A student posted this on Facebook and it reminded me of students, our sons, and, heaven forbid, even me.
Really, it was not me!
Last week, I spoke to a colleague about blogging and a professional development project she is undertaking. She is to blog between learning sessions, but she finds this difficult. She feels she is putting herself out there and prefers to write well and coherently with a fully edited product to publish at then end. She is concerned less is expected in the digital world when it comes to adult learning and is uncomfortable with the public exposure of her work under the new norms.
Etienne Wenger wrote about learning trajectories and adult learning in Communities of Practice: Learning, Meaning, and Identity. He proposed newcomers in organizations require time to learn on the job and essentially make mistakes on an “inbound trajectory.” I would extend this to learning in the rapidly changing digital era we live and work in. Inbound learning trajectories also affect veteran, savvy teachers just beginning their use of social media. Wenger alluded to learning as a series of social activities that included support found in and through friendship, intimacy, families, gaming, creative production, and work. My friend pointed out “Old habits die hard. What about spelling? What about grammar? What about the coherency of the message?”
Adults require safe environments for learning, particularly in times of rapid and unabated change. John Murray in Supporting Effective Teacher Learning in American Schools suggested externally driven forms of professional development currently used in schools need change. Mentors that offer time and non-judgmental support for teachers in applying new technologies are an important step in the delivery and acceptance of embedded professional development in schools. Dovetailing this thinking with inbound learning trajectories is logical in creating safe, supportive adult learning communities.
The etymological roots of technology includes words such as art, craft, and technique and referred specifically to grammar. The writing of blogs is an art and craft. I advised my colleague to hone her craft, perfect the technique, and be an artisan, and actively read, follow, and respond to blogs. Turn to people she trusts whether they are physically or digitally present. Stay true to what you value i.e. good grammar, good spelling, and coherent messages. I use these principles and feel I am slowly moving forward. The blogs I follow, including those on my Blogroll, are well done and professional. It is not enough to just be “out there” for me. I am doing it my way and finding others publishing similarly.