of such applicants being accepted? Should centres have more responsibility when it comes to helping an interviewee part with their money and therefore putting them in this situation? I know I need to have courage to reject someone at interview, particularly if the centre’s policy is for me to tell them face to face. I have learnt to find a professional, neutral reason that I and the centre can stand by if it is questioned, but still.
In an ideal world, you would interview the applicants who have chosen the course that you are running. In this way, your decision would feel more tangible i.e. ‘can I train this person?’ and when this has been the case with some applicants and some courses, it has felt more satisfactory. Of course, this is not logistically always possible, only applying to some courses and some applicants. But could we try to replicate this tangibility i.e. slightly reword the question ‘would I be able to train this person if it were my course?’ It’s not an exact science, but it might help?