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 When Schools Say ‘All Means All,’ What Do They Really Mean? (Education Week)

In order for students to be academically engaged, they have to feel an emotional connection to school. If they aren’t able to fully be who they are, how can they ever feel an emotional connection to their school? The following are some ways you can help:

  • Acknowledge that LGBTQ students exist in your school. There are times that leaders tell me they don’t have any gay kids in their schools. I have told them that I’m not great with statistics, but it’s statistically impossible to not have gay kids in your school.
  • Create Policies to protect them from being bullied. However, policies are not as good as the paper they are written on if leaders and teachers do not enforce them.
  • Provide Inclusive curriculum, books, and novels. I lost my dad when I was in 5th grade. My teachers never read books that were set in a one-parent household. I often felt like I was on the outside looking in. Many LGBTQ students feel the same way. Unfortunately, many librarians are asked to secretly ban books so they never make it to the shelves in a library.
  • Offer Images such as safe-space stickers so all students know they have a refuge to go to. Safe-space stickers are not just for LGBTQ students. They offer a beacon of light for any student who doesn’t feel safe.
  • Use terms like LGBT or LGBTQ so they actually feel as though you care—language is everything. I understand it’s a bit of an alphabet soup sometimes, so focus on one that all adults can use.

If we say All Means All, shouldn’t we mean it?

This is a great message Peter and some really useful points to reflect upon. It is interesting to think of it alongside Joanna Morehead’s discussion of boys and masculinity in schools. It makes me think that not only do we have to be mindful of the students we have in the classroom, but also the citizens we have a role in creating.
Bookmarked Are You Blithely Unaware of How Educational Research Impacts You? by Peter DeWitt (Education Week – Peter DeWitt’s Finding Common Ground)

There are teachers and leaders who believe that researchers have little to do with their classroom practice, but the reality is that what researchers do has a direct effect on everything that happens in the classroom. We may think that we work in silent protest to research but the reality is that it all trickles down into our little casual corner called our classrooms and schools. And we should stop being blithely unaware of it all.

Peter DeWitt reflects on the place of research within education. He makes a comparison with the Devil Wears Prada and the way we assume fashion changes and trends. I find this interesting as both fashion and research are often outside of the reach people and pedagogues. This is epitomised by the story of Aaron Swartz who died campaigning against research hidden by paywalls. Is it possible for all educators to feasibly have access to research or is this another example of have’s or have not’s.