Replied to Fitting In Might Be All Bullshit

An enlightening Ted Talk and just like Carlin before him – The American Dream is under attack. But this time there is more. This is not just about America. This is about people, individuality, questioning ‘falling into line’ and doing ‘what is expected of you’. Something that I have definitely on occasions taken to an extreme in my past.

Hell is other people or other people’s comments?
Liked How to Argue Better

1. Say nothing (to start with) – Allow people to vent. Don’t interrupt and certainly don’t judge by saying things like, “Calm down,” or “You’re obviously mistaken here.”

2. Ask questions rather than try to make a point – This is easier said than done but try to ask questions that clarify the reasons behind the anger/upset or conflict – “Why is that upsetting you?” or “It strikes me that this is the problem. Have I heard you right?”

3. Recognise that you played a part here, and own it – Rather than talking about what the other person did/does/feels, talk about what you did/do/feel. Talking about the other person just makes them get even angrier.

Replied to 3 Reasons I Do Not Engage in Twitter Debates by an author (Education Week)

There are three reasons why I do not get into debates on social media. So, if you’re looking to get into one with me, please feel free to read this blog over and over again to get an understanding of why I won’t debate with you. Those three reasons I don’t debate are:

They’re rarely about common understanding—Debates on social media are rarely about finding common ground, and I always prefer to get into situations where we can learn from one another and move on with a better understanding. Many people trying to debate us are really looking to win. That’s never a good beginning to a beautiful friendship.

They make you look really crazy to onlookers—When we are in the battle, we feel like we are making tactical moves and Tweeting or posting really impressively smart comments. In our heads, we feel like J.K Rowling with her stunning comebacks. In reality, we look crazy, and it’s just not worth it.

I’m not good at them—I’m the first to admit I’m a reflective guy. I’m not a debate-club graduate, because I need time (and lots of it) to gather my thoughts, look at the research, and process my answers. Debates on social media rarely encourage that type of thinking. I’d much prefer to have someone post a comment on the blog that I can respond to.

This is an interesting reflection Peter. It captures some of the divide within EduTwitter. Although it can be a space to connect and shares, something Ian Guest captured through his research. It can also be quite toxic, a point that Stewart Riddle unpacks.

In some ways, this reminds me of a post I wrote a few years ago on ‘ideals‘:

Although it is important to dream and dream big, at some point our efforts need to turn to finding pragmatic solutions for the now. They need to be ideas and initiatives that respond to the problem at hand. Instead of calling for a revolution, our attention should be on how we can evolve education one change at a time.

My concern is that we decide who or what is our tribe then chastise those who do not agree. It feels like this is what happened recently with Greg Miller.

What I liked about your post is your comparison with blogging and Twitter. Personally, I find it a different experience to collect my thoughts on my own site (like this post), rather than just jump straight into Twitter. Although I can link this post to yours and webmentions will bring your responses back, I believe it is in the comments that a deeper discussion can be had. I find myself being much more reflective in not only taking the time to craft out my comment with various links, but I also feel more ownership and awareness of what I write and say.

In the end, we may not agree with each other on every matter, but we need spaces to carve out knowledge and understanding together. I think that this is the challenge of the #ProSocialWeb movement.

Replied to How to Win an Argument Every Time, Why You Should Not, & What it Means for Education (Etale)

it is not good to win arguments every time. As much as I value the article and the infographic, and as much as I took a little time to track down the context for the infographic, the title focuses our attention on trying to win the argument every time. I disagree, and not just in situations where we recognize that we are wrong. Sometimes we are completely convinced that we are right, but we are not. To win would take us and others further away from the objective truth or the wisest course of action. I contend that the pursuit of such an approach, while we will never do it fully or perfectly, is an important part of civil discourse, the cultivation of wisdom, much needed leadership, and actual progress. If truth matters and we value wisdom in the modern world, then skill in rhetoric must always be paired with humility and a love for that which is wise, true, beautiful, and good.

This is a useful post Bernard. It reminds me of a post I wrote a few years ago on the dangers of tribes and evolving the conversation. It feels as if social media pushes us to these extremes at times, rather than the grey space.

Coming from a Literature background, so often things are structured are power and persuasion. I feel if I had (or have) my time again how I might bring some more nuanced conversations in the classroom. I think that the Visible Learning routines can be helpful in developing this.