Education Needs Reflective Educators

In blogging for education reform, Greta Sandler and I have collaborated together on an initiative we believe represents what education needs, bloggers for education! The project is Blog 4 Edu (The Blogging for Education project), a Twitter account (@Blog4Edu), wiki, and Facebook page to help support bloggers, blogging projects, and blogging challenges. Our vision is to persuade as many educational stakeholders worldwide to blog as possible.

Why Blog 4 Edu?

We suggest that blogging and social media are two of the main components of improving education worldwide. This won’t fix everything in education but through blogging we can open the conversation to the possibilities. When we blog we open the conversation to all education stakeholders (the public, parents, students, administrators, and educators). We automatically get an audience for our message even if it initially consists of one. Eventually, we share our message and reach someone who joins the conversation of how to improve education worldwide. This conversation continues for as long as we participate in the conversation.

Supporting Each Other

Teachers can choose to make a difference in their classrooms each day so why don’t many choose to inspire a passion for learning within their students? Many teachers don’t feel supported. Somewhere along the way their vision of reaching their students became blurred by the restraints of standardized tests, burdens from administration, parental complaints, and lack of support. Several educators also don’t reflect or run ideas with other educators about improving their practice. We lose so many great teachers because we fail to support them. After they lose their initial vision they also begin to lose their passion.

Blogging can be difficult at first, so we decided to start Blog 4 Edu to support, encourage and inspire edubloggers. Blog 4 Edu is meant to provide that support through commenting, sharing blogging resources, inspiring posting through blogging challenges, and providing bloggers with several projects to collaborate on. We won’t be initiating these projects. Instead, we will be sharing the ones many educators have already started and hope to inspire a collaborative spirit and enthusiasm for participating. Often educators come up with innovative ideas that die because of a lack of support and participation. With over 50,000 educators in our various social networks, there are plenty of participants but the word just doesn’t get spread. We hope to help spread that word.

Spreading the Word

Through blogging students and teachers exemplify what works in education. Blogging is a great way to share what is happening in every classroom. Transparency is very important to education transformation. The general public and parents need to see what we are doing in our classrooms. Through blogs we can share videos, share why we believe in our instructional practices, and share our humanity. We share our successes and failures and for parents and the public to read our raw reflections reminds them we are not superheroes, we are passionate individuals wanting to improve the world by inspiring children to love to learn. Transformation starts in the classroom but builds through the spreading of our message. Blogging is a great way to share what is happening in every classroom. Moreover, educators can also get other educational stakeholders on board by sharing their successes. Let’s spread the word and passion and make it contagious.

Reflection

Every passionate teacher should be a lifelong learner. Learning and reflecting will inspire and motivate teachers. Blogging is a wonderful tool for educators to reflect on their practices and grow professionally and personally. Through reflection we are able to improve on our instructional methods.

Ending Thoughts

We both believe that something must be done. We can’t just sit down and wait for other people to do something. We decided the way to best exemplify education transformation was through collaborating on this blog post and on this project. By the way, Greta Sandler is located in Argentina and I am located in Germany. We met on Twitter about 4 months ago and came up with Blog 4 Edu yesterday. This is the power of collaboration! This is how we believe transformation will happen!

Find out more about this exciting project:

This post has been cross-posted by Greta Sandler at About a Teacher!

Challenge:

Follow the blogs on the @Blog4Edu account or join in one of the projects!

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What do you believe will drive education transformation?

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Shelly Terrell

Shelly Sanchez Terrell is a teacher trainer, instructional designer, adjunct professor, and the author of The 30 Goals Challenge for Teachers: Small Steps to Transform Your Teaching and Learning to Go: Lesson Ideas for Teaching with Mobile Devices, Cell Phones and BYOT. She has been recognized by the ELTon Awards, The New York Times, the Ministry of Education in Spain, and Microsoft’s Heroes for Education as an innovator in the movement of teacher-driven professional development and education technology. Recently, she was named Woman of the Year 2014 by Star Jone’s National Association of Professional Women and awarded a Bammy Award as a founder of #Edchat, the Twitter chat that spurred over 400 teacher chats. She has trained teachers and taught learners in over 25 countries and has consulted with organizations worldwide such as UNESCO Bangkok, The European Union aPLaNet Project, Cultura Iglesa of Brazil, the British Council in Tel Aviv, IATEFL Slovenia, HUPE Croatia, and VenTESOL. She shares regularly via TeacherRebootCamp.com, Twitter (@ShellTerrell), and Facebook.com/shellyterrell. Her greatest joy is being the mother of Rosco the pug.

