Why are we educators having so much trouble mobilizing our voice in ways that are effective?


Why are we educators having so much trouble mobilizing our voice in ways that are effective?

Are we afraid to speak up?

Are we ineffective when we do speak up?

Do we need to do a better job of marketing?

Are we not taking these educational and policy changes seriously enough yet?

Do we not have a viable and compelling counternarrative?

Are we so downtrodden that we feel that any efforts we make to speak up are pointless?

Are we simply getting outspent by those with deeper pockets?

Why can’t we tell our story in ways that resonate with others? And why are most of us unwilling to even try in the first place?

Image credit: Silence, Bigstock

11 Responses to “Why are we educators having so much trouble mobilizing our voice in ways that are effective?”

  1. It keeps coming back around to school culture. If views are locally unpopular, speaking up is dangerous.

  2. Are we busy actually teaching?

  3. For myself personally, I know that the system we are faced with right now is not working. I desperately want to be a part of the solution. But making a complete paradigm shift from what is known to what is as yet uncreated is scary!

    I spent some time reading “Our of Our Minds: Learning to be Creative” by Sir Ken Robinson and everything I read struck a chord with me. I keep mulling over the information and definitely feel motivated to be a part of effecting change. But it always comes back to the big question – where do I start?!

  4. Also watch Sir Ken Robinson’s “Changing the Educational Paradigm” through RSA Animate. I think one fundamental change must be made, though I’m continuously told it’s just semantics (IT’S NOT); I’m not there to teach, but to assist them in learning. In my lab that is part of my “Learner Orientation” for each class. My job is not to teach, but to help you learn. Teaching is something I do, learning is something they do. That simple change completely alters what takes place in the classroom. I make it clear they will decide, by their actions, what we do and how we do it. They must take responsibility for their learning.

  5. My Digital Ethnography students are currently examining Facebook and privacy (http://telesis21st.blogspot.com/). This is a perfect example of my just getting out of the way. They drive the project. We make decisions as a group. I treat them, they’re high school students, as peers. We make decisions together. If teachers would just get off their power trip about who is in charge things would work better. Young people will meet your expectations, be they positive or negative. One of my kids is a “troublemaker”, but I love him! He’s a “troublemaker” because he doesn’t see how what he’s doing in class has any bearing on what he’ll do in life. Teachers are taking away his voice; let your students speak!

  6. I lost a more eloquent response to the Interwebz, but here’s a summary. I’m speaking from my own experience in the profession, and I recognize several educators who do not fit into the broad generalizations I make.

    1) Schools self-select school successful teachers. It feels all kinds of icky to speak out against practices to which we are acculturated. Our first impulse is to please those displeased with us and to avoid sanction, rather than to unpack that displeasure and risk sanction. I know that my own fear of “bad” results is so ingrained in me that I have to be somewhat epistemologically nihilistic about standardized tests and curricula to do what I do. That also feels icky, though pursing democratic and inquiry-based learning feels right.

    2) There is not a critical mass of public school teachers who believe that schooling has to change or that it can change. We do not organize to challenge pedagogical tradition; we organize to preserve labor tradition. There is no organization for radical pedagogical change – everyone in mainstream education is party to towing the line on rigor, an invalid social construct that has the centipede legs we all give it.

    3) There is no incentive from higher education to change what public schools do in terms of sorting kids, privileging academic knowledge over tacit knowledge, or “othering” kids who are not “college-ready”. A single R1 school or higher education coalition or conference could change the course of all K12 education tomorrow by requiring all applying undergrad and grad students to submit an arts, design, or other “maker” portfolio.

    There are lots of other reasons packed into those reasons, but I’ll leave it at that for now. This would be a good EduCon conversation purposed on building an organization for pedagogical, philosophical, and operational change in the teaching profession and public schools.

    All the best,

  7. I don’t know the answer to your Q, but I think it is a great Q! I keep hoping to find some data that talks about the extent to which teachers/schools have adopted specific reform ideas. If the data is out there, I’d love to know about it.

  8. Love this question and had actually been thinking about an answer this week. It is long so I wrote a post in response http://concretekax.blogspot.com/2012/10/why-we-have-trouble-mobilizing-our-voice.html

  9. I followed your lead Mike and just posted a response on one of my blogs: http://lawslonator.blogspot.com/

  10. So many thoughts are stimulated by this post . . .

    For schools who feel technology is the highway to enlightenment, are we really addressing our educational deficits or are we simply ‘checking the box’ so that we don’t have to face the real issue. An intervention is only useful if it meets the needs of the population it serves. As educators, we need to insure that every population as an opportunity to form an opinion outside of the messages proclaimed by the media.

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