Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Professional Development at Its Best

Not too long ago I posted my response to a meme that was basically a self survey regarding priviledge. The post received a few comments and some bloggers linked to it with their own postings including Byrningbunny and Rebecca over at Freaky Frugalite.

In the post I mentioned Dr. Ruby K. Payne…..I said---

One of the best resources (books and tapes) that I have ever used to help me get my head around the implications of poverty and its effects on education is Dr. Ruby K. Payne’s A Framework for Understanding Poverty . Not only is she a very entertaining speaker the exercises in her book and workbook gave me a totally different mindset regarding some of my students.

A few days later I was alerted by by a friend that Dr. Payne and her associates have a blog, and I was mentioned over there. The blog is called Aha! Process, Inc. It is a great resource for Payne’s materials and even videos. Patti Albright, a contributing author at the site happened to see my post regarding priviledge and posted her own article titled Privilege and the Paper World over at Aha! She states:

The game intrigued me because of my training with and subsequent passion for Ruby Payne’s work. Dr. Payne’s research reveals, among many other ideas that most schools in America operate from middle class norms. Students, starting in kindergarten, are immersed in the middle class “paper world” – they are inundated with field trip notes, report cards, test results, textbooks, library books, PTA notices, fundraiser catalogs, etc. Many of our students from generational poverty do not come from homes where books, magazines, and bank statements, abound. The paper world to which middle class America has become so accustomed does not exist for many children from poverty, and just this one aspect of not coming from a “privileged” background can be a huge stumbling block to success in today’s educational system.

I just love this whole blogging “thing” and the implications it has for education. I am constantly amazed at how things are passed along, linked to, refined and adopted. A blog post often begins through a conversation with self that quickly becomes a conversation with a few, and then side bar conversations begin at other sites.

Someone once asked me why I would want to spend my free time writing, reading, commenting, and linking…….I told them that it’s really very simple. Blogging in education is the ultimate in vertical teaming or a small group conducting collaborative research. You find a group of blogs that basically fit your niche and hang on with all your might because the conversation is constant, and the most important outcome is professional growth of the highest caliber.


Linda Fox said...

I found this post on the Carnival of Education. I agree that blogging allows teachers to connect with other teachers who are working to perfect their professional practice.

There's no use re-inventing the wheel. Somewhere in the world, another teacher has run up against the situations that bother you, and have likely found a way to handle it. Why not benefit from their expertise?

Other uses for teacher blogging
- interaction with other teachers in the same discipline (particularly important in secondary edu)
- regional alliances, to improve alignment to the standards
- minority support (in science, that includes women - sometimes, we're the only woman in our department)
- personal expression

EHT said...

Amen, Linda! Thanks for adding other uses for teacher blogging into the conversation.

Mrs. Bluebird said...

The absolute best workshop I ever attended was a Ruby Payne Understanding Poverty workshop. It totally changed how I saw my students and how I teach.

EHT said...

I agree Mrs. Bluebird. We often joke about how useless many inservice opportunities are, and for good reason, however, my time with Mrs. Payne and her materials were well worth it. I often revisit them.