Five Motives, Why Teachers need to be connected?
Education works in very intricate way and the field is still incipient with new ideas, philosophies and thoughts to benefit the children. Decades ago we believed in whole classroom teaching but investigates in metacognition, child psychology lead us to think about paradigm shift from behaviorism to cognitivism to constructivism and today connectivism. Today we have more progressive educators than ever before and working seriously to bring equity and inclusion. It is getting more individualized thus becoming more challenging. Years ago we believed that teachers’ job is to deliver the content and disseminate information only, today our status is challenged by Google and You tube. Our beliefs got shaken and we are thinking more deeply about the role of the teacher. I remember a debate where few teachers were arguing that Google cannot replace a teacher; YES but only in terms of building humans as thoughtful and creative. We the teachers are inevitable because we have the power much greater than the power of a search engine and we are not owned by a company, run by a company or clicked for information. We work for children, from the hearts and try our best to build them as great humans not mere the bookshelves.
The role of teacher as thinker needs more energy. It needs more intake and more learning to carry on with the fast paced global change. They need connections and that is important to improve their own learning. Following are five major reasons why teacher need to be connected.
- I am doing this. What do you think?
In Annual conferences, summits, seminars, teachers are flooded with lot of new ideas. We unconsciously seek for endorsements. The ideas that come to us need to be verified but who can verify if we are not connected? Such mega events help the teachers to connect and ask “hey ! I am doing this, what do you think?” from another teacher who has entirely different culture, background and ground realities. This polishes the practices, improves to refinement, removes the dust and the practice is fine tuned.
- Inspired by each other
Education is all about inspiration. Great teachers inspire but they also get inspiration from others. Strong connections help getting inspiration. In first ASCD annual conference, I was inspired by wonderful speakers who later became my friends and their work helped me to rethink about my own beliefs and practices. Today when I look back, I know the maximum credit of my refinement goes to them who inspired me. Inspiration works like fragrance, it travels to the minds and souls and gives a sense of pleasant change. Connections in education help spreading that fine fragrance.
- We are passionate to start this, what do you suggest?
I remember my conversation with my colleague when she told me that USA is getting more focused on STEM. My question was why your education system is taking that shift and she said “We want to become No 1 in science and Technology”. I explained that I am afraid that over emphasis on STEM will fade out the importance of literature and liberal arts which is the backbone to your social norms of diversity and acceptance of diverse culture. We are suffering from the implication of over emphasis on STEM as our society turned into numeric and it became more polarized than even before.
The purpose to quote this example is to elucidate that it is important to learn from each other’s experiences and the results that have already been concluded. We feel very zealous about some ideas and we advocate it but at times the same idea had already given more consequences than the benefits.
- We build Global Citizens
When teachers are well connected, they have more understanding of different diverse cultures and customs. They are more empathetic and tolerant and this behavior is reflected in their everyday practices. They are more respectful and more realistic in terms of accepting or rejecting any pigeonhole myth about any other culture. If the teachers are well connected they can verify and counter verify a myth; an opinion about certain cultures that might be attractive or bothering for a while. This helps their students to be more empathetic and open minded to grow as global citizens.
- Hammer the fixed mindset
We all have ladder of inference and a belief system that demand a constant revisit to hammer the fixed mindset. The teachers, who are well connected, tend to have more tendencies to have growth mindset and that helps in refining thoughts, brining innovations and creativity in classrooms.
We cannot work in isolation. In fact no organic system can work in isolation because every component affects the whole system. There is a dire need to be more connected and networked than ever before to benefit our next generations.