Eric Sheninger tweeted this out recently:
Kids aren’t distracted because of devices. They are distracted because of the task, lack of relevance, and no real accountability.
— Eric Sheninger (@E_Sheninger) February 28, 2018
When you have a moment, read the comments back and forth on the tweet.
The most important aspect of what he tweeted is not that all educators agree, but that we are all in on the conversation, for our students and ourselves. I see this as a good thing since we need to focus more on asking high-quality questions, then necessarily coming up with one solid answer. Each community is different and they have to take their own context into the conversation.
I suggested one subtle change to his tweet that I think makes a significant difference:
Replace the word “kids” with “learners” and this could apply to professional learning as well. https://t.co/UKk8f58NCt
— George Couros (@gcouros) March 1, 2018
Think about it…Are we as educators much better than the students we complain about when we are bored in professional learning? I know I have checked out of PD when it didn’t engage or empower me. Every educator reading this has probably done it the same, whether if it was with a device or by bringing “marking” to a staff professional learning day for the moment you decide you are going to “check out.” I have watched educators leave professional learning days to take a phone call knowing that many of those same educators would be bothered if a student would do the same.
This is not to say that students and educators should have no personal responsibility for their learning. But you can’t force someone to learn. As an educator, the thing you have the most control over is not your students, but the experience you create for those learners.
I have asked this question of educators and myself for years:
The tough part about this question is that it is not a “yes/no” question, but a question that we must ask continuously in our practice. One type of experience in the classroom does not work for all learners, and so this question is meant as a source of constant reflection.
At the heart of all of this is not in how we “manage” our students, but how we engage and empower them. Something that was never taught to me explicitly in teacher college was that the best classroom management is always excellent teaching and learning.
Don’t believe me? Ask yourself when you were a student, what classes you seemed to be more disruptive in and which classes you seemed to be better “behaved”? I know that I was terrible in the classes that I struggled with the delivery, and instead of being seen as a “struggling student,” the title of “class clown” seemed to be much more compelling and rewarding.
Instead of looking for a “mobile device” policy or behavior intervention strategies, more schools have to look for creating teaching and learning experiences that our learners are excited to be a part both young and old.
One of the best teachers I have ever known said something that has always stuck with me;
The more innovative I have become, the less I have to deal with classroom management.
A true statement at all levels of learning.
Source: George Couros