Sorce: YNET (Hebrew)
In a recent online Hebrew YNET article, Tamar Trebelsi Hadad writes of the discussions held by the Psychological Counseling Service of the Israel Ministry of Education on the relationships between teachers and students on social networks such as Facebook. Alongside the pedagogic and personal benefits attainable by these interactions on social networks, most teachers are not yet aware of the problems which may arise from these ties. In order to make schools more aware of the issues involved, the Counseling Service plans to publish suggested "dos and don'ts" for use of social networks by teachers.
Teachers who allow students to "befriend" them on social networks may be allowing information, pictures and status updates of the teacher to be viewed by students. The students' information, pictures and updates will also be viewable by teachers, blurring the boundaries between the students' and teachers' private lives and school presence. While this may have its advantages it may also lead to embarrassing situations.
Some teachers have found a solution for this problem by creating a class Facebook page, which is "liked" by the students in their class. Class related information is shared without sharing the teachers' personal page information. The students interact on the class Facebook platform more readily than with other digital platforms as it is popular with them in their daily existence.
Among the suggestions to be published by the Counseling Service:
- In general it is best to open a fan or community page on Facebook not a private account, to prevent revealing the teacher's private information to members.
- Don't allow students under age 13 to be fans or friends.
- Don't share personal information, personal pictures or other things not relevant to your role as a teacher.
- Refrain from any intimate or manipulative interactions with students.
- Don't express opinions on controversial topics.
- It is suggested to refrain from friendly digital relations not related to professional issues with parents of students.
- In all communications related to school, the teacher must retain his professional identity. It is prohibited to impersonate someone else even in order to further the school's interests.
- It is recommended that teachers inform parents about any use of social networks with students.
- In any case of troublesome interactions with students or parents on social networks, the teacher should document the interaction (save "screen captures"), break off contact immediately and inform the school administration.
- Teachers should not use their personal pages with for their professional work as teachers with their students. In any case they should use discretion and care in posting information and pictures on his account.