Leaders of thought

or should that be Leader of Thoughts?

One of the powerful things about blogging is the ability to be inspired by reaction to a blog post that gets you thinking deeper.  Saturday’s post about clichés was one of those.

It was Mike Zemansky’s comment about Thought Leaders that started it for me.

Well, often (but not alwyas) in CS Ed, “Thought Leader” means that you’ve been anointed as an authority although you have little or no teaching experience and little or no CS experience.

It led back to an old blog post of his that is well worth the read.  Teachers, Rockstars, and the Godfather.  In the post, Mike makes a distinction between what he calls the Bluesman and the Rockstar.  It’s something that I think that teachers who pay attention to labels should take to heart.  My thinking was extended by the comments that friends Aviva Dunsiger and Lisa Noble added.  Lisa was good enough to quote herself using the term “Rockstar”.

And you know what?

Lisa’s comment made me think and perhaps even ultimately temper my thoughts about the Rockstar and Thought Leader because in my mind, they are close to being similar.

What brought on the change?

A quick search reveals just what they are and even how to become one.  Here’s a decent definition.

I think it’s all in the approach.

We truly live in a day and time of self-promotion.  I think there’s a big distinction in the use of the word.

  • It carries value when someone is called a “Thought Leader” or a “Rockstar” by someone else who respects their efforts and is impressed enough to use the term
  • It has less or no value when someone calls themselves a “Thought Leader” or “Rockstar”.  Who would do that?  Oh, spend a few minutes looking at biographies or profiles.  You’ll see plenty

The latter is often there to promote themselves to sell something.  True to Mike’s description, I’m reminded of the definition of “expert” that I heard once.

An expert is a person who knows more and more about everything until they know absolutely nothing about anything

Make that your ear worm today when you see some of the stuff that’s so easy to find.

And, in the big scheme of things, feel proud that you may well be that Bluesman that makes it all happen.

 

Author: dougpete

The content of this blog is generated by whatever strikes my fancy at any given point. It might be computers, weather, political, or something else in nature. I experiment and comment a lot on things so don't take anything here too seriously; I might change my mind a day later but what you read is my thought and opinion at the time I wrote it! My personal website is at: http://www.dougpeterson.ca Follow me on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/dougpete I'm bookmarking things at: http://www.diigo.com/user/dougpete

3 thoughts on “Leaders of thought”

  1. Love the post. It made me think about what my role is. Probably a lot more Bluesman than thought leader I guess. But really I started to think that is just important to do what I can do and let other people think about labels. I’m just a teacher with opinions and a blog. That’s good enough for me I think.

  2. I like this whole line of thought. And I think Alfred’s kind of nailed it in his response. I am many things, but I am decidedly a teacher (yes, one with opinions and a blog). Moving out of the musical metaphors, I kind of like the term journeyman (though I don’t know if there’s a gender neutral version), because it conveys ongoing learning while you are practicing your craft, and that’s definitely me.

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