Activity 5, Week 29, NZ Mind Lab, PRACTICE
Reading and reflecting on ethics in a teacher’s practice has reminded me, once again, how important our job is. Ethics are the thing you forget about most of the time, until you suddenly cannot ignore them and have to address something in you professional life that is all about them. Then you realise that, in actual fact, your whole job is governed by them.
Teaching is so much more than just teaching.
The obligations that we have to do our utmost for the students in our care should go without saying, but there are other stakeholders. I’m certainly glad that students are no longer seen as “chattels” of their parents, as mentioned by Hall (2001), however, parents have a lot of rights in their children’s education, and justifiably so. The ethical dilemma I want to consider is the amazingly useful tool of the BLOG!!!
I believe that blogs are an essential learning tool for 21st century learning. Blogs can come in many guises – class blog with teacher posting, class blog with students’ posting, individual student blogs shared with whānau or public, video blogs, or mixtures. Blogs are an engaging tool for most students to encourage them them to write more, and through the feedback and exposure their writing receives, as well as through regular practise, students have been seen to improve their writing through their use.
The trust had a summer blogging project that proved very successful. You only need to look at the data from this graph to see that.
Currently I am utilising the Seesaw application with my students, who are referred to me for low levels of literacy. At the end of each session with students we share something via Seesaw. Seesaw gives you the option to just share it on a class’s feed or to a class blog. For various reasons, I have not yet been able to get any parents join the app to view their child’s work. The students are still eager to share and have told me they are talking with their parents about it. It is my aim that I will get this connection in the near future.
My ethical issue that I am aware of is, what if these parents don’t want their child/ren or their work placed on the internet? As shown in this video,
most schools have an internet policy that parents sign allowing their child’s work and photo to be used for these kinds of things. However, blogs can be contentious with parents as many are uncertain about the internet. In other teaching positions in the past, I have written notes home to parents about our use of individual blogs and twitter in the classroom in an “opt out” type way. I have had meetings with concerned parents to discuss how they are used and how we ensure cyber safety.
This is not as easy for me in my current position, but on reflection, I could still do this. Parents have to give permission for students to be taken onto my roll, so I could add something in about the use of online media for learning.
I knew that it would take me time to get sorted, but wanted to start as soon as possible, which is why I chose Seesaw. The students I have currently only share work with me. That hasn’t put a damper on their enthusiasm to ‘blog’. For that alone I think it is still worth the effort. I have not used children’s last names on the site and any work I do send to the blog I do so with anonymity of the child intact.
In the future I hope that this use of blogs for learning will become a well-known feature of my practice and that parents and teachers of students will be able to see the posts and comment on them. If the students enjoy posting now, they’ll love it when people actually like or comment on it!
Hall, A. (2001). What ought I to do, all things considered? An approach to the exploration of ethical problems by teachers. Paper presented at the IIPE Conference, Brisbane. Retrieved from http://www.educationalleaders.govt.nz/Culture/Developing-leaders/What-Ought-I-to-Do-All-Things-Considered-An-Approach-to-the-Exploration-of-Ethical-Problems-by-Teachers
New Zealand Teachers Council. (2012). Commitment to Parents/Guardians and Family/Whānau. Retrieved from https://vimeo.com/49804201
Williamson, R. (2016). Final Report – Summer Learning Journey pilot study. Retrieved from https://sites.google.com/a/manaiakalani.org/publicsitedec2013/our-story/research-evaluation/summer-learning-journey-2015-16?pli=1