When I was in graduate school, the professor in my very first class session began by instructing us to question everything. He was passionate about this declaration, clearly evident in the spraying spit as he glared out at us. This was an exercise science, physiology and biomechanics program based heavily upon peer-reviewed research. He instructed us to question each and every word that he vocalized and assigned in our class meetings and readings. Let me reiterate… we were instructed to question the very research that would instruct and inform us during our time in the program. I learned that this is precisely what happens in any reputable field of research. Again, question that which most people look to as authoritative and primary source documentation of a subject.
I was taught to question.
Lately, Twitter is failing me. Today I had an exchange on Twitter where I put this to practice in my own community of practice. While the exchange was hardly equivalent to the research mentioned above, I had a question in regards to the practice of creating fake Facebook walls for historical/fictional characters. I didn’t “get it”. I questioned it. I stated it seemed contrived and also seemed like an online worksheet. I also asked what was next… what action/learning experience follows the creation of and discussion around a “fakebook” profile?
I wanted to know.
Back to my mention of peer-reviewed research. I believe a community of practice (made up of peers in a practice) should allow this line of questioning in whatever spaces are available/used. I respect those that were posting the information, they’ve taught/shared a thing or two with me before. Because of this I felt comfortable tweeting my questions. Apparently it was not welcomed and received as me merely liking to argue. Nothing could be further from the truth. You can imagine my disappointment.
I claim no expertise in any niche or corner of education or the EdTech community of practice. What I do claim is the right to question, as a participant in a community of practice and for the benefit of those in the community and those I work with/for, the content that is posted within the community. Since we are striving to teach our students that posting on the Internet results in feedback and critical questioning, I think we would do well to remember this as we post there as well. I certainly try to. If I don’t, it is your right to call me on it.
Being taught to question was one of the most important and powerful lessons I will always remember. It has served me well and will continue to do so.