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: TeachNorthern

We are hard working educators with passionate interest in Teaching for a Social Purpose. Everything we've learned is through observing colleagues and students, all of whom are committed to changing the world. And reading interesting stuff. We 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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