Saturday, 29 August 2015

Will a facebook "purge" put an end to the problem or is that just turning a blind eye?

This image from Johannes de Ketham's Fasciculus Medicinae (Venice, 1492) reminds me in so many ways of Facebook, and, to a much lesser extent, other social media.
It seems you can post just about anything on there with no forethought as to whether the facts are correct, and the masses will help you villify the perpertrator of your supposed ill fortune (or the reported ill fortunes of others).  They will use every instrument - blunt and sharp- to maim, wound and kill the evil one.  Somewhat like a witch hunt.  Judgement is pronounced, urging the masses to seek out and destroy.Now I do understand that everyone is entitled to their own opinions, but urging and inciting people to do wrong?  THAT is against the law.  Think carefully before you urge someone to hunt down "that bully" and deal to him/her.  

Of course, it works the other way, too.  You can post some trivial, unproven emotionally blackmailing garbage and the masses will oohh and ahhh and like to their hearts content, thus raising the post in your feed.  Thank the facebook gods for allowing me to turn off notifications. It is my facebook version of turning a blind eye.

Which brings me now to professional posts.  As a professional eduator, I am privvy to a number of professional groups on facebook as well.  The number of times that I cringe when reading posts in some of these groups is increasing, I am sad to say.  If you are a professional teacher, you must be one of the 100,000+ registered teachers in New Zealand.  There is a code of ethics and also practicing teacher criteria  which you must show evidence that you meet every three years.  One of those criteria is number 6. conceptualise, plan and implement an appropriate learning programme and the key indicators of this are
i. articulate clearly the aims of their teaching, give sound professional reasons for adopting these aims, and implement them in their practice
ii. through their planning and teaching, demonstrate their knowledge and understanding of relevant content, disciplines and curriculum documents
So this means, you should be following the relevant school curriculum.  You don't just fill a space with stuff that you like doing.  You find out what the school has decided are the important things for the students to learn and you design a programme so that they will learn those things.  For instance, if a school has decided that the students should be exposed to a variety of art styles because they want students to learn to be creative in art, and be able to employ, describe and critique 5 different styles, then it is quite appropriate that you incorporate making a variety of art styles into your programme.  With your curriculum committee, you will decide when and how this happens. 
There should be no posts saying "I need a unit to fill in a week before the end of term - can someone help?"  I am sorry if this hurts your feelings but YOU ARE A PROFESSIONAL!  You are paid as a professional, now use the facebook page to share professional resources and experiences, but be a 21st century educator who sifts and sorts and uses what is relevant to your school curriculum the learning outcomes that your school desires for their students.
Your students need you to be a critical thinker, too!  If you think your school curriculum is not cutting the mustard, then it is up to you to show leadership and make some changes.


  1. So well said! The cringe factor reading teachers' inane requests for help is incredibly saddening. I'll share this with others!


  3. As we were discussing on #edchatnz. Thanks Leigh. I want my child's teacher to meety child's learning needs and not just do some busy or fun stuff. I too shall share this.

  4. What she said! Totally agree .... and a big difference between learning from others and being lazy/unprofessional

  5. Well said Leigh - my personal rant... Pinterest is NOT pedagogy!

  6. Do you know any good iPad apps? ;-)

  7. I heartily concur! While there are some truly inspirational posts on teacher social media sites, there is a pervading sense of 'I can't be bothered to create something that fits my learners. I know! I'll just ask on [insert site]. To say nothing of people still peddling pedagogies that have been denounced useless (e.g. learning styles). And while on the subject of teacher posts, the pedant in me is alarmed by the large number of posts that reveal a scant regard for the conventions of grammar and spelling (not talking about the silly typos we all make). Which is rather odd for sites/pages devoted to teaching and learning.

  8. Absolutely - well said! I'm also appalled that so many on the FB teacher group don't know some really basic stuff.