Tweeching

It turns out that teaching really does take over your life. As if we didn’t know that already. Hence failing to keep my blog up to date. Quarter-new-year resolution is to update the blog regularly again. Having taught on the Key Texts module in Theology and Religious Studies at Leeds University this year, and now I have an A level class again, I am continually amazed by how much I continue to learn through discussion with students and through thinking through issues with people whose ideas are still fresh and whose minds are ever inquisitive. Best of all, has been the overlap I’ve had between university and school life, which has allowed my A level students an opportunity to have a tailor-made taster day in TRS at Leeds, and gave them the chance to meet and chat to ‘my’ level 1 students.

As I’m here, and it’s today, I thought I should share some recent developments in my teaching world. That is, twitter! For all its positives and negatives (this takes me back to my seminars on theology and popular culture – where we discussed the fact that it is not the medium itself at fault generally but the people that use it). Let’s start with the negatives so we can finish on a positive note… Being an RE department, sharing Pope Francis’ tweets would seem a fairly reasonable idea. Be warned! He receives an incredible amount of vile abuse in response to his tweets. The reporting of abuse on twitter is also quite complex (well, not so much complex as time-consuming and not really helpful, so I tried and gave up). So we can’t retweet the Pope, as it brings up a stream of insults you would blush to read! On the positive side… It is an excellent tool for quick bites of ‘twevision’ (or revision). Sharing #BQs (or Bible Quotes) #KeyThinkers and so on. It is also good for sharing what is going on of relevance in the wider world that links to the curriculum. I used it today at a sixth form theology conference to tweet key points or questions, so there is some record of what happened in each lecture that students can refer back to or engage with. Of course, it is in its initial stages, and has only a small number of followers. There are always going to be students who don’t have twitter (a surprisingly large amount) and then those who wouldn’t follow a school page for all the bribery in the world. But if it helps a small number of committed students get better grades, makes the department more accessible, and brings learning in theology and religious studies outside of the classroom, surely it has to be worth it.

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