Do we exist in an educational echo chamber?

One outcome of being part of something as exciting as setting up a brand new school is that you find yourself explaining (or at least attempting to) the underlying philosophy of the said school. Whilst we are still wrangling with the precise wording of the vision and principles I do have fairly strong personal philosophies about education that (I think) reflect those of the school...I mean, I assume that's why I got the job? Isn't it? I know I value student engagement, creativity, future focus, innovation, collaboration and differentiated or personalised learning. I know I care deeply about professional development, teaching as inquiry and the thoughtful integration of e-learning tools and strategies.

However, I am also aware that I am very good at surrounding myself, in both a digital and physical sense, with educators who hold similar views and share similar passions to mine.

This leads to me to my latest edu-conundrum. Is our ability to curate our reading/listening/viewing through platforms such as Twitter and RSS feeds etc. actually just creating a an echo chamber that simply amplifies what (I think) I know to be true. Is this ability to manipulate and control our information flow actually narrowing our views and preventing us to from challenging and questioning these beliefs? Then, on top of this, particularly if you are a bit of an edu-geek and 'professionaldevelopmentophile' like me, you also attend many (and I mean MANY) conferences (and unconferences) that do little more than reinforce these beliefs and passions. The converted happily preaching to the converted. We might share, discuss and even debate, but really, we do so within a safe wee haven that only represents a small portion of a much broader educational sector. I can't even use the "but my beliefs are backed by research" card, because lets be fair, you can find research to support most things, and history has shown how misguided and even deadly this can be.

I know (I think) I can be safe in my beliefs if I undertake an inquiry and/or research so as to measure outcomes, based on interventions informed by these beliefs...but even that is hard to prove as being evidence that MY beliefs are "right" and could actually, at least in part, be influenced by a number of other factors.

So where does that leave us?

How do I actually go about ensuring I am genuinely challenging my educational beliefs, ideas, values?

Do I even need to?
I suspect I do.

Or is the realisation that I might be stuck in an an educational echo chamber actually enough?
I suspect it isn't.


  1. Whew! Most of, if not all, what I am reading is saying the same thing. None of it is saying let's do more of the same.

    1. See what happens when you give me "time to de-school" Maurie! I get all deep and meaningful and rather navel gaze-y. You've unleashed the ponderer in me! :)

    2. Hey Claire, I know what you mean. Today's technology makes it very easy to find people and research to support already held views and positions. It creates tribes of people of like minds so it is easy to think everyone thinks the same way. This is very comfortable. However it is also easy to find other viewpoints or critiques if you want to. The point is you have to deliberately seek counter points yourself. This can be a useful exercise because sometimes reading counter views can more easily clarify tour key values and "non negotiables" than continually read things saying the same things.


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