“Inappropriate Comments = Teachable Moments”

A couple of days ago I read a post by Anne Davis titled “Inappropriate Comments = Teachable Moments“, which in itself is worth commenting on. Anne wrote the post in response to an innappropriate comment posted to a student blog. She used the incident as a teachable moment, and in consultation with her students, they collectively constructed protocols dealing with innappropriate comments. This is what they decided:

1) We would not respond to the irresponsible commenters. We would ignore them.
2) The student would report any inappropriate comments to the teacher.
3) The teachers would delete inappropriate comments, if they found them first but would discuss the matter with the owner of the blog and with the group, if appropriate.
4) We agreed that it was unfortunate that the commenter had not used common sense and we would try to set good examples on our blogs.

In being innovative with emerging technologies, teachers may often encounter aspects of Internet communication which are negative or unfavorable. Yet, such incidents are very much a part of an adolescent’s everyday world, and ignoring their existence will only contribute to the division between school learning and “real-world” learning.

And to demonstrate how this Davis’ philosophy is just good sense, note Marcos’ response to the “Inappropriate Comments = Teachable Moments” article. He writes:

“I think weblogs should be allowed in schools because it is part of our education. Weblogging has made me a better writer and thinker. Sometimes we get an inappropriate comment but that doesn’t slow us down. It is not the end of the world because someone has called you a bad name. You can’t stop that from happening. When we get an inappropriate comment we learn a lesson and that lesson is not to be like that person. We also learn responsibility on the Internet. If you were in a race and someone called you a bad name, would you stop? I think not. Martin Luther King Jr. was called bad names all the time and it didn’t stop him from fulfilling his dream. Thinks like this happen all the time, even out of school. So, please don’t shut down weblogs.”

Oh yeah, I failed to mention that Marcos is a fifth grade student. I’m certainly impressed by his level of maturity, and his thinking. Check out his blog at Marcos’ Seaworld of Facts.