Sharing…a teachers imperative

We are able to share thoughts and ideas about anything and everything with the click of a button. It is so easy to share these days and we all do it. We share our thoughts about a variety of subject areas from the weather, the food we are eating, music we are listening to, films we are watching, and the places we are going. You name it we share it.

Photo Credit: European Parliament Flickr via Compfight cc
Photo Credit: European Parliament Flickr via Compfight cc

Social media has allowed us to share our voice with a captive audience. Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter, and Instagram ( just to name a few) have changed how we share information with others.

There are many ideas why we share things with others. But one of the most interesting studies about the psychology of social sharing was conducted by The New York Times Customer Insight Group who found out that there are 5 main reasons why we share:-

  • To reveal valuable and entertaining content to others.
  • To define themselves to others.
  • To grow and nourish relationships.
  • For self-fulfillment.
  • To get the word out about brands and causes they like or support.

The info-graphic below shows a little more of that data.

My thoughts turn to education and educators sharing what is going in the classroom. 

Is it as easy for educators to share what is happening in their classrooms ?  Why is that we go back to our inner 2 year old self when it comes to sharing our practice? To put it bluntly teachers find it hard to share what is going on in their classroom. It doesn’t seem to matter who they are sharing with (colleagues in our schools or further afield). It is hard to share. This is the opposite to the findings above.

Which is strange isn’t it? It is strange because it is the exact opposite of what we as teachers expect from the children. We want children to be able to share;  this is one of the first things that we do in Pre-K and Kindergarten. Share ideas, collaborate with others, connect.  And it the exact opposite to what we are doing online privately.

But as Dean Shareski expertly explains it is our Moral Imperative to share.

Sharing means reflection

The reason why I am writing this about this is because blogging is one way of reflecting. Now, it has only been a year and half since I have been blogging but I have found it to be an incredibly powerful tool in thinking about my teaching, and recording what is going in my classroom, the learning. I have found that reflection and documenting my practice is vital to my growth as an educator. Dean Shareski explains that:

I’ve yet to hear anyone who has stuck with blogging suggest it’s been anything less than essential to their growth and improvement

We want children to be reflective about their work, to seek growth and improvement. We need to be too. We need to model this to students. There are many ways of being reflective. Here are a few:

  • Ask Questions: Create a list of questions to ask for a couple of  lessons every week.
  • Videotape yourself – Watch yourself and think about what would do better next time. What type of language did you use? Did you give children time to think?
  • Get observed – find someone to reflect with
  • Ask your students – get their feedback
  • Write a diary

Amplify your reflections – share them…

31954114676_f5b33364a9Now I am not saying that everyone needs to blog, there are many ways we can be reflective.What I am saying is that sharing our practice through a medium may mean that our reflection is amplified. Silvia Tolisano (Langwitches) discusses this further when she says we must amplify reflection.

It means that our reflections goes further. We may make further connections with like minded educators, we could discover a group of educators to connect and learn with, we could gain ideas for our classroom from insights into other classrooms. Who knows…

Blogging does not have to be the only way to amplify these reflections ( why not try Twitter and Instagram as a way of quickly sharing what is going on in your schools or class) but I do believe that sharing our thoughts and documenting what is going on in our classrooms and schools allows for greater opportunities for us as educators. Which allows for more opportunities for the students we work with.

Returning to the 5 points at the beginning of my article. As teachers we need to:

  • To reveal content to others.
  • To define ourselves to others.
  • To grow and nourish relationships.
  • To have self-fulfillment.
  • To get the word out about ideas, things we are trying out.

After all,  Sharing is a Teachers Imperative.

I am going to leave it with George Couros when he says.

  There is so much we can learn from one another.  We need to continuously work to create the culture and environment where sharing is the norm and learning is transparent.

How do you share and reflect? 

One thought on “Sharing…a teachers imperative

  1. Joel,

    I think you have accidentally written the COETAIL manifesto. I was reading this in my English department in Taipei, and, at certain times, I felt myself needing to share these your words with the people in the cubicles next to me. You’re right that many teachers, including myself, find it hard to share what we do in our classrooms. In part, this might be because of the strict social media policies many schools have about interactions between students and teachers. In part, this might be because teachers are afraid of public scrutiny when they make mistakes — and we do make mistakes, as all humans do. We’ve all heard that cautionary tale about a teacher who got fired for whatever he or she said online. In part, I think it’s also because we know that in posting pictures of our classroom work, we know that we are inadvertently valuing our craft and professional growth over some of the students’ rights to privacy. And there are many other “in parts.” But perhaps these are not insurmountable excuses to the need to reflect publicly, like through blogging. 🙂

    Thanks for the food for thought! Looking forward to following your post-COETAIL journey!



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