With the ever increasing shift to the use of technology to address communication, traditional methods of communication is slowly slipping into the annuals of history. The most obvious casualty is the local mailman. Can I ask you...when last have you received a personal letter from a friend? How many of your monthly bills do you still receive via the mailman? In fact, have you noticed that many of the mailmen are not even recognizable as such. They no longer wear distinctive uniform as in days gone bye and their bicycles are even different. When I do see a mailman in our area at our mailbox, I often wonder if he is scratching for mail or delivering mail.
And the traditional mail rounds appear to be less frequent than in our not too distant past. And if not there yet, I suspect it won't be long before hand-delivered mail disappears completely. You don't think so? Let me ask you another question...what happened to telegrams?
Many of us now have our in-boxes of our mail applications on our computers as our primary delivery point for all our correspondence. It is efficient and paperless. And within minutes, you can archive it in specified folders. But like our old mailboxes at home, we are prone to all kinds of e-correspondence. You are bound to receive chain-letters, company adverts, invitations, spam and if you lucky, a notice that you won the Thai lottery even though you never knew you entered!
In a nutshell, your inbox is a repository for all kinds of communication. And you have to pay attention, clean out the junk and respond to the important notices.
Now let me ask you a further question. As an educator, what are you placing in our learners' in-boxes each day, each period? Are you just giving them spam because you are ill-prepared for your lessons or do they have engaging material in their inboxes? Does this material help to shape their futures or curtail them? Do you inbox them with resources that build their skill sets or with irrelevant, archaic thinking? Do you inbox them in a way that recognizes their strengths or do you inbox them with chain-letters, i.e one-size-fits-all activity.
What about our school managers. What are you in-boxing our teachers? Do you stretch them or do you simply manage maintenance issues? Do you encourage discussions, new ways of work and doing more for children? Or do you send communication that show how stale you are as a leader? And so depress your staff looking to be energized by you.
And what about our education officials. When you engage our schools, what are you in-boxing them? Do you run a command-and-control ritual or do you come alongside schools and help them improve? Do you encourage independence and interdependence or are your messages creating dependence? Are you liberating our institutions of learning or depriving them of oxygen?
The challenge to all of us supporting learners in their endeavors to realize their potential, is to send out signals that get them to achieve, that stimulates them to act decisively, that builds them into young adults that embrace the future with confidence. And this ultimately depends on our messages we send out to them. I ask you again, what are you in-boxing our children?