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. . . . . . . . . . .Richard Posner should be awarded the next Nobel Prize in Economics . . . . . . . . . . . .

Friday, March 11, 2005

And Don't Talk to Your Students, Either

That seems to be the logical implication of this warning from teachers' unions in Ontario:

Ontario elementary students who e-mail with their instructors could find their messages ignored: The provincial teachers’ union has urged members to stop communicating electronically with their charges.

‘‘There is an emerging and alarming relationship between allegations of sexual misconduct and the use of e-mails and text messaging,’’ says the Elementary Teachers Federation of Ontario advisory, issued last month.

‘‘In a brief period of time following the initiation of this type of communication with students [sometimes days or even hours] members can begin to use inappropriate language and inappropriately share and receive personal information.’’

[from p.7 of the March 8th National Post, subscription required; thanks to Jack for the story] That advice is absurd. The same caution should also, then, be applied to talking to students, especially after classes. Instead of cautioning teachers not to use e-mail, the union could be reminding teachers of the inappropriateness of some types of behaviour and some topics for conversation with students. But this blanket condemnation of e-mail is ridiculous. And leave it to an education professor to support their stupidity:

And educator authorities like Allen Pearson, dean of the University of Western Ontario’s faculty of education, gives his students the same advice.

Don’t e-mail pupils, union warns teachers. “It invites teachers to be informal with students,” he says. “And that can be manipulated and used against them.”

disclaimer: I work from home much of the time but encourage my students to keep in touch with me via e-mail.
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