This week’s topic is on “Making learning visible”. Two main ideas in the reading list that caught my interests were on the importance of sharing as an educator or an individual and how to share ideas brings on learning.
According to Thompson in “Why even the worst bloggers are making us smarter” , “Literacy in North America has historically been focused mainly on reading, not writing; consumption, not production. “ However, since the increase of the usage of the internet, a sharing revolution has begun to take shape. We are sharing photos, personal information, locations, ideas ... Depending on the comfort level of an individual; he can view and learn anonymously or publicly from what others are posting online. The more people share, the more they can learn from a variety and wider range of people. As teachers, we share our knowledge and skills with our students but why does this sharing need to stop here? According to Ewen McIntosh: "sharing, sharing online specifically, is not in addition to the work of being an educator. It is the work." So, it is important to share with other educators beyond the four walls of our institution or our school district. Sharing with educators from other countries with different backgrounds provides a variety of perspectives on teaching a common subject area. Shareski mentions in his video “Sharing: the moral imperative” that: "Good ideas and great work should be shared with as many people as possible". He also mentions that “Everyone in the education system should be sharing” and that we owe it to others to share.
I agree with this statement to a certain point but not entirely. In the past six years, my colleague and I have developed the only French Immersion (FI) program online in BC. It took many years to market it to the point that our enrollment would cover the expenses in the program. Some schools in the province don’t like that students are coming to our online school to take FI courses instead of taking it in their brick-and-mortar school. Personally, I believe that we are meeting these students’ specific needs that would not be easily met in the face-to-face classroom. Since the program is still in a growing phase, I worry that if I share its delivery model and content that it could be used by competing online school.
However, this does not mean that I am not willing to share ideas. Lately, I am finding myself wanting to share and express my points of view and ideas regarding teaching French Immersion or French as a first language online with others around me but at this point in my professional life, the audience is not available or not interested. Thompson says that “failed networks kill ideas.” I think that some of my ideas on how to teach French online are pretty innovative but right now, the only ones benefitting are my students. Heick defined the “the goal of creative nonfiction: [is] to communicate.” This quote inspired me to begin blogging as a tool to express myself. My interest in teaching is very specific which means that the audience might be limited; however, it does not really matter if someone reads it or agrees with what I write but at least I am sharing it. This winter, I had created a blog to document the process that I was going through in preparation for a teaching and leadership position that really inspired me and that I wanted to post my candidature. I was going to present my blog during my interview for the position. However, after a while it seemed easier to just write it down on paper. In the end, I did not get the position but I still have so much to share about leading and teaching the French language in an online environment that I decided to go back to this blog called: “Mon cheminement vers un nouveau monde” and to change some of its purpose. It will now be focused on two main ideas: Teaching the French language online and How to lead this change in pedagogy? Thompson says that “Having an audience can clarify thinking. It’s easy to win an argument inside your head. But when you face areal audience, you have to be truly convincing… studies have found that the effort of communicating to someone else forces you to pay more attention and learn more.” At this point, I am not looking for an audience but the fact that I am writing online will allow me to clearly develop my ideas and arguments prior to sharing them. My area of expertise is very specific and there are probably only a few people teaching this subject online; however, if anyone reads it and wants to comment, that would be great. Most likely, we will be able to learn from each other’s ideas and opinions.
Heick, Terry. When Student Writers Learn That They Must Make Their Audience Care. Retrieved from: http://www.teachthought.com/uncategorized/students-wrote-no-one-cared/