I really like the state of Missouri – especially the grub they serve – but methinks they are getting this one wrong. Banning teachers from friending students on social network websites is, in my opinion, a policy destined to fail.
Just like banning students from having and using cell phones on campus is a policy destined to fail.
All in all, it’s short-sighted and doesn’t reflect an appreciation of how connectivity and communication between people has changed, is changing and will continue to change.
What the state really wants to ban is inappropriate communication between teachers and students. And who is going to argue with that? (Not me, which is why I do appreciate where this knee-jerk reaction is coming from.) But it’s not the medium that can be targeted; it’s the inappropriate behavior by the participants that ought to be… and by targeting the medium – as if social networking sites are the actual problem that the state department of education fears – they are only setting themselves up to have to re-visit and re-construct this policy after its inevitable demise befalls it.
Ya know, according to the Pew Center the majority of employed adults (62%) use the internet or email in the workplace. However, as this article points out, social cues and etiquette are often overlooked. Which can cost people their jobs. And why is this? Well, part of the reason stems from the fact that no one is really leading the charge on teaching the appropriate use of new technology. I mean, we are educators. Should we not turn to educating students about the protocol of the medium as opposed to banning the usage of what is inevitably going to be a medium they’ll need to know how to well-navigate for the workforce.
Arne Duncan has said time and time again the words “college and career readiness”. Of course, they are oversimplified platitudes however, being well versed in how to navigate social media is most certainly “college and career ready skills” if ever I could define them and yet we are seeking prohibition over education and expecting it to work out well (while meeting the objectives of our national Secretary of Education)?
And don’t get me started on ho we are valuing the bubble tests which almost never appear in the realm of career readiness when it comes to doing an actual job on this planet. (Outside of working in academia of course.)
Ban the bubble tests and embrace social media and you’ll have a much more “college and career ready” student body in America if you really want to make some headway on tackling the platitunadalness.
I get that social media interactions can be a slippery slope. I also get that people often fear that which they do not know or understand and the people who are making these policies probably are not too technologically literate themselves so they read the tabloid-istic headlines of how FB can destroy a life, invite amoral relationships between students and teachers and have no understanding of how Google+ can improve classroom instruction. So they ban it.
But can they ban it all? Can they ban the forthcoming apps that will further blur the line between social media and essential modern literacy? What about the idea that they are banning not only contact with current students but with former students as well. So recent graduates who are of legal age to drink, drive, vote and so on can’t be FB friends without it costing an educator their career. Back in the day, I think that older people staying in touch with younger people to offer advice, help assistance, insight, encouragement, connections or what-not was called mentorship. Now it’s called “cause for termination”.
Sorry, MO, this policy is not gonna hold up. If the Supreme Court doesn’t strike it down as unconstitutional the weight of its own lack of weight is going to cause it to cave all on its own. In 2011 this may seem “wise” to some but by 2018 it will seem like folly. Better to educate and instruct than ban and hope it all goes away… cause it ain’t.
Expecting pushback, I am now ready for your flamethrowers.