Nurturing Fathers Blog

Recent Blog Posts

  • Research paper The following research paper looks at Fathering and Fatherhood as portrayed in Children's Picture Books.  Please read and share as you can we others.  Attached to the end off ...
    Posted Jun 13, 2017, 8:55 AM by Wales brown
  • Fathering & Fatherhood in Children's Picture Books I am pleased to present the result of a new and ongoing project.  As part of a Building Communities in Times of Tension Residency, I completed a project of looking ...
    Posted Jun 13, 2017, 8:50 AM by Wales brown
  • Nurturing Fathers Program Mind Map using Mindmeister
    Posted Nov 20, 2016, 6:15 PM by Wales brown
  • How can Social Media and Facebook be Used in the Nurturing Fathers Class The Nurturing Fathers Program is a learning environment that uses in person meetings as a primary way of teaching skills that relate to class goals.  In terms of learning, participants ...
    Posted Nov 12, 2016, 9:57 AM by Wales brown
  • Using Video in the Nurturing Fathers Program I really enjoyed making the video for my Fathers Group discussing ways to use social media and thoughts behind how I’m trying to conceptualize the class using “Frames”.  I ...
    Posted Nov 1, 2016, 6:57 PM by Wales brown
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Research paper

posted Jun 13, 2017, 8:55 AM by Wales brown

The following research paper looks at Fathering and Fatherhood as portrayed in Children's Picture Books.  Please read and share as you can we others.  Attached to the end off the Research Paper is a Master Bibliography I developed to guide my research project and annotation of 50 books selected across the genres I identified. 

Fathering & Fatherhood in Children's Picture Books

posted Jun 13, 2017, 8:50 AM by Wales brown

I am pleased to present the result of a new and ongoing project.  As part of a Building Communities in Times of Tension Residency, I completed a project of looking at fathers and fathering as portrayed in Children's Picture Books.  The project was exciting and a lot was learned.  I am looking at ways of sharing this during Father's Day and beyond.  My thanks to many of the great writers and illustrators that provided some great stories for young readers.  My hope and goal is to improve readership with parents and young children tot close the "30 Million Word Gap". 

Nurturing Fathers Program Mind Map using Mindmeister

posted Nov 20, 2016, 6:15 PM by Wales brown   [ updated Nov 20, 2016, 6:15 PM ]

How can Social Media and Facebook be Used in the Nurturing Fathers Class

posted Nov 12, 2016, 9:57 AM by Wales brown

The Nurturing Fathers Program is a learning environment that uses in person meetings as a primary way of teaching skills that relate to class goals.  In terms of learning, participants compose a very diverse group of people with varying literacies.  In terms of using Facebook as a social media tool for learning, there will be limitations for some and gains for others. 
In terms of literacy, Wikipedia states that modern meanings of literacy have built on traditional definitions of reading, writing and use of arithmetic to now include “skills to access knowledge through technology and ability to assess complex contexts”.  For some of the men that participate in the classes, there are obstacles that prevent them from using technology.  For a few, the obstacles are rooted in limited cognitive ability, and for others a fear of how using technology can be used against them.  They sometimes prefer to not be engaged using social media to protect their digital footprint. 

So Facebook will be limited in it’s ability to be used as a secondary application in the social media approach with my learners for in class learning.  In my experience, social media (Facebook, Twitter & Instagram) are used on the backbone of a blog to further the messages in the blog, so it is a secondary resource. Therefore, Facebook is not going to be a primary tool with my learners.  It can be a very valuable resource for the community, people referring them and for learners to explore what they might be able to gain from participating in a class.

It can be an effective tool with the Systems (Family Court, Attorneys, other Providers & Department of Social Services) that may be referring participants.  Facebook can effectively: inform about group processes, procedures and satisfaction feedback based on “likes” and “reactions”.  Facebook can also provide some opportunities for those “shopping” for a service, to better understand some of the methods used for teaching.


Group Community Work in Facebook

Facebook provides creative opportunities for dads in the Nurturing Fathers Program to be able to connect with each outside of class.  In fact, one commonly offered piece of feedback at the conclusion of the class is the value that dads feel in gaining connection and reducing feelings of isolation.  In my early work in looking at trying to maintain connection, I have established “closed groups” in Facebook for participants of each class to communicate with each other.   For those that do use Facebook this group is entirely voluntary and offered as a way to develop relationships with each other.  The “closed group” (each labeled by the class timeline) is a place to not only continue relationships made, but also offers a way for fathers (based on the timeline and postings) to perhaps even meet other fathers or professionals that they’d like to connect with. 

