The difficulties of blogging on education


There is a big drive right now towards improving the RSA’s presence in the blogosphere – RSA Projects teams are being encouraged – and supported – to blog on their various areas of expertise. Arts and Ecology have an excellent and busy blog, Design and Society, Design and Behaviour, Prisons and the Social Brain are new and a fascinating insight into the diversity of the projects (and people!) here at the RSA.

We the Education Team have been blogging for some time now, with varying degrees of success and frequency. However, I’ve been finding it difficult and our blog account is full of my abandoned, half written blogs. Why?

It’s partly because I find it difficult to stick to writing short posts on a single idea and always tend to get distracted and go off on tangents. Like this one.

But it’s also because education feels like a particularly contested field – both ideologically and personally – where the stakes are high. All that makes it difficult to write about without being controversial.

We’re told that this is OK – that we are blogging as individuals and that the blog is the place for our opinions, thoughts and provocations, rather than meticulously thought out pieces of writing. We have organisational go ahead to say what we think without worrying too much.

However, we also have a responsibility to the reputation of the projects that we run, the partners we work with, and – most importantly – to the schools we work with, their learners and their teachers, whose lives and careers are subject to plenty of scrutiny and critique as it is.

So, can we embrace the open, collaborative, opinion driven climate of the blogosphere without courting damaging controversy? If not then our account is going to remain full of half written pieces that I found the inspiration to draft, but not the courage to post.

But we will try, and all we ask is that those who read these posts take them in a generous, thoughtful spirit and then comment to tell us why we’re wrong 😉

– Louise Thomas


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7 responses to “The difficulties of blogging on education

  1. Ian

    Hi Will,

    We did have a weblog blogroll and took it off only because there was a technical hitch.

    It will be back soon!

    Edit: – And it’s there now. We’ll keep adding to it!

  2. What’s the problem about controversy and why is it ‘damaging’?

  3. Ian

    Thanks for the comment. I can’t speak for Louise on this, Cary, but, as the other person that blogs here I have a concern principally for the schools using Opening Minds.

    For me, damaging controversy is that which would somehow reflect badly on the great work of those schools. And of course the reputation of the RSA isn’t something we want to hurt either.

    Given how prone education debates seem to be towards setting up straw men and false dichotomies, it does give us pause sometimes…

  4. Louise Thomas

    Yes – it’s about protecting schools and teachers who are trying to do what’s best for their learners from the often vitriolic conversation had on around education on the web and in the press. The last few months have seen the names of some schools and heads dragged through the press and the RSA has received some fairly aggressive requests for information on individual schools.

    Debate and discussion – including controversy – is very welcome, but we’d hate to expose those we work with to even more damaging press scrutiny!

  5. Your web page doesn’t correctly work in safari browser

    • louisethomasrsa

      Thanks for the heads up – I don’t think there is much we can do about it as it is in WordPress but we’ll look into it!

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