What’s not to like about hashtag chats?
You probably aren’t surrounded by people at your school who share your enthusiasm for discussing educational issues and so the hashtag chat allows you to link up with people from all over the world who are just as geeky as you. The topics are also chosen by people like you and they range over hot-button issues.
Yet I’ve never found it easy to get into them. I certainly don’t want to be critical of the folk who run these chats because they are doing a valuable service to education. However, I’ve realised today why it is that I find it so hard to engage. I offer this view in case a chat moderator wants ideas on how to draw-in people like me.
My revelation came during this morning’s #satchatoc when I saw this tweet.
I reckon there would be a large segment of the teaching community that would have at least some degree of scepticism about this topic, not because they believe that students should have no voice but because there are lots of kinds of power in school and they might question the desirability of generally giving more of it over to students.
Indeed, despite the framing of the discussion, one teacher made the point that teachers are subject area experts. Would we therefore want to give students power over curriculum content and teaching methods? This is a matter of genuine debate.
However, the way that the question was phrased did not really provide an entry point for such scepticism. The rightness of giving students power was assumed and the chat was framed around listing the ways of doing this.
Now I reflect upon it, I think that many education chats pan-out like this. How can we build more inquiry learning into the curriculum? How can we integrate more tech into lessons? And so on.
These might be highly valued by those who participate and are seeking such tips. Indeed, books of teaching tips seem quite popular.
However, educators like me are far more interested in discussing the assumptions that sit behind these initiatives. If you want a wider debate then consider how you might encourage us to join.
NEWSFLASH: Rather than just point this out, I thought I’d do something about it. So I’ve created a Twitter account, @CriticalThinkEd. It’s not a chat as such. My intention is to post questions that challenge common assumptions. People can then reply in a tweet or by linking to a blogpost that they’ve written on the subject. The account will then act as a resource to curate these opinions. It won’t be taking positions itself, other than through the selection of questions. Please follow and we’ll all see what happens. I’m happy to let in other admins if it gets off the ground.