Maintaining Presence

         From the beginning of design with this group process, I determined that I would not be teaching this class alone and would be using a co-facilitator.  I have also made an intentional plan to make sure that the co-leaders that teach with me represent the diversity of fatherhood.  I am sharing administrative authority with my co-leaders and we will be able to post and make changes together instead of one person (me) being responsible.  I am planning for this collaborative effort to reflect the value and importance of everyone having space to make connections and support fathers. 

As group leaders, we will also be a part of the “closed groups” and will be able to add support, reflect on things we’ve discussed in class and ways to use skills learned to add to fathers feelings of being successful.  It will probably be most meaningful is a place to provide encouragement.


Plan for Outward-facing Presence

          In terms of various social media platforms, any plan for outward-facing presence will include weekly monitoring for new and innovative ways that fatherhood is being discussed, researched and developed.  For the website ( it will be important to show links to other webpages and blogs to maximize publicity.  It will also be important to up to date and current pictures, videos and activities associated with the Nurturing Fathers Program. 

For the platform Tumblr, myself and co-leaders can upload current work and gain other followers they may not be following us on Facebook.  We can showcase various projects we are working on.  For example, this year we worked throughout the year to showcase an important documentary film Daddy Don’t Go (Director, Emily Abt, 20014) and have a Co-Director participate in dialogue afterward at a popular community theater.  The intention was to build a collective of people from across the community to learn more about fatherhood, obstacles and work being done and bring together fatherhood programs.  A Tumblr blog is less static and easier to update than a website portfolio.

For Facebook, we can also upload the latest work we are doing as well as provide links to other work going on to provide as much information as possible about responding to questions, concerns and needs in regard to fatherhood.  Facebook will provide a much more diverse and subjective experience, as opposed to just being links to research and will link others to people with similar interests and concerns. 

The Future

         As has been seen over the last 15 years, platforms for learning, sharing and expression, particularly regarding social media, continue to evolve and change over time.  I see my biggest responsibility in using social media as trying to remain current and practice using so that I am using the various different ways that people learn and gain information as well as share their own experience. 

I will need to continue to look at ways that I can take time to use to involve myself in the learning process, continue to participate and practice and to look at new and emerging practices.  Perhaps looking at adding in purposeful learning in regard to social media on a routine basis throughout the year will provide me with ways to continue to learn and develop and grow within current and emerging media platforms to sharing and teaching. 

Using Video in the Nurturing Fathers Program

posted Nov 1, 2016, 6:57 PM by Wales brown

I really enjoyed making the video for my Fathers Group discussing ways to use social media and thoughts behind how I’m trying to conceptualize the class using “Frames”.  I also enjoyed using some new tools like Pow Toons and screencast-o-matic.  I was very apprehensive about the assignment and had so much I wanted to do and found it important for me to really try to think about small steps.  I am very excited because I feel like I’ve learned another tool for meeting different literacies.  I also learned from others about how to pace myself a little more and use screencast-o-matic for things like doing orientations to web sites which I will be doing for my participants.

            I am going to try to keep my videos short (no more than five minutes) and will need to look at continuing to update and make current some videos I’m sure.  I am however looking at how I can use video to do some tasks that will always stay the same, such as using cartoon videos to present the learning goals for each class.  I think keeping the videos short and targeted at one or two points will make them more memorable and palatable.

            The class I am looking at developing video to use with is an in person class.  I will only be using video to build on the in-class discussions.  I am thinking about ways to use video however in doing peer supervision with my co-leader.  I reviewed a really informative and motivating paper that describes ways to use peer review to get feedback and develop teaching that is not so much based on being critical but rather on reflection between group leaders/facilitators of active group discussion and problem solving (Collins, Cook-Cottone, Robinson  Sullivan, 2004).

            In terms of using video to to be used by different learners with various different learning styles I believe it will be important to make sure that I am: using different approaches, keeping videos short, using video that encourages thinking not just telling or teaching and is engaging in some sort of kinetic way.  I want viewers of video that I produce to feel inspired to attempt new activities, discuss ideas and be motivated and not just have them watch a video passively.  I also want to leave them with things to reflect on and respond to, particularly in regard to auditory learners.  

