Saturday, 5 April 2008

Why does an ICTOPUS blog need Policing?

From Heather Govier, secretary of ICTOPUS - (Who are they)?

- A newly revived organisation to support Teachers at the Primary Level.

"Hi Geoff,
Just to let you know – we no longer have a blog and we have decided not to do so on the grounds that we have not the manpower to police it. There are plenty of educational blogs and wikis out there for those who want to exchange ideas. That was never our central role – we provide a different service.
However we do publish a range of articles in our magazine and if you wish to submit one I will readily consider it for publication.

I am sad that this promising organisation has the need to police its membership as they discuss articles that are written in its magazine.

I had hoped that the blog could become even more important than the magazine itself after all ICTOPUS promotes the use of Web 2.0.

The Magazine provides articles to promote teaching practice.

A blog could discuss the merits of this practice with supporting and cautionary comments. it would encourage teachers to think for themselves and apply what was being promoted in their own way.

Too long have teachers been treated as children that need to be trained and educated themselves and not as mature thinking adults.

Whilst I was at University (learning to practice my first career as a Chemical Engineer), people attended the Teacher Training College down the road.

The two organisations were run totally differently. At University the students were expected to behave responsibly - the result was that most of us gradually grew from irresponsible children from school into adults taking on responsibilities.

We attended lectures and Halls of Residence by choice with no monitoring of attendance or where we slept. If we failed our exams we were out.

Training College on the other hand had strict rules of attendance. One felt that their students could not be trusted to behave like responsible adults.

Many teachers moved straight from these colleges into teaching jobs where again they were managed and monitored in a way not found in industry.

This lack of being treated like mature adults makes it difficult for many of the teaching profession to have self confidence because many are not given the opportunity to think for themselves. This shows itself particularly when an OFSTED inspection takes place when excellent teachers turn into jelly and run around like headless chickens to put on a 'show'.

This is so sad to watch when often they could be educating their inspectors on how to teach. This was certainly the way I felt as a teacher- the inspectors had the opportunity to learn from me. But then I had the self assurance of having worked successfully in industry (Glaxo and Shell) and self employed as a Hotelier. The result was that my students excelled and I am being asked to write a book on how I taught.

ICTOPUS is perpetuating this lack of confidence and encouraging this ethos of dependency of children on Big Brother. I wonder how many of the team have experience of the world outside education where they have to be totally self reliant . . .

The earlier education Usenet groups never had moderators - we supported and kept each other in place in our discussions. Ian Lynch was a regular sparring partner of mine!

I look forward to ICTOPUS developing a more mature attitude.

All comments welcome here! None will be policed.


Geoff Dellow said...

Heather is trying to discuss this with me by email.

We both find it very difficult because of our very different backgrounds.

I find the education environment - mixing with teachers - very claustrophobic.

How can they have a wide experience of different working situations when they have so little free time, extra energy, time to reflect, opportunities to show initiative and gain self-esteem. . . . when all they have done is taught?

No wonder why they feel the have to control and are fearful of the unknown.

Education is seen at the moment as the few handing down knowledge to the many.

Can it not be a mutual exploration of what really are a lot of unknowns?

Geoff Dellow said...

Heather and I have now given up because she is reluctant to pick up the phone.

What we are trying to discuss seems to be too hurtful for her.

I find that email is too blunt a means of communication. It is excellent for transferring information but hopeless for having a discussion where misunderstandings of what is being said occur frequently.

I feel that the publishing of articles without discussion misses the vital aspect of shared views of why and how we should use the information.

Basically we need people with wisdom to add their twopenny worth! - see another thread!