I’m thinking of so many public attacks on so many contributors to this community – adult and young adult – recently, in which the victims of the attacks did nothing to provoke those who attacked them.  I’m not going to link to any of them, because I don’t want to give them publicity.  I just want to try to articulate some things keeping me from sleeping tonight.  And since I do want to try to sleep again, I think I’ll condense them into a list:

1. Stats and rankings seem increasingly insidious to me. The more we value them, the more prone we are to follow the path of Fox News in a race to the bottom, for the sake of pushing our stats to the top. Dylan said it well in “Idiot Wind”:

Now everything’s a little upside down
As a matter of fact, the wheels have stopped.
What’s good is bad, what’s bad is good,
You’ll find out when you reach the top
You’re on the bottom.

(–On a personal note, I’ll share that the unexpected and completely surprising rise of this blog’s readership over the past few months has tempted me more than once to publish posts that now embarrass me. I wanted more “fame,” which is a ridiculously overblown term for such a small niche in the web. I’m going to keep my Technorati widget, because the connectivity it provides is good; but I’m going to remove the reactions rating.)

2. To insist that we know better than others because we’re “trained professionals” is dangerous. Lobotomists used that argument in the ’50s and ’60s, and blood-letters before them. Readers of Pink’s A Whole New Mind, regardless of their views of the book, may remember reading that today’s physicians are being trained, as “professionals,” to learn how to listen to their patients. The web has made it possible for us to listen to our own customers – students – in a manner unparalleled in history. To insist we’re professionals, with drop-out rates soaring and basic educational knowledge and skills plummeting, is a flimsy argument against listening to students who care enough to add their voices.

3. Speaking of physicians, these lines from the Hippocratic Oath seem applicable to educators – sheesh, to people generally – as well as to doctors:

I will prescribe regimens for the good of my patients according to my ability and my judgment and never do harm to anyone.
I will preserve the purity of my life and my arts. . . .
In every house where I come I will enter only for the good of my patients, keeping myself far from all intentional ill-doing and all seduction. . . .
All that may come to my knowledge in the exercise of my profession or in daily commerce with men, which ought not to be spread abroad, I will keep secret and will never reveal.
If I keep this oath faithfully, may I enjoy my life and practice my art, respected by all men and in all times; but if I swerve from it or violate it, may the reverse be my lot.

4. We can talk about controversial ideas without mentioning individuals.

That’s all I’ve got for now. Here’s to diplomacy and openness.

11 thoughts on “Diplomacy”

  1. Some of the comments I read online veer dangerously close to cyber bullying. The anger and derogatory tone linger long after the precipitating issue is forgotten.

    NECC was a shining opportunity for me to meet, in person, members of my PLN. Those I had grown close to via online interaction were, without exception, a pleasure to spend time with.

    When I encountered people who were virtual “acquaintances” I could gauge their interest in conversing by observing, body language, visual and auditory cues. That, of course, is missing in a totally digital relationship. The wrong word at at stressful moment can’t be recalled or totally erased when it enters cyberspace.

    Computers have simultaneously enlarged and narrowed our vision. It’s a point we need to keep in mind while flinging our thoughts out for all who care to read them.

    dianes last blog post..Where in the World? Part 2

  2. Kia ora Diane

    I so agree with your line “computers have simultaneously enlarged and narrowed our vision.” It is applicable to many other aspects of their use. But the dimension-narrowing in communication in particular is one that society has had ample opportunity to explore, long before computers came on the scene.

    It is simply a matter of scale.

    Writing letters is a singularly narrow means of communication, but it is interactive and it gives opportunity for many to explore the same vagaries of lack of vocal expression, facial expression, tempo and body language, as in digital communication.

    Publishing books and newspapers brings opportunity for these perpetrations to a wider audience and to some extent match the communication breadth of Web 1.0 Internet, at least in order of magnitude.

    There is nothing new with this in Web 2.0 except for the opportunity for open discussion to take place 24/7 in a public arena of prodigious size.

    Ka kite

    Ken Allans last blog post..A Message from Middle-earth on ItCanSay

  3. I’ll be honest – I don’t understand the personal attacks. I think that it is okay to disagree with others on issues and debate about them (that’s the fun of the conversation!) but to attack someone because you disagree with their views is just immature behavior. I don’t think it is diplomacy as much as it is just sensible mature grown up behavior. We have a policy in our house that our kids grew up with and we try to model this constantly: If you have nothing nice to say, then don’t say anything at all. This policy is also followed in my classroom. Why can’t grownups act like grownups? Thanks for a great post!

  4. Thank you for encouraging others to discuss issues in a civil manner. We need the free exchange of ideas in order to improve our community. Local, national, global, and virtual…

    Most of us have at least two (hundred) reflective moments of, “Oh crap, did I really say that?” Good parents and teachers correct those faults and lead us to reflection without belittling the individual.

    Well done.

    Andrews last blog post..Obama-Care Versus McCain-Care

  5. It begs the question – why do we blog?

    I blog because it helps me to think.
    And it offers the added bonus of getting input on my thought processes from others – in writing so I can look back and reflect.

    If I ever start to forget about why I blog I hope that I can at least remember some of what you have written here.

    ps – I use the same template for my class blogs – how did you get the translation bits at the top to stop sliding down the side?

    Tracy Rosens last blog post..I unlocked the key to Mysql and Php :)

  6. @Tracy, your comments about why you blog really hit home. That’s how I used to feel about it, and wish I still did – and how I’m trying to feel again by doing some mental hygiene to get back to basics.

    Thanks for the comments, all.

    I fantasize that people who race to the bottom for stats get waves of comments calling them on it. It’s amazing how little we see that happen.

  7. @Tracy, I never had the sliding translator feature. Sure you’re not talking about a theme other than Widejournal – maybe hyperreal?

  8. You’re right –> © 2007 Miss Rosen’s Classroom. Powered by WordPress wearing MyJournal Hypereal

    They both look quite similar! Maybe I’ll do a switch then, the sliding is annoying.

    (ps – that’s another reason I blog, to play with blog design. Satisfies my need to play with visuals AND write…amazing )

    Tracy Rosens last blog post..I unlocked the key to Mysql and Php :)

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