Professional growth is not only about finding like minded people. Our professional learning networks can be built in this way, adding people from similar backgrounds or roles to our Twitter network. But that might just confirm the bias we already have.
I see great value in the exposure to alternative thinking. We gain access to perspectives that differ from our own and that may be in obvious opposition. Our social learning networks provide easy access to thinking and development from beyond the domain of education. I have deliberately built connections with practitioners in a wide variety of fields not just education.
Yes, your professional learning network should help you tap into the expertise and ideas of fellow educators. But I think the real value emerges as your network matures and you build connections far beyond the walled garden of education.
These connections challenge us to think critically about our work and what we think we know. The dissonance instigated by diversity of thought and alternative viewpoints can be a springboard to empathy.
Photo by Daniel Hjalmarsson