Irrelevant? Ineffective? Hmmm, I don’t think that is the right word.

My vocabulary is not as advanced as I wish it was and I am taking steps to better my word choices daily.

So when certain words pop out at me that just don’t seem right, I try to find out why and then find the word which is much more appropriate to be used.

Frequently on twitter, blog posts, chats, and at conferences, the words “ineffective” and “irrelevant” are popping up to label teachers and administrators who are not using the options of Web 2.0, the internet, digital literacy tools, or whatever you wish to call what we have at our fingertips and right before our eyes.

Besides the fact that I believe that ridicule, judgment, and condescending tones will never help change, I also believe that the words “ineffective” and “irrelevant” are not the best word choices.

Just because someone has decided to obtain a few acres of cyber-space and establish a blog, a wiki, twitter, plurk, facebook…..this list can go on and on.   Just because someone decides to populate that space with words, presentations, pdfs, images, podcasts.  Just because someone can boast of a zillion followers, have a ning with thousands of members, or throw out a post/twitter/plurk/image that gets hundreds of responses.

Just because………of these thoughts……I don’t believe that makes or does not make teachers and administrators effective or relevant.

There are MANY MANY EFFECTIVE AND RELEVANT administrators and teachers on each and every one of our campuses.  Great teachers.  Teachers who are making a difference.  Administrators who are encouraging staff and students in many ways.  Their presence or non-presence on the internet does not determine their effectiveness or relevance within their own classroom/campus.

Case in point:  My Jr. High Principal recently started to share his thoughts on a blog and joined the twitter conversation.   Three weeks ago to be exact.  So, can I say to him, “22 days ago you were just irrelevant and ineffective….but HEY, look at you now.”    No, I cannot.

The best word now to be used is INFLUENCE.

He has consciously made the decision to influence others and be influenced by others beyond his own personal campus.   He has consciously made the decision to say “I am going to share outside my 4 walls”   He has consciously made the decision to say “I am going to read and listen to some new voices.”  He has availed himself to influence others and he is inviting others to influence him.

To me, that is the proper choice of words when speaking to teachers/administrators who are still working, teaching, and existing within their own campus walls……..

don’t call them irrelevant.  don’t call them ineffective.

Try instead to ask them……
are you willing to influence others?
are you willing to let others influence you?

And when they answer with “yes, but how……” that is when you can show them the options at their fingertips and right before their eyes.

Just my thoughts —
Please share yours.

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