Yesterday I had one of those rare moments where I was able to go through my Inbox and attempt to read my email that has been gathering for months. There was the usual stuff; companies wanting to sell me products, questions about workshops and presentations, and junk. But one email caught my eye. If was from a friend of mine who I used to teach with. He had come across an article/posting/manifesto about what it means to be a Internet-Using Educator. Built upon Stephen Covey's book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, the author (a classroom teacher in Florida) relates Covey's habits to what it means to be a "technology wise" teacher. I won't re-post the whole thing (you can visit the site to read for yourself) but I will give you a taste.
Habit One: Be Proactive
"Sometimes the way we see the problem is the problem. Educators wanting to learn how to effectively use the internet need to believe in themselves and look at their teaching situation from every angle in order to decide what action will head them in the right direction. Don't wait to find the perfect unit or lesson plan for using the internet. Begin by making a list of internet resources you can start with now..."
Habit Two: Begin With The End In Mind
"All effective teachers plan and plan well, creating different scenarios to cover the ways that lessons might go. Utilizing the internet and its resources means planning and being prepared in the same way that you would plan for using a new text or video or science experiment. This type of planning is nothing new for a good teacher. Know what your objectives are for your lessons and seek out the resources to help you meet them. Make sure the students also know their objectives for using the internet..."
Habit Three: Put First Things First
"For teachers their students are the number one priority. If you believe that using the internet can bring the real world issues, up-to-date information, rich primary source material and all of the other benefits you have heard that using the internet can bring to a classroom, then focus on its use as a professional goal. This will help you set aside the time to prepare and schedule the class time needed..."
Habit Four: Think Win/Win
"In school settings where interactions with students and colleagues are paramount, "win/win" is a most important philosophy. Don't be afraid to learn side-by-side with your students. Seeing how they react and interact with online resources can help you revamp your teaching strategies and restructure your lessons..."
Habit Five: Seek First To Understand, Then To Be Understood
"Listen empathically. Get inside the other person's frame of reference so you listen with one purpose - to understand. Then work on ensuring that you clearly communicate your thoughts and ideas. Open the door to the potential that exists in students by finding out what it is that will make a win/win situation for them..."
Habit Six: Synergize
Synergy means the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. The essence or key is to build on strengths and compensate for weaknesses. Synergistic communication means opening your mind to new possibilities and realizing that your new creative endeavors may be somewhat unpredictable. Become a team player with your students. Build a safe environment which encourages risk-taking, experimentation, creative endeavor and use of the information available online..."
Habit Seven: Sharpen The Saw
Sharpening the saw refers to a commitment to continuous improvement in each of the four aspects of human existence: Physical, Mental, Spiritual, and Social-Emotional. The process of continuous improvement is essential for schools and also for those who work inside of them. Educators must continually renew themselves, moving upward in the spiral of growth and change. Affirm the proactive nature of your students by treating them as responsible people. Support them, appreciate them and help them become confident, independent learners. Let them develop research questions and projects to investigate. Help them to design products to demonstrate their learning..."
Again, this is just a taste of what is written. Head on over to read the rest and then come back here and tell me what you think? Do you agree with her assessment? Is there anything you would add or change? What habits do you think demonstrate these kinds of teachers?
7 Habits of Highly Effective Internet-Using Educators
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