Boris and Education Brawling


I’m a bit busy tonight following the local elections in the UK. It looks, at this point, like Boris might squeak out a win over Red Ken.

An American without a vote in the UK can only hope.

If you’re interested in following along as these results come in, check these live-blogs out:

My Montgomery Ward TV only goes up to channel 41, and all that international stuff is super high, so I’ve got to follow the blogs. I suppose I could listen to internet radio, but Detroit/Philadelphia are playing. Priorities!

I’m also thinking about how to address this Edublogging Etiquette nonsense. It’s such a non-issue to me because none of this is unique to education blogging.

Stephen Downes left a comment that I agree with wholeheartedly – many education bloggers [and I would add especially the ed-tech crowd] need to understand the incredible diversity in the blogosphere. One compliment that I will always extend to the Downeses and Stagers and the rest with whom I frequently disagree is that they aren’t thin-skinned. They don’t take things personally, and it’s a testament to their priority being public education and/or kids.

You know, that thing we’re all supposed to be working for, regardless of how we think it’s best to get there?

The ed-tech crowd’s unyielding commitment to Google Earth Diversity – that is, cooing and fawning over a project just because other participants happen to be 5,000 miles away – isn’t as important as the genuine intellectual diversity they largely avoid.

They also need to leave their professional circles a bit more frequently. Education technology blogging is one of the most weirdly self-congratulatory, borderline-incestuous things I’ve ever seen. The “back-patting,” as Downes put it, is tiresome, cliquish and off-putting.

But the cherry on top is being labeled a brawler! I like that. Education blogging? Oh, no more of that – education brawling! The possibilities, the possibilities!

Other brawlers include Joanne Jacobs and Ken DeRosa.

I do find it a little sad, and a significant hindrance to future public education debate, that normal, reasoned, measured, accurate, substantive discussion is such a rare thing that it warrants public curiosity.

11 Responses to “Boris and Education Brawling”

  1. I find it sadly unfortunate that the thing you cherish most – that proverbial “cherry on top” – is being labeled a brawler. Intellectual diversity means nothing if you still haven’t learned to play nicely on the playground.

    I think that those that are literally able to effectuate change in public education are those that have learned that the beauty of substantive discussion never lies in the argument itself.

  2. Darren,


    Relax, relax, relax.

    I found the ‘brawling’ term a bit funny – my comments were tongue-in-cheek.

    Relax, relax, relax.

    There’s beauty in not taking things too seriously, too.

  3. Colin says:

    “Intellectual diversity means nothing if you still haven’t learned to play nicely on the playground.”

    An utter lack of intellectual diversity is necessary to miss such obvious sarcasm and hyperbole.

  4. Matthew, howdy! I left a long comment–poorly composed–on Darren’s blog entry. I’ll be briefer here.

    William Zinsser, author of “On Writing Well,” said something like this: A good writer can make a subject anyone else would find boring, interesting and worth reading.

    The practice of setting the world ablaze isn’t new. I like this quote from a controversial publication:

    “I came to bring fire to the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled!” (Luke 12:49)

    Passion. Education. Two words that seldom rest together.

    Set the world ablaze.

    Warm regards,


  5. 5tein says:

    I think I’m doomed to be the 98-lb weakling with sand in his face and suntan lotion on his specs. Mr. Downes was right: the blogosphere IS just like high school!

  6. Miguel,

    Thanks for the comment and the kind words. The funny thing about your comment is that I read your blog for similar reasons – that your topics, style, all of it is unlike mine.

    That’s what we’ve got to do if the blogosphere is really going to make a difference, and that’s the type of diversity that actually matters.

    I’ll likely address more points in your comment as this discussion evolves and it surely will given Darren’s bit on twitter that invited education bloggers to comment on this particular post of mine.

    But you said something curious. “When Matt mentions Ann Coulter as someone to admire, well, yeah.”

    I used her as an example, I didn’t say that I admired her. You could as easily substitute in my comment a leftie’s name like Markos Moulitsas as a polarizing, controversial figure within his own sphere of influence. Or, for an example closer to home, an unhinged type like Gerry Bracey, whose bizarre screeds continue to get play on education blogs.

  7. Miguel,

    Except, of course, for the parts where you suggest that I’m a charlatan, worship at the altar of Ann Coulter [cited above], and pander to an intellectually base and bloodthirsty crowd for the sake of a few RSS subscribers.

    I can’t really thank you for those.

  8. Matthew, see? Even at your most disagreeable, you’re writing is great.

    Keep it going…now, where can I re-fill this gas can?


    BTW, will your admiring fans–not including Ann–see you at NECC?


  9. Miguel,

    You may be laughing, but I’m not. At no point did I say that I admired Ann Coulter.

    As for NECC, not sure.

  10. Crickets continue to chirp, tumbleweeds roll across Main Street, etc.

    I suppose Miguel didn’t take my comment about his irresponsible characterization too seriously.

  11. Matthew, thanks for the up to date link. I missed your last comment clarifying your position with Ann Coulter, so please accept my apologies for missing it as well as misunderstanding the intent of your words.

    Warm regards,
    Miguel Guhlin


  1. Learning Is Messy - Blog » Blog Archive » Ed Tech … Is It Just Too Cool … Or Not? - [...] to share with students as far away as possible … the further the better … that makes it cooler. ...
  2. A Bit More Education Techno-Twaddle; NECC 2008 Edition at Education for the Aughts - American School Issues and Analysis - [...] in May, Miguel Guhlin asked if I was going to make it to Texas for NECC [this was when ...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>