Bullying

I think that it’s outright dangerous to get so lost in our mission to combat bullying that we stop looking into the mirror. What are the norms that we set for young people when we talk poorly about our friends, family, neighbors, or colleagues at the dinner table? When we engage in road rage while driving? Why is it that we accept – if not encourage – meanness in our political sparring? Or on our TV talk shows? Why do marketers put their money behind reality TV shows that propagate the value of relationship drama as entertainment? Look around at the society we’ve created and it’s filled with harshness. To top it off, look at how much we pressure our youth, particularly middle class youth. Hyper-competition starts early and is non-stop.

An excerpt from: danah boyd | apophenia » Four Difficult Questions Regarding Bullying and Youth Suicide. danah’s comments about adults, behaviour and modeling are important to consider – and act on. What do you think? Read the entire post, and if you do not follow danah’s blog, well, you should.

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Not optional anymore?

Our educational administrators however really need to get going on this.  Leaders right?  If teachers in your school or division see that you are not moving forward with some conviction in this area, why would they believe that there is any sense of urgency?  Why would teachers think this is important if our administrators aren’t modelling effective use? The teachers that are moving forward need you to understand this area and support them.  They don’t need you to be at the same level, but they at least need to know you trust them and will put the systems in place for them and more importantly, their students, to be successful.  Take some risks and model both in success and failure that you are a learner; this is what we expect from our students.

This post by George Couros raised a lot of conversation. He has some important things to say, and the folks commenting do as well, the post and comments provide a thought provoking read. What do you think? Is technology necessary for good teaching? Should administrators be using it , modeling and leading the way?

– if you know me, you know where I stand 🙂

Admitting Mistakes

As educators and/or educational leaders, we have to be able to admit when we screw up as well. If we are truly risk-takers, we are going to run into situations where things do not work out the way we planned. Own up to it, admit your mistake, and make it right.

This excerpt is from a post on the Connected Principals blog by George Couros. In this post, George, a school Principal in Alberta (who writes a wonderful blog of his own as well) talks about how to handle mistakes. He tells a story to illustrate how admitting when you are wrong can gain you respect, in addition to helping avoid useless arguments and escalating tempers. This is a point I try to make with teacher candidates. Kids (& teachers, parents if you are a Principal) can tell when you messed up, so why not bite the bullet, show you are only human and admit you were wrong and how you will improve. I tell my students about my first time teaching a class (in my first student teaching placement many years ago), my first lesson was a disaster, I felt like quitting. Luckily my cooperating teacher settled me down and suggested I go in the next day, apologize and ask if we could start again. I did, and from then on it was smooth sailing. As George points out, this gains you respect and also models how to learn from mistakes, an important lesson for anyone. 

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This also leads to a related point, you do not have to bluff your way through everything, it is okay to admit you don’t know it all. Model how to find out something when you do not know. This has particular application when using technlogy. One of the fears expressed by teacher candidates and experienced teachers alike, is that their students may know more than they do. Well, no one can know it all, why not ask your students for help, they can help with some the technical aspects, however, the teacher should have the expereince and wisdom to guide the use.

So, what will you do the next time you make a mistake, or don’t know the answer?