Some twitter folks may of followed bits of this scenario if they had been on twitter at all yesterday. If not, try to follow along. Here is how it started…
In that third tweet, I shouldn’t have used the typical teacher talk to refer to the classroom conversation as a ‘lesson’. For this post I will save you the details about the ‘conversation’/'learning experience’/'time together’, but I suspect bits and pieces will come out as I share my perspective.
Anyway, this tweet triggered a few replies. Through the early evening, we threw a few tweets back and forth. Eventually, I picked up a short conversation with @mindelei (that is the only name I know know her by.) As a brand new teacher, I like following and tweeting with Mindelei, because she is a pre-service teacher and writes well. We shared meaningful discussion and questioning on teaching about the ‘idea of cool’.
I claimed that it is important to discuss ‘cool’ with students. That everyone has their own unique sense of ‘cool’. Referring to the students, I tweeted about coolness as part of one’s ‘self’. Everyone is cool in some way. I tweeted about modeling ‘cool’ and that students are shown many examples when we teach about hero’s, share best practices and point out ‘cool’ acts.
I wrote that, too often ‘cool’ equates with ‘popular’ and that is false. Coolness is not about social hierarchy at all. It is about strong values/morals/ethics, neat interests, talents, being real. To me it is about being calm, collected and with ‘it’. Again, this is my perception of the concept, if you don’t agree please share. I know this is not the general perception of cool.
Mindelei and I ended up seeing eye-to-eye, I think, and we concluded that the debate we were having was moot as it was hinging on semantics. I have invited her to follow this blog post to discuss further, if she wants.
Whoohoo, success. Learning is awesome! Thanks for making the connection between us Twitter! That is what these social tools are about.
But wait… it is not over.
I came across another recent follower that had a perspective to share. Unfortunately, he was critical of our discussion and tweeted without the @thekyleguy pre-fix to notify me of his issue with the discussion. I was taken back by these public tweets as they insulted my character and incited some further reflection. After a hike to clear my mind, I decided that blogging this to wider forum would create a learning experience. Bringing this issue to light here, ignites the topic of practicing digital citizenship and courtesy. I will share this followers’ perspective and subsequent questions that I am left with.
(Update: Chad admitted he may of mis-understood the discussion tweets and apologized through direct message this morning. I have accepted his apology but feel as though this scenario raises too many valuable topics that do not get discussed enough.)
I have copied & pasted a screenshot of Chad’s tweets from last night. Start with the tweet at the bottom.
Please, keep in mind these tweets on their own are out of context. We don’t know which which part of the discussion @cbrannon started reading my tweets. I want to learn more from this. We need to discuss further. As a sub, I want to learn about being a ‘real’ teacher. Assist me with these issues so I can carry myself better when I enter the classroom and the staffroom.
Often twitter is described as a large virtual staffroom where teachers from all over the world gather to share resources and talk. The problem here is that these patronizing tweets were shouted without direction to the whole staffroom, rather than being whispered about privately as they would likely be in a real staffroom. I come to the virtual staffroom to reflect upon and to question teaching practice and pedagogy, both my own and that of others whom I learn from.
I welcome criticism and questioning of my idea’s and thoughts, in fact I am always calling for honesty and feedback. Usually, I defend my stance or learn from the questioning perspective. In this instance, I don’t feel as though I need to defend myself against Chad’s tweets because we have determined that he mis-understood the discussion. I am, however, interested in the definition of ‘real’ teacher, the manner with which this issue has been raised, and thoughts on discussing the idea of ‘cool’ with students.
<INSERT THEME MUSIC>
Readers, I now pose the hard questions to you.
Is being ‘cool’ important to students?
Should ‘real’ teachers and students talk about the ‘idea of cool’?
Why hasn’t @cbrannon heard ‘real’ teachers talking about it?
Do you talk to kids about being cool, about bringing out their passions?
Isn’t this opportunity for authentic learning experiences?
Are substitutes, ‘real teachers’?
What is your idea of ‘cool’?
and on a personal note, do I come off as an “expert without experience”?
*You can follow all of my twitter conversations in my archive.