Come and Join Us
Three years is a long time and this year #PrimaryRocks will be celebrating three years of non-stop primary focused edchat every Monday on Twitter from 8pm. What started out as a tiny edchat between a few friends has spiralled into one of the most positive, supportive inspirational chats each week that has people actually looking forward to Mondays! These are not my words but the words of the #PrimaryRocks community – have a look at the tweets above.
This is a loyal band of educators join in the chat every Monday and through the week post examples of good work and, in many ways more importantly, ask questions and help each other out. They chat and joke, tease and probe, question and challenge each other to try to develop their own pedagogy and throughout it all, even though they may not agree with everything each other says, there is an unspoken bond and element of respect for what each other is saying. This isn’t to say that there are not disagreements; there are and sometimes quite opposite views and this is very healthy.
One of the dangers of this is being too nice. In an environment where people are very polite, the hazard is that no one wants to ask the difficult question, disagree with others or play the devil’s advocate to stimulate discussion and this is where I see my role. As the facilitator of the chat, my role is to pose questions and then try to press and probe contributors to delve a little deeper than their original answer. I will purposely take a stance that is opposite a contributor so that they have to think a little deeper about what they have said. The tweets I send might not necessarily be what I believe but an alternative view that may be held by others which will challenge the thinking of people who join in the chat. I don’t do this to be a quarrelsome, little twerp who wants to argue every point, but more to make people question what they do, why they do it and more importantly, to question if there is a better way to do something.
At #PrimaryRocks LIVE, when I asked speakers to present, the only brief I gave them was to make people reflect on their current practice and to give them something that will make them either change something in their class the following Monday, or give them something to think about and that will fundamentally change the way they approach their teaching. This is no small order, but it is my one guiding light when I sit down on a Monday night with my ear phones in (to drown out the kids and the TV), with my pint of cordial and with tweetdeck open and ready to roll on #PrimaryRocks.
And the best feeling? The best feeling is that sense when 9pm come and I realise that scores of people have joined in sending hundreds and hundreds of tweets during the hour and how, although we started small, this crazy edchat that was started to support primary teachers on Twitter, is doing just that, but on an even bigger scale than I could have ever imagined. @PrimaryRocks1 now has over 10,000 followers and is growing each day. If you are reading this, the likelihood is that you are one of the wonderful educators that come along and share your good practice with others, and for that I thank you. If you have never joined in or are lurking just watching, search #PrimaryRocks on a Monday between 8-9pm and get ready to speed read if you want to keep up!
And finally, as this community grows, so does the expertise that we can call on. Search #PrimaryRocks during the week and see if you can help someone. Use #PrimaryRocks in your questions and see if anyone can help YOU. And encourage others to use it. Spread the word at your school, at teachmeets and down the pub with teacher friends!
The primary focused edchat - Mondays 8-9pm UK time