Should teachers and students be ‘friends’ on social media
A wide choice of social networks, presented in the modern information field of the Internet, allows you to realize yourself in different qualities and from different positions to almost every user. The virtual world is attractive for teenagers, for young people, and for the majority of the adult population. The widespread of social networks among teachers do not leave the possibility for teachers to ignore them.
The practical benefit of the presence of a teacher in a social media is the following: among the students, there are those who for whatever reasons hesitate to ask questions in the lesson. Sometimes this happens due to shyness because the student embarrassed to voice some questions publicly. The next reason is that some students need more time to learn the material, and questions about the topic arise after their lessons. And, if the student may be afraid of distracting the teacher with a phone call, then the text message on the Internet looks less intrusive. The teacher can answer this message at a convenient time. Practical experience of using this technique showed that students more often go to contact the teacher on the Internet (in particular, by Facebook), better cope with their homework, which has a beneficial effect on academic performance. A social network is convenient not only for the student but also for the teacher. Creation of collective chats allows to optimize extra-hour work with pupils, prepare them for competitions, carry out practical preparation for the exam in the form of testing, and also transfer necessary for preparation information, as the social network is not only a communicative platform but also a file exchanger.
The first of the negative sides of the communication through the social media is a possibility of sexual harassment. August 28, 2011, in Missouri, comes into effect a law known as the Amy Hestir Student Protection Act, which prohibits teachers from communicating with students in social networks, and add them to friends until they reach adulthood. Its adoption was conditioned by the desire of legislators to protect children from possible abuses on the part of teachers, including sexual harassment. Such restrictions were the result of a publicized investigation, which revealed that 87 state teachers had lost their teaching license because of allegations of sexual harassment in correspondence with students in social media. After the entry into force of the amendment, teachers will only have the right to create groups or communities for disseminating homework assignments or educational materials through social networks.
The second highly important reason is the capability of the students or teachers to use nonethical statements or swearwords by students on the teacher’s page in social networks. As a result, in the UK, the National Union of Teachers recommends not adding their students “to friends” for entirely different reasons. As reported by The Daily Mail, this warning should draw the attention of teachers to the danger of being humiliated by their students in social media.
The other reasons include that social media takes away the teacher’s personal time after the end of the day. The probability of using written statements that are taken from the general context in order to the detriment of the teacher.
You should think about what kind of image will be formed by the teacher in the social media. It is necessary to refrain from placing on the page any content that somehow diminishes the authority of the teacher. The page on the Internet is a kind of continuation of the image created by the teacher in an educational institution. It is important to remember that the teacher does not have the right to criticize the content of the student’s page. Despite the fact that communication takes place between the teacher and students in the sphere of the educational process, the page in the social network is part of a person’s life, the intrusion into which is prohibited.
Everyone must decide this for himself. And only himself. You can not force a person to add someone to the ‘friends’ if he or she does not want to. Here we should rely on common sense and a sense of responsibility for each of us. If parents trust teachers of their children, then why not trust them here?