Expand My Thinking

Today is Mother’s Day and I had come across this tweet from one of #educrushes Dr. Amanda Stanec.  (educrushes know no gender or age ie Charles Cooper)


Dr. Stanec is one of those people in my PLN that carries weight.  I will tweet her questions about best practices in physical education, gender questions, and general life questions.  Her answer really does shape the way I view things.  There was little surprise to me that she would continue to expand my views with her tweets.

I have become more and more aware that I see things as I want to see them instead of from various viewpoints.  This is why my PLN is so varied.  Check out who I follow. You will see all races, religions, genders, sexual orientations and people from all walks of education.  I follow lawyers, teachers, administrators, Tim Ferris, advocate groups, Board of Education members, and parents.  I follow people who will interact with me or expand my thinking.

The reason I follow this variety of people is that I want to fight against group think.  Echo chambers where everyone pats everyone on the back and talks about how great everyone is bothers me.  It bothers me because this does not make me better.  It inflates my ego which as most of you know doesn’t need much massaging.  Some of the most popular chats seem this way to me. I jump in their chats and see superficial answers to superficial questions.  I want the hard hitting questions.  I want the tweets that make me go, “Wow I never thought of that!”

It is not easy to follow people and groups that you may disagree with.  It is even harder to interact with them.  This does not make them wrong though. It makes you question yourself and them.  The biggest question is why does this bother me?  If you can reflect on that you can achieve personal growth.

The final thought I want to leave with you is how I handle my Twitter feed. I keep my followers small.  I want to interact with you and know what you think and why.  I want to see your tweets and read them.  I want to click on your links and see why you felt it was important to share that out with me.  Your part of the bargain in this Twitter relationship is to interact back with me.  If I tag you in something I want you to read it. If I ask for your help I want you to help me not just retweet it.  If I unfollow you it is because I don’t feel that you are living up to your part of the bargain.  I will click on your links, read your blogs, or listen to your podcasts because you are part of my PERSONAL Learning Network.  I would expect you to unfollow me as well if I am not upholding my part of the relationship.

Thank you to everyone who doesn’t let me speak without challenging me. Who says hey think about this. For those that care about my growth as well as their own. Thank you for helping me become better at my job and life in general.

Q1. Retweet and tag #slowchatpe something you read recently that really made you think.

Q2. What book have you read that changed you views on the world?

Q3. What podcast expanded your mind?

Q4. What band/singer makes you think when listening to their music?

Q5. How do you deal with stress?


5 thoughts on “Expand My Thinking

  1. Maria ISabel Escuti

    We can do in different language…… In spanish….
    Estamos comenzando a utilizar la tecnología en nuestras clases.
    Los niños los utilizan como medio para mejorar sus experiencias de aprendizaje.
    No nos podemos quedar atrás….


  2. Pingback: The PE Playbook – May 15 Edition | drowningintheshallow

  3. andy vasily (@andyvasily)

    Justin, just wanted to comment on this post. Firstly, I think it is great that you have taken so much initiative to share your thoughts via blogging. I also understand what you are saying in regards to wanting to be challenged. Being challenged allows us to defend our perspectives but to also continue to grow and develop as educators. As educators it is essential to continue to grow and develop otherwise we are doing a disservice to those who we service and matter the most, our students.

    I understand that you want educators within your personal learning network to respond to your posts with their own thoughts as this helps to provide critical feedback and perspective to you. Feedback and perspective always pushes us to get better at what we do.

    I’ve been an active blogger for nearly 5 years now and I cannot tell you how much effort that I have put into it. So much time, energy, and passion has gone into my blog and everything I write comes from my heart. Some times I get too emotional when I blog and I’ve learned to remove that emotion when necessary. I would be thrilled if people responded to my blog posts all the time, but the reality is that, even after blogging and sharing my posts for years, I do not get that many comments or responses at all. Although this was a bit frustrating to me when I first started blogging, I have come to know and understand that the act of blogging itself serves as a highly reflective tool to help me better understand myself as an educator. Sure, I share my teaching practice, resources, opinion, and views on my blog, BUT at the end of the day, blogging helps me to reflect deeply about who I am as a person and an educator.

    When I came to this realization, it made it much more easy to accept that people often times will not respond and comment on my work which is fine. I stopped paying attention to analytics a couple of years ago as well because this serves no purpose in making me better at what I do.

    There are hidden gems and treasures that come to me from time to time in the form of emails from different teachers around the world who write me to say that they find value in what I do. These emails are few and far between, but when I get them, they are special. I save them to always remind me that at least my work is reaching a few and making a difference to them.

    My advice is to keep blogging away sharing your views, opinions, what challenges you, what inspires you, and what drives you and in the process of doing so enjoy the journey. There is no doubt that you will continue to develop your practice. But also be very aware of what you need to do to continue to develop and deepen who you are as an educator and what is most important when it comes to the students we teach. Good luck.


  4. rusulalrubail

    I think it’s great that you are looking to expand your thinking through your PLN. It’s often hard to get out of the echo chamber mindset because one needs to recognize they’re in one to begin with. I’m curious though as to why you think it’s hard to engage with groups that push your thinking boundaries? You mentioned that about educolor, I ask because sometimes knowing what causes our discomfort is key to expanding our own thinking about ourselves.


    1. slowchatpe

      It is hard any time you go outside your comfort zone. Social media is a place where people pounce on others instead of asking questions or working to clarify the issue. It is also hard to realize that I may have short comings that need to be addressed. When you jump into chats most are echo chambers. Even #educolor which is great is made up of people with the same views. In general expanding your thinking and reflecting is not an easy task at all.



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