Not Letting Teachers “Friend” & “Follow” Kids Online? Editor’s Note: This is written in response to this post in the Innovative Educator blog. My employer checks prospective applicants’ Facebook profile before hiring them. What are we doing to prepare students to operate in this panorama? It is imperative to allow them to recognize that their digital profile matters – that it’s, to a sizable extent, permanent, and that we now have adults who are able to instruct them how to use the public press for productivity and learning.
They need guides and mentors, and like else everywhere, they need supervision. We would never leave a cafeteria full of adolescents unsupervised. That doesn’t mean that we monitor every conversation occurring in that cafeteria. We just make sure that there are adults around. This can help youngsters keep their behavior in balance. The same concept applies in the digital space. They need to there know we are. On Facebook, we let people know we are there by “friending” them.
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Preventing educators from “friending” students is shortsighted. To begin with, it reinforces the false idea that sociable media is public solely. As the above-mentioned statistics indicate, it isn’t. It denies students the opportunity to connect to vetted mentors also, those who have expertise in supervising and guiding children, and those before whom students are employed at exhibiting their absolute best behavior. Getting together with teachers motivates students to understand how to use sociable media constructively – as a tool for communication, cooperation, and productivity – as they will utilize it in the workplace ultimately.
Very often, students desire to be Facebook friends with instructors don’t, parents, family members and other adults. Probably the most logical explanation for the is that they are doing things online they don’t want the adults in their lives to see. But digital profiles are more and more looked at as job application extensions. Kids should not post what they don’t want the adults in their lives to see, and the best deterrent for irresponsible posting is to truly have a wide array of adults present in students’ online world.
So yes. Prohibiting instructors from “friending” students is a problem for students. Additionally it is a problem for educators. Since when is it okay to impose policies and regulations that dictate whom adults can and cannot befriend – in real life or otherwise? Each day Teachers are accredited to utilize children face-to-face for at least six hours, but for some reason, they are not qualified to interact with them online?
We are in the business of education. It is our job to facilitate, not impede learning. Encouraging teachers to activate learners facilitates that effort, regardless of the platform. Social networking policies that prohibit online teacher/student interaction are presumably enacted to prevent misconduct from one, or perhaps a couple of teachers. But they deny entire student communities excellent learning opportunities – learning communication, collaboration, contribution, and participation – all fundamental 21stCentury learning skills.
These procedures embody the very opposite of what education stands for. Education should celebrate planning and learning students for educational and professional advancement, not prevent it. There are plenty of instances where misguided teachers act in face-to-face interactions with students inappropriately. And truthfully the impact of this kind of misconduct can be far more traumatic than inappropriate online interaction.