If you are reading edutwitter, I’m sure to bet that you have seen a slow-burning debate over pencils or even this article from tolerace.org. More precisely, “Should teachers unconditionally give a student a pencil in class?” I have collected more than 100 Tweets and have curated the conversation with some amazing responses for you to enjoy.
First of all, we must reside in one of two camps, as this is an all or nothing position to take on Twitter. Either you don’t believe that you should hand out pencils as this betrays the chance for a student to learn responsibility in this micro moment or, well, you say teachers should just give students pencils. Let’s take a look.
First off, a few typical responses from those who don’t give out pencils freely, unconditionally. These folks seem to share the idea that responsibility isn’t for the teacher to participate in, rather that the duty is strictly for the student to shoulder – I’m being as generous as I can to this side.
Now, let’s check out some typical responses from those who give pencils out freely. The suggestion here is several fold but might be best summed up as an act of respect and also an incredibly easy way to stay focused on learning in the classroom. This side of the argument seems to appear on twitter 10:1 – suggesting a heavy bias to just give the kid a pencil.
Giving out pencils seems to win this argument hands down, so now let’s move onto something a little deeper. Why are we talking about giving pencils out and what are the underlying benefits we assign to this action? It appears that our entire value system can be reduced to this pencil debate and expressed as a Tweet. Here are some examples for the reasons why.
Pencils as a joke. I can’t help but smile at a few of these, even if shaming has no place. These might make for a good Tweet while a normal pencil will get the job done well, with no shame required. Context matters here so I suspect that many of these folks are believers in giving out pencils unconditionally.
This might be a great place to end, the offerings within my own class and the message I intend to send students. These three tweets might not be my favorite by themselves, but combined they do a fine job of telling my story and why I happily give out pencils from a box that students may access anytime, on their own, whenever, however and no reason needed.
Suggested further reading: Tolerance.org and “Give the Kid a Pencil”