Draft Code of Professionalism from the GTCS
The General Teaching Council for Scotland, the independent regulatory body for the teaching profession here, has today released a Draft Code of Professionalism which is up for feedback until the end of November.
It's of particular interest to those working with new technologies, as the potential teacher-student relationships outside school hours that social media can facilitate require thinking through from a 'professionalism' point of view.
Personally, I think the Draft Code stands up rather well, and helps offer the guidance that Don was maybe looking for in his Web 2.0/Public Service dilemma. However, there are two angles which remain open to misunderstanding by teachers, yes, but also to parents and students, who do not fall under the GTCS's regulations:
- The liaison between social networks and "being in an isolated space" in the school building is true where the social network is closed, but I wonder whether the comparison stands where the network is open for all to see (which is more often the case). Is it, in this more common example, more like being in a conversation in a common area, canteen or classroom? If so, then the Draft Code fails to cover the media literacy obligations of teachers in order that they can handle themselves appropriately in these online social situations.
- There's also an issue of how these guidelines play into the use of Glow, the national intranet, which arguably has more isolated, closed-off, special access spaces than Bebo or Facebook. In these situations, teachers can be mindful, but might the Draft Code lead to some teachers just staying away from the learning opportunity in the intranet? Better safe and offline than sorry?
Once again, we see that a clear cut strategy on Media Literacy formed with the people, and revisited as often as humanly possible, will help us interpret these and other Codes of Conduct more 'professionally'. Update: Already the insinuation through people's interpretation is that the GTCS would attempt to control what a teacher puts on their own, personal profile. I don't think this is the intention at all, but the wording needs cleaned up to make it crystal clear.
You may want to have an influence on the English and Welsh Byron Review, covering media literacy issues with social media and video games south of the border. As for Scotland, we'll just have to watch this space...