Today’s #Edchat focused on blogs. Using them, not using them, how we’re using them, why we use them…
Obviously I’m pro-blog. I use my blog to gather thoughts, to share them, to polish my writing skills, to pull together disparate threads from different parts of my life. I use my blogs as a dumping ground, a place to store ideas I want to come back to and, from time to time, as a bully pulpit. But I hadn’t really thought about this until @ShiftParadigm asked this question:
And that’s when I realize that all of that dumping and thread pulling and thinking is me making something public. Putting my thoughts and ideas about random (sometimes disconnected) things out into the world.
Isn’t that what reflection is- a largely internal process? And isn’t writing- be it on a blog, a book, a journal or a bathroom wall- one way of making that internal process external?
Check me out! I’m reflecting!
So then I got to thinking about the GMLO project I’m doing and this book I’d been reading as part of it- School Renewal (another great read from my colleague Torin Finser). Now, Torin is a leader in the Waldorf Schools community, which sometimes makes “regular” school teachers think that he’s not able to offer them much (which is CRAZY I tell you. Nuts. Dude has mad skilz.). He’s also not a big fan of social media (though he’s coming to see its charms under my tutelage.)
But Torin’s work- in this book and writ large- have so much to do with the experiences I have via social media. Both are means by which internal processes like learning and reflection can lead to change, be it school change, personal change, or community change. Torin says:
Education is about relationships, yet so often that dynamic is skewed too far in favor of institutions, or just the relationship between teachers and children. I encourage teachers and parents to give themselves permission to work together. I also found it to be more fun that way.
This is exactly the experience I have through social media. I get to talk and think with parents, teachers, former students, current students (one of the joys of teaching graduate school), and colleagues. All at the same time, through the same conversation via the same medium. Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Youtube…they all give me a way to connect ideas that inform my journey as an educator. PLUS? It’s more fun that way. Right? There’s a joyfulness to this connection- be it face to face or via social media- that somehow gives us permission to take ourselves a little less seriously. After all, we’re sort of breaking the rules already, why not enjoy it?
“Isn’t that what reflection is-a largely internal process? And isn’t writing-be it on a blog… one way of making that internal process external?”
I like how you frame the purpose/value of blogging for teachers. Of course, externalizing that which is internal can be scary, and depending on how controversial the subject, potentially risky.