Bandwagons are full of people who either love everything or just like being in the majority. In education. of course, bandwagons come and go. I’m sure I’ve been on a few. Some might argue advocating for change is a bandwagon itself. I likely wouldn’t argue that. Bandwagons get boring very quickly and the more folks that jump on them, the more diluted the ideas often get.
I’m a love when people have the courage to question bandwagons and even call BS on them. I teach a course at Wilkes University called “Sustaining Digital Literacy” a major component of the course is to examine trends in education and try to view them with multiple perspectives and even skepticism.
The Skeptical Chihuahua
Today I came across a couple of blog posts where a couple of ideas or bandwagons get challenged. Karl Fisch, a long time blogger, thought leader and genuinely smart person, challenges the long time notion that deadlines are part of the “real world” and that students need to learn how to meet them. In principle, this makes sense but when teachers or schools create hard lines, they ignore the fact that they themselves, might be the poorest examples of meeting deadlines. Karl concludes not by saying deadlines are bad, not by saying we should ignore them but by being more careful in how we position and use deadlines with students.
The second post is one from a newcomer to online spaces and questions the very need for a digital presence. Led by the work of George Couros, this principal discusses her own conflict and struggle and whether or not she could still be innovative and connected without the use of a strong online presence.
Whether or not you agree with these positions is less important than whether you’re willing to call BS on something. Not necessarily to take sides but simply to shed light on an issue that you see many people accept blindly and ignore the nuances and specifics that might suggest some flaws or gaps in thinking.
Anytime that I am (and we as teachers are) asked to think critically about purpose and methodology is a good thing. I believe it is what keeps me inspired and innovative, I think it is integral to providing best practices in my classroom. However, as a free thinking, well-educated and opinionated person I guess it is my right to adopt what I choose from the learning experiences provided to me. What I take from this has been and will be positive, I’m just not sure what it will look like. Jill Joanette
Bandwagons are neither good or bad but without folks like Karl and Jill and others who aren’t afraid to call out and question popular sentiments, we risk diluting what might be important ideas.
Things I’ve called BS on:
Hopefully, like Karl and Jill, these don’t come across as “grumpy old man” but rather initiating thoughtful conversations about topics that perhaps we don’t examine critically as often as we should.
cross-posted at ideasandthoughts.org/
Dean Shareski is the Community Manager of the Canadian DEN (Discovery Educators Network) and lecturer for the University of Regina. With 24 years of experience as a K12 educator and consultant, he specializes in the use of technology in the classroom. Read more at ideasandthoughts.org.