Friday, August 22, 2008

Another good read on

This article deals with students communicating with their teachers via social networking sites. The good, the bad and the ugly are presented along with a couple of memorable quotes.

This one from a 52 year old Missouri teacher: "Just the very fact that I have MySpace makes them think, 'Well, maybe we can talk to this guy and open the lines of communication,' I realized this is a major way of communication for them."

Or how about this one from a school board lawyer: "As an educator, there is a line of demarcation between you and your student. It's a line that you cannot come close to, let alone step over. You've got to establish it from Day One and say, 'I'm not your buddy; I'm not your friend; I'm just your teacher.' "

One school board in Missouri has implemented a policy forbidding teachers and students from having any text-message conversations or social-networking friendships.

IMHO, schools are again trying to interpret shades of gray as either black or white. Not all teachers who use social networking sites or text-messaging to communicate with students are bad! And I'm not that naive to think that all of them are good either. But the "easy" solution is, once again, FORBID it, or BLOCK it for everyone because, as the 52 year old teacher observes, "... you are going to have people who are attracted to the profession because of easy availability of kids." And rather than increasing their efforts to identify, punish and prosecute the guilty, school boards would rather take a legitimate communication tool away from everyone.

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