Confronting Old Wounds


Thanks to a new Google Alert I set up, I received a note about new research on Web 2.0 Tools and Learning, which the folks at the Digital Education blog found by citing Ewan McIntosh! I never ceased to be amazed at the power of linking to connect us and our ideas!

Web 2.0 tools encourage participation and engagement, especially for those students who are timid; help students continue classroom discussions outside of the classroom; let students who are so inclined continue researching anytime, anywhere; and instill a sense of ownership and pride in students for the work they publish online, which can lead to more attention to detail and a better quality of work.
The report also found that one of the biggest obstacles to using Web 2.0 tools in the classroom was the time it takes teachers to incorporate those new tools into lesson plans. Although many teachers were familiar with the tools and used them in their personal lives, they were apprehensive about how to monitor Internet use in the classroom and the time needed to figure out how those tools should be used to teach.

I honestly believe that the obstacles aren't our teachers, but the fears teachers must overcome to help our children learn...As Pete Reilly points out, It takes courage to learn alongside your students.

Well, how are each of us overcoming those obstacles? How are we finding the courage to learn? And, what happens when that courage to try new things is used against us?

Of potential new teachers on the market these days, I would guess that somewhere between 60 and 80 percent of new pre-service teachers have social networking sites just from informal surveys I did of my pre-service teachers at Indiana University. So, there is a wealth of information available there that potential employees have chosen to make public. Now, if you are a new teacher on the job market, I would just get rid of it for the time being.
Source: Potential Employers Part of Your Social Network, The Edjurist

What hypocrisy. Transparency is about being open about our mistakes and what they've taught us, allowing them to be visible but using our heightened perspective, enabling us to transform them. Again, I must quote one of my favorite tales that long-time readers of Around the Corner will remember:

From my position high on the dragon's back, I noticed that the dragon's body was covered with old wounds. WHenever the dragon breathed forth fire to light the path in front of us, I noticed that the wounds glowed golden-red in the dark. When I asked about them, the dragon replied, "Oh, my friend, I have been slain a thousand times, but I have always arisen again. These old wounds are the source of my power and my insight. Our greatest and worst enemies are not the monsters who roam the forest or even wicked witches or evil wizards. No, it is our scars, our wounds, and old injuries that we must fear. As we journey through life we have all been injured--hurt by parents, brothers or sister, schoolmates, strangers, lovers, teachers. Each wound has the power to talk to us, you know. They speak, however, with crooked voices because of the scars.
All of us have wounds--old ones and new ones--and whenever the monster appears, when hell breaks loose, we know that our old wounds are talking guiding us. It is these wounds that must be confronted (Hays, 1986).)

We are caught up in an act of creation...while we hope that the end result will be neat and clean, sometimes, it's messy.

We must create for the sake of creating. We cannot fall in love with our ideas if we live in constant fear of judgement. When we create, we experience deeper meaning. We begin to do the thing because we must...because we are doing something we love, we can let go of the concerns that drive our egos.
Source: Quinn, Changing the World

Let's hope that our future employers ARE tuned into our social network...maybe, they'll learn what learning is about.


EstieC said…
There's so much in this post that I'm not sure where to start!

Regarding Web2.0 in the classroom: I've been amazed at how my students have responded to the implementation of Web2.0 in my classes this year. Via blogs, wikis, nings, multimedia, students are more engaged and I believe they are retaining more than ever!

Regarding Pete Reilly statement: I'm not shy to 'learn along with my students.' Rather, I think the fact that I am learning along with them humanizes me--which is a good thing. I'm not the sage on the stage, but the guide on the side.

I believe as teachers we shouldn't be afraid to make mistakes in front of our students, but rather use our own blunders as teachable moments to model for students how one can learn from them and (like the dragon) gain both wisdom and strength from those mistakes.

Regarding the Edjurist: Participating in social networking sites like Facebook could be a plus to teachers in the job market. I know that my page is professional--I use it as another tool to connect with other educators, old friends, and it's a great way for me to connect with my students. The page would be a 'negative' for a potential employer only if I didn't remain professional.

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