Sunday, July 31, 2016

Anonymity and Professionalism: Teacher Voice in a Time of High Anxiety | the becoming radical

Anonymity and Professionalism: Teacher Voice in a Time of High Anxiety | the becoming radical:

Anonymity and Professionalism: Teacher Voice in a Time of High Anxiety


Briefly on the National Council of Teachers of English‘s Connected Community, members could post on forums anonymously, spurring a few discussions and debates about anonymity and professionalism (as well as attribution of ideas and accountability during a thread about plagiarism).
When I first moved to higher education, my current university had an online platform that included a discussion feature, one that also allowed students (or anyone in the university community) to post anonymously with screen names.
One particular group of students connected with a powerful and controversial (also highly politicized and well funded from outside sources) student organization often posted anonymously and tended toward personal attacks of university professors—xenophobic and homophobic slurs included.
Several professors also participated in these online debates, but with their names openly displayed.
This situation was a subset of a larger campus tension between very conservative students and a much more moderate faculty. Ultimately, that forum was closed and never resurrected; however, a key element of the situation was the debate over whether or not anonymous posting was appropriate—notably in the context of an institution of higher learning.
Then and during the recent NCTE Connected Community discussion, I have always maintained that a key element of professionalism is the relationship between a professional’s name and her/his stances, claims.
In my professional scholarship and my public work, my name and even access to my email are prominent always.
As a writer and career educator, I see my scholarship and public work as extensions of teaching—and believe all teachers must be authoritative, earning the trust of those they serve as teachers. The who and whatof teaching and making claims, for me, is inextricable.
However, there is a long and powerful history of pen names/pseudonyms in traditional writing as well as the more recent world of blogging.
Anonymous voices have risen out of oppression in the name of overcoming that oppression—racism, sexism, homophobia, classism, etc.
So if we return to the anonymous posting on NCTE’s Connected Community and place that in the context Anonymity and Professionalism: Teacher Voice in a Time of High Anxiety | the becoming radical:

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