'Naming the problem so we can fix it' or 'shaming and blaming?'
Scott McLeod, J.D., Ph.D., is an Associate Professor of Educational Leadership at the University of Kentucky. He also is the Founding Director of the UCEA Center for the Advanced Study of Technology Leadership in Education (CASTLE), the nation’s only academic center dedicated to the technology needs of school administrators, and was a co-creator of the wildly popular video series, Did You Know? (Shift Happens). He has received numerous national awards for his technology leadership work, including recognitions from the cable industry, Phi Delta Kappa, and the National School Boards Association. In Spring 2011 he was a Visiting Canterbury Fellow at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand. Dr. McLeod blogs regularly about technology leadership issues at Dangerously Irrelevant and Mind Dump, and occasionally at The Huffington Post. He can be reached at scottmcleod.net.
I had a conversation with Scott Meech at Edubloggercon this year in which we discussed the fine line between ‘naming the problem so we can solve it’ and ‘shaming and blaming.’ For example, suppose I say, “Most of the administrators in your district don’t know what to do to create learning environments that prepare kids for a digital, global world.’ Is that ‘naming the problem so we can solve it?’ Yes, absolutely. But depending on how sensitive you and/or those administrators are, it may also/instead feel like ‘shaming and blaming.’
We don't want to unnecessarily offend anyone. But should we care more about people's feelings or reforming the system? [Is this a false choice? I don't think so since perspective and individual sensitivity are key here; no matter how blandly we may try and phrase something, someone's still likely to be upset with us.]
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