Please, this has to stop. You have to stop reducing your ideological opposition to its most loathsome members. It’s an easy way to gain sympathy and traction but you’re undermining yourselves and you’re positively driving me crazy.
Right now, as I type this, some School 2.0 blogger is pasting up a poster on her blog’s brick wall denouncing the lazy, lecture-driven, intellectually-abusive, technologically-ignorant teacher. Happens every day and shows up in my feed once a week.
Happened a few days ago, in fact, and it’s intentionally going unlinked because the author is typically such a class act:
“Sit down, shut up, and learn,” is no longer an acceptable model for effective classroom instruction.
Maybe some of the teachers who consciously (or unconsciously) parrot that ethos have yet to retire. Maybe their ranks are still thick but, if they exist and if they’re as obstinate and stupid as you School 2.0 bloggers have established them to be (over and over and over again) then you will not change their minds. Even sadder, none of them read your blog.
The time is past due to chalk them up as loss and move along but you haven’t. You haven’t because it’s far easier to demonize than engage.
In the meantime, after throwing your back out trying to provoke a thoroughly intractable and uninterested opponent, you’ve alienated the middle, the patch of gravel where I and so many other teachers stand.
This is School 1.5 territory, where we’re willing to put in long hours to do right by our kids. Where we’re easily excited by, often obsessive about, but unattached to any methodology simply for ego’s sake. We aren’t toking up on power, as you tell us we are (ad freaking nauseum). We aren’t frightened by obsolescence or adaptation nor are we afraid of technology. We had Flickr accounts before you did.
We are few things you tell us we are.
We simply aren’t convinced that the best way to prepare our kids for their futures is with a wiki, a blog, or a podcast. We aren’t convinced that wikis, blogs, or podcasts are sufficient in areas of extreme poverty or during primary education. We aren’t convinced that lectures are terrible learning tools per se. We aren’t convinced that granting students complete autonomy over their education will result in anything better than the dietary analogue of a plate full of Cheetohs and a lava cake.
Disappointingly, when we put these questions to you, they go unanswered, maybe because you were too busy to reply, but almost certainly because it’s harder to write meaningfully than it is to rouse rabble. And then, either by implication or by association but always by slander, you tell us that we haven’t adopted 21st-century technology because we want our kids to sit down, shut up, and learn.
Please read Chris Lehmann or Kim Cofino (first blogger on my ‘roll to carry two X chromosomes, incidentally) or Scott McLeod if you want to see how it’s done, how to write about School 2.0 in terms that we School 1.5 types can recognize and appreciate and embrace. I’m willing to guarantee each of them spends one-and-a-half times longer on a given post than their peers do. Scott is kind of a freak but Chris and Kim, not uncoincidentally, post one-and-a-half times less often than their peers do. Also not unrelatedly, they are some of the only bloggers I feel like reading when I scratch my head over this whole School 2.0 thing.
Please do better. Here in School 1.5 territory, we’re interested in your methods but we find your company unpleasant. Keep on chasing that low-hanging fruit if you must, but, as for my reading habits, I’m done with you. My classroom and I are moving towards the 21st century slowly, incrementally, in ways that are oftentimes imperceptible. You must know that we’re doing this in spite of you.