Every Tuesday educators from all over the world use a Twitter tool known as a hashtag to participate in online discussions. Every Monday the moderators post a list of questions for discussion that educators vote on and the topic with the most votes becomes the topic for Tuesday. A hastag in Twitter starts with a number sign (#), which signifies a topic while also stringing together all tweets that have the hashtag in it such as #edchat (the Tuesday discussion). The February 8 #EdChat topic was, “In order to reform education, we need to change the culture. What steps do we need to take to begin the change?” It was a great discussion with many ideas flying furiously fast because there were so many educators participating. I had some great conversations during the chat and wanted to share some of what we came up with. (If you are curious here’s a short video explaining #edchat, and here’s an interview where Shelly Terrell, one of the moderators and creators of #edchat, defines #edchat.)
This wasn’t my first edchat and something hit me while trying to keep up with all the tweets. We are the change. It struck me that the teachers chatting, many of whom I follow on Twitter, are teaching innovatively, reflecting on their practice, and working to help their students learn. After reading Sustainable Change in Schools (evolution not revolution) by Bill Ferriter I had to rethink something I’ve been wanting. I have been wanting revolution. I want change to happen now, I want to see kids learning, and loving to learn, and loving school. I want kids to see a purpose to coming to school such that they want to take charge of their own learning. Bill’s blog prompted me to think more doable. Revolution isn’t happening but what I’m noticing is that change is happening all over. Sure I follow and read blogs of folk who are a lot like me but that just means that I’m seeing change happening now! The blogs I read and share, the people I follow and re-tweet and converse with are changing the ways they teach.
I thought of a four step plan during the edchat hour to begin the change that will start the education reform we need (IMHO).
Step 1: Be the change you want to see. It starts in our classrooms.
Step 2: Tell the world what you are doing. Let everyone in! We here are doing just that! Pay it forward.
Step 3: Help each other overcome the fear of change. Then help everyone participate for buy-in.
Step 4: Spread the change little by little. A teacher in your school, then maybe a couple more, then a few more. Then maybe the school down the street. Maybe teachers in other schools that you meet in face to face professional development workshops.
Change takes time. I need to change and grow because I know that there’s no one thing that will work for all of my students. We at least need to change every time our learners need us to change to meet their needs to help them learn, grow and succeed. It’s happening, it’s happening now, and I think it’s spreading. So let’s keep spreading the change that is necessary for our profession to reach its potential.