Feature Article: The mechanization of teaching: Teachers’ metaphors and evaluation in Japanese tertiary education

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Peter Burden

Twelve ELT university teachers reflected, through using metaphors, in interviews about the use of Student Evaluation of Teaching surveys (SETs) in their respective universities. Studying teachers' metaphor reveals their first-hand experience of how they were affected in their teaching by SETs. Metaphors suggest that SETs do not match teachers’ conceptions of teaching as an art. Such evaluation has caused relations between teachers, administrators, and students to fracture due to competitive ranking. While participants accept formative evaluation as a necessary process to give insights to teachers, they wish for a more open, improvement-focused, cooperative, specific evaluation. They want more teacher involvement and more dialogue between teachers to discuss the results of SETs to aid the reflective process for change.