Should Teachers friend Students on Facebook? Tech Task #2

Should Teachers friend Students on Facebook? This is a question that is very controversial in schools today. We live in a very technological age that brings new ways to connect with everyone. Facebook is one of those social networking sites that help keep people connected. With that comes the controversy whether students and teachers should be connecting on this social network site. The debate is quite extensive and everyone has many different opinions on this very topic. Some have strong opinions that it is a great website where students and teachers can have a great professional relationship and would be a great tool to bring within the schools. On the contrary, there are many that have a strong opinion against it.

One Side of the Argument…

There are quite a few teachers and students that think it is fine with befriending each other on Facebook. Many believe that Facebook is a great piece of technology that they could be using in the classroom to stay connected as a class and show how to use it properly. One teacher, Katie believes she can use Facebook to stay connected as a class by befriending the whole class and posting pictures of field trips. She believes all the technology we have today like Facebook, Flickr, ipods and blogs can be used for educational purposes. Another teacher, Guilmart, is a high school teacher who created her own facebook page that she says she keeps PG and professional so she can connect with former students. She loves to hear from her former students to see how they are and her students have always ‘friended’ her to give thank you messages for preparing them for university or to ask them for advice. Many students say that they like to friend their former teachers for support and the hopes that they can build a relationship or for that teacher to be a mentor for them. There was also the opinion that teachers could have a professional Facebook page and a personal Facebook page and only friend them to the professional page so the relationship stays professional even when still on Facebook. The main opinion that was made to this question is that it is only okay when the student is a former student and they are an adult themselves. That is the only way that this situation can be appropriate.

The Other Side of the Argument…

The main opinions of this question is that students and teachers can not be friends on Facebook. There is a difference between teacher/student relationships and being ‘friends’ on Facebook. There is a fine line between ‘teacher’ and ‘friend’ and that line should never be crossed. Teachers would never be friends outside of school with their students and being friends on Facebook would be the same as socializing out of school is another opinion that came to light. Many parents are against Teachers being friends with their students on Facebook as it is too informal and inappropriate. Some School districts have gone as far as banning teachers from becoming friends with their students. Many teachers are against being friends with students on Facebook as they do not want their students knowing every detail of their lives. Many do not want to be responsible for what their students post on their Walls and to be involved in all of the gossip that their students are doing on their Facebook pages. As well, teachers do not want their students involved in the conversations that they have on their pages. Teachers have to keep their personal lives separate from their professional lives and being friends with students on Facebook bring those two lives together.

My Side of the Argument…

My opinion is split between both arguments. I believe that Facebook could be used for educational purposes, but where my personal page does not end up in the classroom. I definitely have some pictures and details of my life that I would rather not share with my students. A professional page would have to be made that I could include in the class for school purposes only. Also, I think you could be friends with former students or former teachers as long as it stays on that professional level. The only way this would be able to happen is when the students are adults themselves and can have and keep that semi-professional relationship. I do not think that teachers should be friends with current students as that could create some awkward moments with your students and one wrong post could turn into the worst for your career and reputation. Teachers should be friends with their own friends and students should be friends with other students not their teacher.

Conclusion…

There is no right or wrong answer to this question. Everyone has their opinion and has voiced them clearly, but it is up to those teachers what they want to do and what their comfort level is with having students as friends on Facebook. Teachers know they have to keep that professionalism with their students and depending what is on their pages determines whether they want their students apart of their personal lives.

CBC radio debate

 


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One response to “Should Teachers friend Students on Facebook? Tech Task #2

  1. Pingback: Facebook « Dallas Folk

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