Writing in a Voice That Speaks to the Educator
Discussing publishing with educator-author Michael Fisher
Michael Fisher is the author of multiple books, including Hacking Instructional Design, from Times 10 Publications, recently given a write-up in Education Week. In addition to writing, Mike is a veteran educator and professional development (PD) consultant. His professional experience and passion for blogging led him to develop a natural writing style that resonates with fellow educators. “Early on, I pushed back about having my own voice and not sounding like an editor came in and cleaned everything up. I wanted my speaking and writing voice to be similar because if I’m going to have to speak about it later, I don’t want it to sound like educational jargon. I wanted it to be real information that’s accessible to real teachers,” he explains.
There is a dance involved in publishing and Mike has learned to embrace the process. Revisions and editors’ notes are part of the journey from draft to final copy. Over time, a refinement in voice occurs and brings forward a more significant impact and clarified message.
The education PD industry is a huge business and educators are continually looking for scholarship that speaks to their needs. They are looking for information, guides and support that can be easily ascertained. As teachers take ownership of their training, educator-authors play an integral role in the process.
“[Teachers] want things that are rooted in reality and written by people who have been in the trenches. I still go back into the trenches. I co-teach with teachers. I love days when I get to be in a classroom with kids trying stuff out, think-tanking and playing in the sandbox.”
The problems in PD come from those developing professional training without proper knowledge of what educators are experiencing and the unique issues facing their students. According to Mike the word “training” should be avoided, “I would never in a million years sign up for something that said ‘teacher training’ nor would I ever promote myself as a teacher trainer. It’s crass to say it, but we train animals. We don’t train humans.” The most significant component of PD involves the ability to converse. “I have conversations with people about their work. I help them analyze it; I help them improve it, and I help them think about replacements,” he says. There needs to be a natural exchange of information and not the impression of “somebody who shows up, unpacks their wares, sells the snake oil and then leaves town.”
Presently, Mike is highly engaged in the developments facing Generation Alpha. He is looking for the trends and the social-emotional aspects affecting students in the classroom. Kids have more at their fingertips because of technology than any humans in the history of humanity, he says. But children are not doing well in connecting to people in the 3D. Mike explains, “We’re navigating in a new social-emotional territory to make sure that we’re also raising great global citizens. It’s a new space. As a parent, I’m concerned. As an educator, I’m concerned. And, as a writer, I’m intrigued. That’s where the juice is laying right now.”
Michael Fisher’s Hacking Instructional Design is available from Times 10 Publishing, where educators can find a wide variety of professional development books addressing the most important topics affecting their practice.
About Michael Fisher
Michael Fisher is an author, instructional coach, and educational consultant specializing in the intersection between instructional technology and curriculum design. help teachers and schools maximize available technology, software, and web-based resources while attending to curriculum design, instructional practices, and assessments. Hacking Instructional Design is his second book in the Hack Learning Series, following 2016’s Hacking the Common Core. You can follow Michael Fisher on Twitter and on his website