Friday, 24 February 2017

The Value in Responding

Another of Doug Peterson's posts on Off The Record got me thinking this week - I love that about online connections!  He wrote about the power of commenting on blogs:

Most certainly, there are values and connections to be had with replies.  The original blogger extends her reach and makes new and important connections when people comment.  The blogger may realize that they absolutely have nailed a concept, they may find that there are other ways at looking at a topic, or they might be convinced that they were completely wrong.  Without that feedback, the blogger might just go through life thinking they know everything about everything.
Constructive thoughts continue and extend the conversation and can make new connections.  There are many folks who don’t blog for whatever reason and that’s their choice.  But, if they’re reading other blogs, they can do their own mini-blog by sharing their thoughts.
My first blog was a travel blog when I was living in Argentina.  I started it because my mom and dad weren't on Facebook and it was a way to connect with them and share my adventures.  It turned out to be a great way to deal with some of the stress of living in a country where I didn't speak the language and didn't always understand the culture.  I wasn't expecting any comments, but it was a bonus when they happened.
But this blog is different.  Writing is a way that I can get all the ideas and thoughts that are spinning around in my head down on 'paper' where I can see them and think about them.   And I wonder what other people are thinking about the same topics.  So when I started blogging here, I often ended each blog with a few prompting questions - hoping for a response.  But as Doug notes, people are busy and there is just so much content to read with Twitter and Facebook providing links to so many articles and blogs.  Or they would respond to the link on Twitter or Facebook, not on the blog itself.

For my part, I don't always respond to blogs that I read unless an idea really resonates with me or provokes my thinking.  Recently I responded to Bill Ferguson's Recommendations Follow Up Post where he said he thought every new teacher should be required to get a masters degree within five years of graduating from teachers' college.  By doing so, I could let him know just a few of the many reasons I disagree with that recommendation, and then he was able to respond and let me know his rationale for recommending this idea.  
What about you?  Do you comment on blogs? Twitter? Facebook?  Are you more comfortable commenting when you know the person 'in real life' as opposed to only virtually?  

Lisa Cranston

6 days ago  -  Shared publicly 

I disagree with the suggestion that every new teacher should have their masters degree in five years after beginning teaching. Many new teachers are still struggling with student loans, in addition to their extracurricular activities at school and starting young families. They may not have the time, energy or money to spend on a masters degree. I know many new teachers who have part time jobs on the weekend and after school to supplement their salary so graduate school is not feasible for everyone. However, I do think all teachers need to continue learning but that learning could be AQ courses, professional conferences or reading professional journals. Just like students learning through inquiry based on their interests, teachers should also be able to follow their professional curiosities.
In my own situation, I finished my masters degree in 2001, 16 years after teachers college.
I agree wholeheartedly with many of your other recommendations and have worked for many years supporting teachers in using a student-inquiry based approach to teaching. Once teachers see the engagement and motivation students have for inquiry, they never want to go back to the old 'sage on the stage' model again.
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Hi Lisa,
Thank you for your reply. In my research about what makes the countries at the top of the PISA list stay there I found that some require their staff to have a masters before they begin a teaching career. While explanations as to why varied the consensus was that as professionals and thought of as equal to doctors and lawyers that they need to be better qualified. These countries have a strong respect for teachers and the qualifications are justified to maintain this respect. There was also some thought given towards the idea that there was a stronger correlation between having a masters and being more committed towards education. In some of the countries they choose the students in high school from their interests and marks and give them all the support they need to be successful.
Personally I think the social work connections in schools is more important as issues that arise can be dealt with before they become full grown problems.
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