Amanda's Post:As I read the next four chapters in The Art of Possibility this week, I couldn't help but reflect upon the discussion board topic that we were also give for this week. I'm pretty sure Dr. Joe knew what he was doing this week. Our discussion this week had to do with the barriers to integrating technology in the classroom. We were supposed to discuss, from our experience, what it is that keeps teachers from embracing new technology. Our answers varied from time commitment to fear of failure, lack of PD to lack of support from Admin. Since most of us are classroom teachers, we hit probably the top ten roadblocks, easily. But after the reading this week, my eyes are open to some new possibilities!
In the chapter, The Way Things Are, the authors discuss our tendency to see the negative in a bad situation, instead of seeing it for what it really is...just another situation. They also discuss the tendency to express problems as a downward spiral, I hear this all the time in the Teacher's Lounge!! The same teachers who balk at integrating new technology are typically the same people who express their frustration with "these" students, who are always the worst students ever, and Oh! Just wait! The class coming up is the worst EVER!! It's so frustrating, and disheartening, if you buy into all that talk. Why would anyone ever want to dedicate their lives to teaching? It's much more encouraging to think of these kids as being different from previous generations, not better or worse, and to think of ways to reach them that weren't available in previous generations.
Isn't it interesting how different school settings (and different teacher's lounges) can take on a life of their own? I have taught at a school where almost every single staff member expressed problems as opportunities. Students were valued, challenges were discussed, and solutions were found. Sure, at that school we had "those parents" and stinker students. But the staff never whined about this these issues, but instead found ways to work together and make good things happen.
I have also been at a school (it will remain anonymous) where the teachers' lounge is a horrible place to visit, and I avoid it at all costs. I actually shook my head when I read your post that said "The same teachers who balk at integrating new technology are typically the same people who express their frustration with "these" students, who are always the worst students ever, and Oh! Just wait! The class coming up is the worst EVER!! " I heard those EXACT sentiments recently. "Oh my gosh these kids are just awful. This year can't end fast enough. But I've heard that next year's group is even worse. Not looking forward to August to come..." If that is your mind set, why come back in August at all?