The NSW DET Code of Conduct was updated and took effect last week. The changes are sensible and staff at school have been briefed.
The major additions relate to social media and are not draconian like those announced in Queensland last year that Kelli wrote about with such eloquence and passion. There was also an ethics poster added to outline the philosophical underpinnings of the code.
The basic message re: social networks is do “not invite students into your personal network site, if it contains personal information or inappropriate comments or images”.
My personal system is that I do not add students to my Facebook while they are students. I usually see the kid at school who ‘added’ me and explain my personal policy. I have quite a few ex-students though, which is great!
Thoughts about the ‘code’?
What’s your policy?
I think its sensible. I think the mantra – Firm, Fair and Friendly works will, be that with anyone you encounter online. Never reply to an email that gets your heckles up for at least 24 hours. I find often that people ‘blast’ and email and often within hours, another one comes with aloe vera on it.
We should of course not assume that teachers know what a social network is – to most its just webpages. I indicates that they regime may be increasingly accepting that their world is permeable. Good news and money well spent. Nothing happens unless the fear and denial are tackled head on. Positive I think
Yes. The idealism generally in the document is great. There is a general acknowledgement of how complex working in our field can be and support from our employer. The DGs video support material is good too.
I have the same policy even though my own school has strongly recommended (read – mandated) no personal membership in any social networks due to the possibility of ‘grooming behaviour’. I too think this is draconian and feel a more logical medium is of prudent acceptance of students who have graduated. Their added maturity also gives themm a sense of appreciation of you as a person and not just the ‘cool teacher’.
Compared to the previous Code of Conduct, I like this one’s layout, simplicity, comprehensive range of issues addressed and the linkages to ethics.
In terms of the social networking components of the Code – I think they are fairly and reasonably defined.
I have constantly advised staff at school not to have current students on their social networking sites.
Even if teachers have totally inane content on their pages – it gives me grey hairs worrying about what staff might see on students pages that would leave them in a dilemma as to whether they need to make mandatory notifications etc… Given many young people’s liking for taking semi-naked, one handed, digital camera pics of themselves in various poses around their bedrooms – who wants to see that??? Also what about pics or comments about underage drinking etc…??? What about raging fights between students – a teacher who sees all of this in cyberspace is then negligent in their duties if they do not address these issues. If a teacher is aware of a pending fight via myspace or facebook – should they be held accountable if they do nothing about it (as it was on the ‘net and not at school) and a fight erupts at school and a student gets injured?
Hence, advice is sensible for staff not to engage in social networking with current students.
I do like how the Code leaves it possible for these sites to possibly still be used – by not banning them – as I think there is a case to be made for a teacher to set up a twitter account or wikki or blog and encourage online interaction from students, where part of the lesson is how to conduct oneself in an appropriate manner on social networking sites for the relevant audience.
Yes, I agree Deanna, the Code has left it open for teachers to explore web 2.0 sites in an appropriate way.
I also, at our briefing, related the challenge of seeing comments at students’ pages which lead to complex duty of care issues.
7 million Australians on Facebook but considerable less than a 1/3 of the staff though, so for most it is a moot point. I guess that will change shortly though.
My youngest Facebook friend is 10 and my oldest is 70. It is a community I take on its merits. I am very careful about who I add but once they are part of my community I feel a sense of care and commitment towards them.
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