So remember the teacher from a few weeks ago who started having grand designs about using a Weblog to get students and parents talking about the process of the course not just the content? (If you don’t, you might want to read those links before proceeding.) Well, he’s made it happen. As Mr. McHale puts it, “it started slow, but it’s beginning to grow.”
I have to say I don’t think I’ve seen anything like it. The parents, students and teachers are talking, negotiating through the blog about how the course is working and what ideas might make it better. They’ve even enlisted a former teacher at our school who now lives in Minnesota. This is a combined English/Social Studies class, and at first, his team teacher wasn’t thrilled with the idea. But he’s come around.
I must admit that when Mr.McHale proposed this weblog idea I was a bit skeptical. I envisioned students using the weblog to complain about work without offering ideas on how to improve things. Although this fear seemed to be coming to fruition on the first day, it has been the exact opposite since. I want to thank those students that have contributed and the parents/teachers that have contributed.
And check out this thread where parents weigh in on the use of groups in class. They’re making serious, valuable suggestions, and at least one of them is impressed at being given the opportunity.
Interesting and sensible comments. I do want to say how encouraged I am by the thought behind the establishment of this site, and much of the conversation generated. I give teachers a lot of credit when they are willing to seek out student input as you’ve done; I know it can generate a lot of extra work for them. It’s been a long time since I’ve been in front of a classroom, but my students really seemed to respond well to those opportunities.
Now, I know that teaching is not all about winning a popularity contest with parents, and I know that this type of transparency can sometimes create more problems than it solves. But I’m anxious to see what evolves from this, to see what sticks. And the general idea that we can now create these sorts of connections still thrills me…