Month: November 2014

You Don’t Have to Agree to Be Right

This post is somewhat of a follow up to my previous post on PD presenters.  Since I have had quite a few PD experiences lately, it’s a hot topic for me.

In my career, I’ve been to many conferences, workshops, and other PD events. I’ve seen hundreds of presentations and scores of keynotes. I’ve seen former presidents, small town educators, and everything in between. During these workshops, presentations, keynotes, etc.i have seen a phenomenon that I am not comfortable with, especially because the behaviors I see are coming from educators.

Too often, I see educators blindly subscribing to the ideas presented by keynote speakers.  It’s almost as if some believe they have to believe what is being said by those on the stage.  I had one of those experiences the other day, listening to Eric Sheninger. Now, I must start by saying that I think Eric is amazing. I’ve followed him on Twitter since I first joined Twitter, and I have learned so much from him virtually-and as of last week- in person. This post is not about him, but rather about the way people reacted to him.

This is the part of the post where I warn you that I may say something you disagree with. “I disagree with something Eric Sheninger said to the wonderful and engaged group of educators at the Ventura County Office of Education.  While discussing BYOD at our table, I was assailed by arguments in favor of BYOD. Because this idea came form the presenter, it felt as if it was seen to be unassailably true.

Eric was arguing that BYOD is a great equalizer.  That allowing students to bring the device of their choosing will lead to great strides in education.  This post is not about BYOD, so I don’t want to get into the pros and cons of BYOD (you can follow the links to some articles that do get into the argument over BYOD).

What bothered me was the crowds quick willingness to subscribe to Eric’s point of view.  As educators, we are tasked with giving students the opportunity to hone their critical thinking skills.  We want our students to think for themselves, not be robots, yadda yadda yadda. Yet, as learners ourselves, we sometimes believe in the ‘Rockstars’ too much. (Here is a great reflection on the emerging Rock Star culture in education.)

As lead learners, it’s critical that you maintain your own though processes and make decisions on your own.  Just because someone has a microphone, it doesn’t mean they are right.  They are people with ideas, and you can agree or disagree with what they say.

Unless, of course, I’m the one presenting….