Seeking the Contrary View
Over at The Tempered Radical blog by Bill Ferriter, I came across this recent post that summarizes some information about the current state of blogging. Bill offers reasons for education bloggers to believe that they can have an impact and influence on the debates and policies affecting our profession, and also has advice about how bloggers can improve their reach.
Bill has always been quite overtly and consciously using his blog for his own reflections, but he has attracted many readers and a fair amount of attention, just by being himself. And it’s important to note that he has attracted readers who disagree with him. That’s what I’m thinking about tonight.
I suppose it’s natural to gravitate towards people we like, people we agree with and admire. I’ve benefitted greatly from the ability to network online with some great leaders, thinkers, and writers in education. Professors, journalists, bloggers, teachers, activists, and many others have contributed to my ongoing education, and have validated much of my own thinking and writing on education. My colleagues in the Teacher Leaders Network provided much of the same support and learning before I started blogging and Twittering.
But I want to be more like Bill – I want some disagreement. There is value in sharing information with like-minded readers, but it would also be beneficial to reach some readers who disagree, and who will tell me why. I’m worried about “confirmation bias” – the tendency to see things that confirm what you already believe while ignoring evidence to the contrary. I love having positive and supportive comments on my blog, but I think I need more skeptics and naysayers, honest (but friendly) disagreement. So, I’m looking for some help from anyone who cares to add a comment below.
In addition to Bill’s blog, there are about a dozen that I read quite regularly, but none of those blogs are written by people I consistently disagree with. I do read blogs and articles that challenge my viewpoint, but I tend to come to them by referrals from people whose point of view I already know. For example, I might read a blog or article where someone defends value-added measurement, but I usually find it linked in a blog written by someone I tend to agree with, or tweeted with a negative comment that colors my viewpoint going in.
Here are a few blogs I visit occasionally just to read viewpoints I might disagree with. Sometimes the views are quite divergent from mine, and sometimes the difference is more in tenor or degree.
Flypaper – Fordham Institute
Straight Up – Rick Hess
And so, I leave you with a simple request: tell me if you disagree with me, or tell me where you go for intelligent and thought-provoking reading that challenges your thinking.