Here We Go Again

Today was the first day of another year for us here in the overly large school district.

And coping with the various levels of fear expressed by our teachers when it comes to the technology swirling around them, both in and out of the classroom.

In a post at Technology and Learning, Jeff Utech does some thinking out loud about those fears. Specifically, he wants to know “At what age do we lose this sense of exploration, the adventure of risk taking where we cannot predict the outcome?”.

Good question. Jeff takes the optimistic approach that we need to push these reluctant educators and help them learn to take some risks when it comes to these new tools.

However, in a piece written in response to Jeff, posted both at Tech and Learning and his own blog, David Warlick goes off on a rant, asking some questions of his own on the subject.

The idea of fearful teachers came up several times, and I have to admit an increasing frustration with this issue. Why do we treat teachers so delicately? Why do we forgive them year after year for not adopting contemporary information and communication tools? Why are we satisfied with small steps?

I’m on David’s side in this discussion (no, not fight :-), especially on the matter of adults falling back on the old digital natives/digital immigrants meme as an excuse not to learn the skills they need.

And I certainly share his anger with this attitude.

I almost lost it when I read, in Cheryl Oats’ comment, “..someone told me they didn’t want to learn one more new thing, they didn’t like new things..“ I would want to ask, “You call yourself a teacher?” Who more than teachers should be willing and eager to learn new things?

As you can imagine, his rant attracted quite a few comments on both sides. It all makes for a great conversation.

But I’m certainly not trying to claim that all teachers are all technophobes (and neither is David). Many are working hard to understand both the new technologies and how their students interact with it.

Unfortunately, there are many more who are fearful of all the connections to the outside world in their classrooms and in the pockets of their students.

Maybe it’s time to move beyond the gentle encouragement Jeff is talking about.

Welcome back. Here we go again.

teachers, technology, fear

2 Comments Here We Go Again

  1. abl

    My mother, a much older teacher, is one of those who is terrified of the computer. It drives my brothers and I crazy as we try to help her trouble shoot over the phone. But working with her I have realized that more than anything, she is scared of tech people. She hates having them act like she’s not a good teacher because she can’t use the smartboard. She’s excited to use the smartboard and I spent hours helping her with it this summer. She just needed the patience I give me first graders, something she hasn’t gotten from her county. (She does not work in our county… a smaller and much poorer one). At another training I attended this summer I somehow ended up holding computer lessons during our break times for the older teachers in the group. They too admitted to being scared of the tech people but wanted to get a handle on technology. I don’t know when the tech people vs. older teachers war started but I will tell you the older teachers are terrified of you all. They believe you want them fired. While many may deal with it through complaining, just think of them as first graders trying to avoid reading group by faking that annoying cough. Patience, patience, patience. They’ll come around, they just need to know someone will sit with them and say, “now you try it”.

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