On teenagers and social media
This article is doing the rounds at the moment - I guess because it features a strong message about the importance of mentoring.
It starts like this:
I know which of my teenage students smokes weed in the park after class on Fridays, and which other students are with him. I know which ones are struggling with making friends in their first few weeks at college, and which ones aren’t. I know which of my students chafe against overly strict parents on a regular basis. I know which one spends every weekend in the hospital due to a chronic condition. I know which ones got arrested last night.
And then it features the obligatory dig at teachers in formal education:
Are actual teachers—that is, those employed by the school system—tapped into this wealth of information from their students? Likely not. The teachers I know are often discouraged, and sometimes downright forbidden from, interacting with their students on social media. While these policies are in place to help protect both teachers and students from all manner of things, this wall of separation may be keeping teachers from truly knowing their students in a time when teens need a mentor more than ever.
I get that the main thrust of the article is about mentoring. And I absolutely agree with that. What strikes me as odd, though, is that an editor of Ars Technica is amazed that young people who have grown up with technology, and who have more spare time than older people, should be unfamiliar with the very settings that are likely to make or break their social lives?
(I'm also fairly sick of the lazy generalisation of teachers as incompetent and not able to use technology effectively. They're often doing awesome things in spite of restrictions.)