In this open letter, “Connected Educator” offers a blunt appraisal of the consequences for teachers and students when leadership refuses to connect classrooms to the world via public social media.
If you missed our book launch party for The Connected Teacher: Powering Up — here’s the archive of the complete hour, plus audio clips of readings by teacher authors Patti Grayson, Brian Crosby, Kathy Cassidy, Marsha Ratzel and Shelley Wright. Be inspired and motivated by their personal stories of connected learning and teacher transformation. And some great conversation.
I used to think I was a pretty good teacher. Now I realize that I did the best I could with the knowledge I had, but my classroom was woefully inadequate for many of my students. I failed to equip them with what they needed. I now believe my students are competent to show me what they need, if only I take the time to listen and ask authentic questions. I’m becoming a better teacher by giving up a lot of what I used to think.
In our technological world we have, for the first time, the capability to teach students how to use the strengths and passions of their inner world to make the outer world a better place. This is why the experience of art, music, drama, dance and sports education is essential. It is up to adults to help students make keys for the door of their inner world; to show them how to find the personal energy to address the why’s and the how’s of today’s challenges.
I believe it is not enough to judge humankind on scientific principles — which historically have often been temporary truths. Schooling must respect the art of human-ness and so we should design natural learning environments to maximize our children’s innate assets.
After years of having a consistent online presence, I’m continuing to come to terms with my lack of blogging and other writing/sharing in the school year just past. But I think I can say that my muted voice is in part the result of a ever-increasing focus on the all-important high stakes tests, and the strict curriculum controls and direct-instruction mandates that have grown up around the national “accountability” movement.