Merely providing hiding places?

In the initial post in this series, I wondered "how easy is it to hide in classes making use of the tools of engagement and keep one's lack of interest, motivation or comprehension out of sight?" This calls into question a pattern I recognize in countless management situations, as well as in mentoring individuals who are carrying a lot of emotional baggage. Here's four hiding places can be easily recognized:

  1. Hiding behind their job description: People who cannot think outside the box, risk making a mistake or solve problems that arise -- use their duties as an excuse. Rather than reference their incompetence, they avoid a challenge by blaming their job description for negating the possibility.
  2. Making a show of commitment: People who cannot buy-in, follow through or convince others to commit, will give lip service to the rallying cry. They hide their cynicism, misgivings and lack of commitment behind a pretense of collusion.
  3. Putting busywork on display: People who cannot improve their productivity, become more efficient or find useful shortcuts will compensate by appearing very occupied. They avoid getting asked to do more in the alloted time, to take more initiative or to volunteer for added responsibilities -- by being obviously too busy already.
  4. Throwing their weight around: Weak leaders who cannot earn respect, command a genuine following or envision a beneficial advancement -- will intimidate others, demand respect and punish detractors to hide their incompetence.
If this pattern emerged in the use of Web 2.0 tools for increasing student engagement, I would expect signs to appear such as:
  • a flurry of tweets and text messages lacking substance or value to the readers
  • a bounty of blog posts that "read between the lines" as a message about "no learning happening here"
  • the launch of a wiki or open document that gets plenty of links to it but no edits, added content or revisions
  • uploads of "user generated content" that generates a chuckle, some thrills or another tweet, but no insights, realizations or deeper significance

Hmmm. Guess what pattern I'm seeing in the show of effort to increase student engagement :-)

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