Will Richardson wrote, on March 30, about the need for more research on the instructional value of blogging. The entry pointed to a very interesting post from Kairosnews, where the author (Clancy somebody) reported on conclusions drawn by a group of educators concerning several aspects of the practice.
The one that most struck me and the one that was quoted by Richardson was entitled Weblogs and Professionalism. You can read it in its entirety at Kairosnews or just the part that Will quoted in his blog. But the salient points are:
we need to move the profession towards a space where we’re more aware of blogging as professional activity. …how can we start thinking about blogging as professionals?
The problem with this recommendation is that most teachers today would hear someone suggest and wonder, “Why?” Aside from the legitimate excuse that they do not have time, most teachers would see no need for blogging — no benefit to their classroom.
This is one place where we need a new story. In some of my presentations (including Telling the New Story), I introduce a picture of my senior English teacher, Vera B. Hoyle. It’s a pretty scary picture, so I usually prepare the audience. But the point I make is that she taught exactly the same thing, in exactly the same way, on just about the same day of every year of her 42 year career. …and in the industrial age, this was fine, because the curriculum and our teaching strategies did not change.
Today, the world is the curriculum, and the world is changing every day. In a time of rapid change, education must become highly adaptable, a place where teachers can retool their classrooms every day. The time issue must be solved. It’s a very simple problem (granted that the solution would not be simple) that, if solved, would have a dramatic impact on teaching and learning. But a significant part of that impact would come from the professional discourse that would be necessary in order for teachers to productively manage adaptable classrooms. It would come out of well thought-out and compellingly written (and illustrated) conversations from teachers who are paying attention, reflecting on their observations, sharing their insights concerning the impact on teaching and learning, sharing, and continuing the conversation.
We need to be building a context (a story) that makes it obvious to teachers that they should be blogging, and that they need the time to blog and retool.