Danika Barker (@danikabarker) is a high school English teacher that I learn from regularly on Twitter and really respect a lot as an educator. She’s mentioned before that Twitter can almost be like an “echo chamber.” This is very true. Often we post tweets or share blog posts, and there’s numerous responses echoing how wonderful the ideas are that we shared. Yes, positive comments are always great to hear. They’re appreciated! That being said, I also appreciate the comments where people don’t agree with me. I appreciate those that question what I do, or those that share differing viewpoints. It’s through these other comments that I’m made to really reflect on what I do and why I do it, and this reflection is what makes me a better teacher.
Yesterday, I blogged about a change that I’m making to my literacy program. This change was inspired by Angie Harrison (@techieang), but I tweaked it to best meet the needs of my students. On Saturday night, I engaged in some online discussion about this change that I was making, and this conversation inspired me to blog about what I was doing. Truthfully, this was a hard blog post to write. I know that people having varying views on how to run literacy workstations, and I know that my views differ from some educators that I really admire and respect. I wasn’t sure that I wanted people to question my choices. But then I started to think: I know what I do and I know why I do it. I believe in the choices that I make, and I know that these choices are best for my students and their different needs. I respect others that I interact with online, and if people disagree with what I post, that’s okay too. I can either explain the rationale for what I do, or I can learn something new and change again. Either way, this is a win-win situation.
So I decided to publish my post, and as expected, not everyone saw things the way that I did. What was great though is that people commented on my post and shared their differing views. They weren’t mean or negative. They explained why they thought what they thought, and they encouraged me to share my thinking too. We were all having a grown-up conversation online, and from the ideas shared on this post, I’ve been thinking even more about what I plan on doing and how I can make my program even better for my students. What I liked best about our conversation was what Celina Brennan (@celinabrennan) shared in her comment:
We all teach for the students, so shouldn’t they be at the forefront of our conversation?
Thank you to my amazing PLN that blocked the echo chamber, shared their differing views, asked insightful questions, and really pushed me to think why I’m making the choices that I am and if these are the best choices to make. As Colin Harris (@digitalnative) said today, when referring to the learning that happened as a result of the discussion on yesterday’s blog post, I’m “learning at the speed of collaboration.” Wow! So insightful, and so true.
Just think, if it weren’t for Twitter, how else would I have an amazing teacher from British Columbia, an incredible educator from Washington State, a terrific teacher from Melbourne, Australia, an outstanding, independent educational consultant and worldwide leader in oral language literacy learning, and so many other fantastic educators and administrators even take notice or care what I’m doing in my classroom? Twitter’s allowed me to learn and share on a global scale.
How’s Twitter impacted on your teaching and learning? I’d love to hear about your experiences as well!