If you haven’t caught John Siracusa’s essay by now, odds are good you aren’t interested. It’s essential reading, though, for anyone trying to connect blogging to serious professional development and not, say, to an abnormally supportive faculty lounge where everyone shares your exuberance and thinks your last post was great.
Like greed, criticism gets a bad rap, especially when it’s presented in large doses. It’s impolite. It’s unnecessarily obsessive. It’s just a bummer. But the truth is, precious little in life gets fixed in the absence of a good understanding of what’s wrong with it to begin with.
Elsewhere, he describes criticism as “a virtuous cycle created through apparent viciousness” which is exactly how I would describe last month’s (very satisfying) Darren-Dan-Jason slide remix.
For my part, after some large missteps and a lot of reconsideration, I am finally comfortable with this blog’s critical stance. It turns out not to be terribly difficult to respect an individual and her serious commitment to teaching while at the same time holding her work up for serious scrutiny. I’d argue, even, that the two are equivalent, that, issues of tact notwithstanding, to offer any less to each other is the real disrespect.
Some may find this abrasive and check out but my remaining commenters, unsurprisingly, are a seriously critical bunch and keep me relentlessly on message, forcing me to justify and rejustify my crackpot pedagogy. And, most days, I’m pretty sure that’s all the professional development I need.