Butting Heads: Should there be more options for teachers to communicate with students?

More Communication is Necessary:

Student/teacher communication has been a notoriously crucial ideal at the school for years. It has been made easier since the introduction of Blackboard, which helps some students stay up to date with their assignments. However, not all students check it regularly, nor do all teachers post on it regularly. Due to this break in web-based communication, teachers have tried a different, more direct approach for giving students assistance and reminders where they are more likely to see them and notice them: social networking websites.

Some say these interactions between teachers and students are inappropriate as teachers can see students personal profiles. Some even believe students can see teachers personal profiles as well. What students don’t seem to be aware of is teachers create profiles specifically for interactions with students, and are used for business only.

These Twitter and Facebook accounts created by teachers can be helpful for several reasons: teachers have better access to them after hours at their own homes, they are faster to respond via than email and a whole class can see the response to a question as opposed to just the student asking the question, as others may have similar questions. They are also facilitative in the sense that teachers can remind students of homework or tests. They will be more likely to see them considering most visit social networking sites more than Blackboard. In addition, smartphone users will receive notifications, increasing chances of their seeing it.

The prevalent issue some students and teachers have with this method of communication is they believe interactions are becoming too personal and teachers should not have access to students personal social networking accounts. This is refuted by the fact students have the security option to limit people from full viewing access of their accounts, so if this measure is taken, teachers would be unable to see students’ accounts.

With these security measures as an option, in addition to teachers creating school specific accounts to communicate with students, there should be no issue with this method of communication between students and teachers. It is helpful and ultimately useful for students and teachers to be able to communicate more easily.

There Are Enough Options Already:

Currently, students have many tools to use when accessing homework.  With RAISE, agenda books, blackboard and email, everything is there for students.  There is not a great demand at the moment for increased student-teacher communication.

If a student needs help with anything, there are many opportunities provided for them.  Our school has RAISE two times a week, where students can go and ask questions.  If used properly, this is a valuable tool to get help in difficult classes.  However, many students use this time to socialize instead of talking with teachers and getting valuable help.

With regards to homework, there are two options available for students that work extremely well when used properly. While some teachers do not update blackboard on a regular basis, agenda books provided by the school are useful in keeping a record of homework.  It only takes a minute or two to write down homework.  In addition, many teachers provide monthly calendars for students to access whenever they want.

There is a reason why teachers do not use facebook or twitter to contact students, as students are not judicial with what they post.  Having teachers create personal accounts to help with students can potentially create more problems than necessary.

There are other ways teachers can update students on homework assignments, but as of now there are plenty of opportunities provided by our school to ensure that students get the most help possible in their classes. Not to mention, the students need to take some responsibility for recording the work and paying attention to what is being said in class.

In college, teachers will not make an effort to inform students about homework if they didn’t pay attention.  Students need to learn how to keep track of their assignments in high school while the system is not as rigid. Experience gained from keeping track and being self-dependent will help prepare students for this aspect of college.