25 thoughts on “Education Needs Reflective Educators

  1. Hi Shelley and Greta,

    I love the comment about the world needs to know what’s going on in the classrooms. It’s true parents, heads and other teachers will benefit from a more open doors policy.

    Here in Spain it seems like there is a shrowd of secrecy around classrooms. More openess, more sharing and access to other classrooms. That’s what we need!

    Transparency sounds like a great idea. What better way than to share our voices!

    L

  2. This seems to be the day for this conversation. I am online before heading off to school in a minute and while I tweeted a couple of links. One of the links was an error which I quickly corrected. Not fast enough for @paulawhite though, who picked up the the original link, saw that it was an earlier post I had written as a reflection, and she asked to post it on Cooperative Catalyst The blog is challenging educators to propose sustainable solutions.
    I love to find a theme connecting my learning online and this promises to be an engaging conversation. Thanks for your thoughts.

  3. I too believe that technology, especially with the “younger generation” can aid immensely in learning. I currently use a wiki in a college course I facilitate. One of my goals is that in addition to covering basic concepts, assignments have real-world impact. This way they are relevant and take the participants’ thinking to a higher level. Also, collaboration is key in order to challenge them sufficiently. This way they can be given tougher, more though-provoking assignments. They then can be asked to rely on each other for answers rather than me.
    Best regards,
    RJ Johnson

    1. Hi! That’s a great point about the lesson having real world impact. I agree. If students don’t see the relevance as it impacts their world then they won’t take the learning seriously.

  4. I am surprised that you don’t mention encouraging educators to READ education blogs as one of the goals. It seems to me far more important to read blogs and participate in the conversation than to write your own. I don’t know the education blog space nearly as well as you do, but it does seem that there are huge numbers of people already writing about education. Not all teachers are interested in investing the time required to blog, or comfortable enough with technology to want to. While I certainly do think that teachers, like all professionals, need to regularly reflect on their skills and how to improve them, I am not convinced that blogging is the only way, or even the best way, for each educator to do that.

  5. For me, blogging and responding to comments on others’ blogs helps take my thinking to the next level. I often don’t know what I am going to say until I write it, sort of reflection in moment. I often find what I write is what I may have only known at a subconscious level. What have been your experiences?
    Best regards,
    RJ Johnson

    1. Hello RJ,

      Thanks for sharing your experience! Yes, I find that so many emotions and ideas run through my head that when I get down to blogging often what I thought I would write ends of much differently after reflection.

      1. Shelly,
        Thanks for your feedback. Your post has been a solid reminder to build in more reflection time for the learners (preferable word to students) as well. This is an area where I need to be much more intentional. I will be writing soon on learning and some more details around collaboration, self-organization, and related topics. Check us out when you have time.
        Thanks,
        RJ Johnson

  6. I truly enjoyed reading this today! I am currently working on my master’s degree and have been learning about the importance of reflection as an educator. I completely agree with you that learning and reflecting will inspire teachers AND students! I think it is amazing how we can come together via the internet and support each other.

  7. Regarding becoming a reflective person and educator:

    “If you are going to become a reflective person and professional, you cannot simply hope for deliverance. You must develop a plan and follow it until technical and critical reflection is a central part of who you are” (Kottler, Zehm, Kottler, 2005). I found this to be the most profound statement that spoke to me this week. We can read about reflection practices all we want and try to apply it in our lives, but until we follow a plan and reflection becomes part of which we are, we will never truly become a reflective person.

    Although my teams in the past have collaborated and shared dialogue time, we spent little time on reflecting on our actions and experiences in the classroom, discussing ways of improvement together as a group. I believe doing this would encourage colleagues to become more open with each other, prompting further thinking as a group, enabling us to become more successful in reaching our goals.

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