Community of Praxis: our first #teachdifferent Twitter Chat

Last night I participated in the first ever #teachdifferent Twitter chat, ably facilitated by @kaysoclearn.

Although the technology took a little while to navigate (perhaps due to the large glass of wine at my elbow), I quickly got into the flow of sharing my thinking with “like minded friends” (as @lesleywhiting refers to us).  Not just the #teamnorthern usual suspects either; we were joined by graduates and colleagues from elsewhere, who share our Social Purpose mission.  Great to see WEA colleagues looking in too, we share so many profoundly held values.

I found the live chat exciting and challenging – easier to navigate once I moved from my laptop to my phone too.  This is technology which is designed to be used on the move.  Although at times it felt a bit chaotic, Kay’s skill was to keep us on task and some clear themes emerged:

– our shared and explicated values, which contribute to the social capital of our Community of Praxis and bind us together

– the difficulty of articulating what #teachdifferent is, to colleagues unfamiliar with the concept

– the revolutionary nature of our work

– how tough it is to begin to think for ourselves

I continued to reflect on this last as I went about my evening.  It’s not so long ago that I learned to think for myself, through studying the Thinking Environment with Nancy Kline.  Those components and applications have become so embedded in my life that I sometimes forget to give them credit for helping me to be the person I am, as well as the teacher I am.  Nancy describes the Thinking Environment as a “way of being in the world” and I’m glad to be able to honour that privilege once again today.

This first #teachdifferent Twitter chat (reproduced by Kay on Storify, follow the link below) coincides with an intense period of assessing Cert Ed/PGCE portfolios and the same themes are emerging as I have the honour of glimpsing the teaching philosophies which have been developed by each student on the course.  Again, I am reflecting the importance of the Community of Praxis in providing fertile ground for people to find out for themselves who they are, as educators. 


Author: Lou Mycroft

Hard working educator with passionate interest in Teaching for a Social Purpose. Everything I've learned is through observing colleagues and students, all of whom are committed to changing the world. And reading interesting stuff. I work at The Northern College in Barnsley and its mission (and thirty-eight year history) of social transformation makes it an ideal base to face the challenges of teaching adults in 21st century England.

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