While much of it involves bleating and breast-beating tweeting, some gems break through. Bud Hunt and the EC Ning Webstitute are both gems.
Bud Hunt opened up a Google doc to the world today, and posted the following questions:
- Who is in your circle? Your network?
- Who's listening in?
- What's worth talking about? What's worth sharing?
- How are you purposefully and transparently modeling learning in your work?
- How are you being purposeful about the behaviors and habits you model?
- What "productive eavesdropping" are you engaged in, or helping to foster?
Guess which two questions jumped out at me.
What's worth talking about?
What's worth sharing?
What's worth sharing?
This is the heart of learning, of teaching, in both PD and in the classroom. We create a lot of noise when we fail to address these questions first.
These are scary questions--not so much because of where they lead us, but because they expose what we have not been doing. If we cannot answer these questions faithfully (and I use that word deliberately), we are stealing time from our students.
They're should be a place in Dante's Circles of Hell for those of us who mindlessly teach.
These are the essential questions of education, and require a level of intimacy that leaves us exposed. Works great with the right partners, disastrous otherwise.
What's worth talking about?--For all the chatter we generate on Twitter, Delicious, Ning, Facebook, or whatever else passes for community these days, not a whole lot gets said.Collaboration between folks responsible for educating children will require an intimacy that should make us blush. We are exposed, splayed open for others to see. This is hard enough even in the best of circumstances. Even a good marriage leaves behind a road of hurt and repair.
What's worth sharing?--We are all pretty good at bookmarking. Oooh! Look here!!!! We're all pretty good at sharing (and borrowing) ideas. We're too quick to get lost in all the shiny objects without asking whether its worth our time.
And we're expected to do this with strangers, in 2 night stands in far-away cities, sleeping in strange beds. We drink too much coffee in the day, too much alcohol at night. We leave with the rush of early love, lusting to get back to the classrooms with our new ideas. We live in a fantasy world for 3 days, where everyone believes everything is good and possible.
And then we wonder why our evangelism falls short. We return to our districts, where good people have worked hard for a long time, gray-haired and tired, leery of change.
Don't tell them everything, don't share everything--just share what is worth talking about. What happens at EduMashTechCon 2.43a stays at EduMashTechCon 2.43a, most of it anyway. As frustrating as that is as the techno-pioneers ride back home into their districts, most of what you think is valuable might not be.
If the only thing you share are things worth sharing, you will always have an audience.
Painting is the Great Orator, 1944 by Irving Norman, via Poor Leonard's Almanack.