Just a few minutes ago, many educators around the world wrapped up another wonderful Tuesday afternoon #edchat on Twitter (summary courtesy of @rliberni). Though today’s topic originally started with the question of whether or not to lengthen the school day/year, it became quickly apparent that refocusing attention towards structure and content was the more relevant issue.
Before I joined the Twitter conversation, I had finished reading several forum posts on the Classroom 2.0 Ning. Someone had recently asked about the distinction between teachers as instructors and as guides. There were excellent replies, which identified teachers as facilitators and activators, who model steps and guide students in their learning process. However, there was one post that stood out. This particular author commented that good teachers are those who know how to structure the learning environment. I thought that was an excellent insight, as I believe that is an example of one of the characteristics of effective teachers.
Fast forward to the #edchat: midway through the conversation, a question arose on teacher roles in affecting change for school format and content. Some leaned towards use of virtual learning spaces, while others called for more professional development. A particular tweet caught my attention: Why not focus on successful methods in the classroom and leave the rest alone to others?
My first reaction was to think out loud, Doesn’t that bring us a step backward? Teachers have previously taught with closed doors and are now learning how to reach out to others across the hallways, states and countries. Part of being a teacher is understanding that the structure works best when it works collaboratively with other colleagues, administration, parents and students. How do we expect to achieve our goals of improving education if a teacher decided that their responsibilities lie solely within the classroom walls?
Is it truly dangerous territory for a teacher to step beyond those boundaries? What exactly are the roles of a teacher? Are we simply just instructors, guides, and facilitators? What about the societal rules, to act as appropriate role models on and off school property and in online spaces, imposed on educators? If we are expected to act as professional educators at all times, does that not mean our responsibilities extend beyond the classroom?
The beauty of these #edchats is that I am exposed to many varying and thought-provoking perspectives, insights and ideas. Surely this is a topic that will stay on my mind for a long time!
Want to try Edchat?
- Join us in an #edchat discussion on Twitter every Tuesday, twice a day at 12PM EST and 7PM EST!
- Check out previous #edchat archived transcripts at the Edchat wiki!
- Refer to these excellent blog posts by @rliberni and @shellterrell for more Twitter#edchat resources!