21 things educators should (not) do
Posted October 3, 2014on:
I followed @sjunkins when the graphics embedded in his tweets caught my eye.
This was a recent one that educators should process critically.
Someone else on Twitter called it an infographic. It is not.
Does it have information? Yes. Does it have graphic elements that illustrate the information beyond text form, more richly, or intuitively? No. Far too many people perpetuate the wrong idea of an infographic.
The list includes some things a 21st century teacher should do. I appreciate that this is a challenge to teachers to see how connected, relevant, or current they are. But many of the items are technical skills.
These lead a teacher who might be interested in doing these things to wonder HOW to do these things. I think that it is more important to first know WHY.
I have noticed some leaders in education saying that the time is past asking why technology important. It is more important to know how. This might be true in contexts where asking why is a delay tactic among the stubborn or the undecided.
But not revisiting or emphasizing why is a mistake. I do not mean just reiterating that times have changed or that we must prepare our children for their future instead of our past.
These are all good reasons, but there should be specific reasons for wanting teachers to tweet, Instagram, lip dub, ad nauseum.
So I present an alternative list of 21 things educators might do and I suggest a reason for each.
- Don’t just use ICT, integrate it. If the ICT is not integrated, it is dispensible. If it is not needed, why incorporate it?
- Crowdsource an idea or co-author a collaboratively created lesson resource. Many hands make light work and you stand to gain ideas you would never have generated alone.
- Don’t just talk learner-centred, walk learner-centred. Do not tell me; show me what you can do.
- Make real and lasting online connections with other educators. They are your broader support system, your cheering team, and your sounding boards.
- Follow someone new or different on a PLN like Twitter. Get new perspectives, grow your network, help yourself by helping others.
- Provide a meaningful community service. Apply what you do in the real world instead of the contrived one that is often the classroom.
- Get inspired, be inspiring: Lead a PLN discussion, share at an unconference. One of the best ways to learn is to get out of your comfort zone. If you care, you must share.
- Model critical and creative thinking. More things are caught than they are taught.
- Overcome divides. Stop making excuses; start creating opportunities. You are either part of the problem or part of the solution.
- Talk less, facilitate more. Talking and teaching does not guarantee listening and learning. Get learners involved and become the meddler in the middle.
- Challenge your teaching philosophy. Question your assumptions. Focus on the learner and learning, not just on the teacher and teaching. It is your core and it becomes obvious to those around you.
- Update your e-portfolio. Focus on the processes behind the products. Curate and create as a model of a lifelong, lifewide learner.
- Critically reflect on your own practice. Stepping outside yourself might be the single most important attribute of an educator.
- Unlearn a bad habit or a bias. Deconstruct your behaviour or belief system and see what lies in the middle or at the foundation. Question if that is what you want to drive you or what you want to build on.
- Relearn a lost value. Reconstruct an ideal you had when you first started teaching. It can help you make that quantum leap you are looking for.
- Experiment with the science and hone your art of pedagogy. Think different, do different, and know why. You will not know until you try.
- Fail forward. FAIL = First Attempt In Learning. Do not let your first step be your last. Keep moving forward.
- Lead change. Do not expect someone else to show you the way. Find your own path and others may follow.
- Learn. Learn. Learn. An educator should be a learner first. It is the best way to understand what other learners struggle with.
- Play. Leverage on instinctive ways we learn. That way the learning and teaching are natural extensions of what we do.
- Strive to be an educator of people, not a teacher of content. If you forget WHO you are trying to change and WHY, there is no point telling them WHAT or HOW.