Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Thoughtful material

As with any material that makes you think, information was provided at yesterday's PD session that has the mind racing. In particular was the advice (not directive) to not publish anything online that might criticise your employer.

This was of particular interest to me as this blog forms an important part of my teacher reflection and I do comment on public figures from time to time (Julia et al.) who is my indirect employer (being a part of government) and DET who is my immediate employer. Much of it is tongue in cheek - but hopefully constructive criticism and investigation of topical issues.

I strongly agree with the presenter that information needs to be anonymised and any reference to an individual student on this blog is an idealised representation of students gained through day to day interaction (no student mentioned on here actually exists, although the situations may have occurred in some form)... and that has always been on purpose.. similarly there are no direct quotes from named individual staff... nor is my school disclosed (although if you know me, you could probably figure it out - which is ok - as you would know where I work anyway).

Although information suppression was not the intent of the PD yesterday, the inferred blanket ban on comments from teachers about schooling is a problem as it suppresses idea development and gives the impression to the public that teachers are not inclusive and won't interact with the community to better serve. This ivory tower where schooling is only discussed in the school is not right. It is interesting to see the public encouragement of involvement with the community yet the blanket that is put around what appropriate involvement is.

Teachers are professionals and have a responsibility to develop the concept of schooling with the community. It is interesting to see schools responses to Web 2.0 technologies like Facebook and mySpace. As stated in earlier articles, I believe direct communication between teachers and student via this mechanism (at present) is inappropriate, fraught with danger and misadventure, but to distance ourselves from it is to create another disconnect with our students in addition to the emotional and physical disconnects that currently exist. To ignore it is to limit our ability to monitor cyber-bullying and create situations where students are put at risk (as students quickly recognise unmonitored resources that can be abused).

With open internet based resources available, teaching has an opportunity to widen it's ability to communicate and interact more with parents, past students and community organisations to improve the behaviour and intellectual output of students.

I think this is one of those issues that needs further investigation.

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