Collins, J., Cook-Cottone, C., Robinson, J., & Sullivan, R. (2004-2005).  Technology and New Directions in Professional Development: Applications of Digital Video, Peer Review, and Self-Reflection.  State University of New York at Buffalo.  Journal Educational Technology Systems, Vol. 33 (2) 131-146.

Where to Go for Now After Beginning the Website

posted Oct 16, 2016, 8:26 PM by Wales brown



The Nurturing Fathers program (NFP) class that I am facilitating is a community service project and is not connected with my employment.  Throughout my work in the NFP classes, I am guided by ethical principles I have committed to as a National Council on Family Relations (NCFR) Certified Family Life Educator (CFLE).   

In regard to Relationships with Parents and Families (section 1) I am: respecting parents and family members developmental level and circumstances, challenging parents to continue and grow and learn about their child’s development, communicate openly and truthfully about the service provided, support diverse family values, am proactive in stating child guidance principles and discipline guidelines encouraging non-violent child rearing practices, to name a few.  In regard to Relationships with Colleagues and the Profession, in am: valuing diversity in staff, providing staff with policies and support systems for addressing difficult situations, defining our role as parent and family life educators and supporting the ongoing knowledge base that guides us.  In regard to Relationships with Community/Society, I am: providing knowledge about community resources and making referrals, communicate clearly and cooperate with agencies to meet family needs and advocate for laws and policies that reflect our changing knowledge base and the best interests of parents. 

My introductory approach in the development of the Nurturing Fathers website should clearly show through documentation of related articles and some of the resources used, how I am meeting some of the above mentioned NCFR CFLE principles that guide my practice in the NFP.  I will be away for the first week of November at the annual NCFR Conference and will continue to be challenged in my thinking and program development.  I look forward to returning with a renewed sense of what I am doing.  I look forward to the continuing learning opportunities to see what my colleagues across the country are doing and will be attending several “fathering” sessions.  For me, development of this website is an opportunity to present fathers with all of the information they need to know what they are getting involved in aside from the intake session.


What I’d Like to Bring to My Work

         I am looking forward to building on this website, and some of my other early technology learning, to diversify the ways that dad’s learn in the NFP class.  I realize I am working with a diverse group of fathers.  I began a podcast series in July called the Fatherhood Community Chat (FCC). In this approach to learning, I am looking for another way t communicate with dad’s replacing the written word with speaking and other various ways of understanding.  I am aware that I need to be cognizant of the benefits of visual storybooks to communicate messages and will be working hard in the future to develop more story books to address learning in the program. 

I’d like to invite and facilitate a way for many dad’s to be able to communicate and learn using various literacies (i.e. pictures, music, interactive work).  I have recently learned about the use of virtual worlds and how this can involve fathers in learning.  I am contemplating what kind of “island” I could create to help dads learn various components of what what is being learned in the NFP.  Currently the class is taught primarily through discussion, reflection in the workbook and group activities.  I’d like to see dad’s having more options for being able to learn some of the core skills being reviewed using a variety of literacies to help teach. 


Challenges that Lay Ahead

One obstacle that will have to be overcome is access to technology.  I am glad that many dads’ have “smart phones” and can meet some technology obstacles through the use of smart phones.  I will continue to think about how the technology I use can also be used through smartphones.  I really need to become more knowledgeable about the use of images and how they can be used to further the learning in the class.  For dads that don’t have smart phones, I will need to think about ways for them to access technology as I develop the class.

The use of Social Media will undoubtedly remain an important way for dads to feel connected outside of the class setting.  I will also have to find the time and ways for me and my co-leader to divide the tasks associated with social media.  I will also need to develop a way to help dads using social media to understand how to use this technology, and for “what purposes”,  by developing an understanding of framework or ethical approach to using social media.  It will be important for fathers to know that social media is not a place to ask for help in an emergency situation and to understand that social media is a place to connect with others and not a place to discuss grievances  Ethical approaches will be important in terms of understanding the use of social media.  

Our Group Photo, sideways LOL

posted Oct 15, 2016, 12:10 PM by Wales brown   [ updated Oct 15, 2016, 3:12 PM ]

Recent Blog Comments

  • Welcome to the Wiki Hi Dad's!  I'm happy to welcome you to our Wiki.  This is a place for us to ask questions, give each other feedback, answer questions and share thoughts ...
    Posted Oct 15, 2016, 12:19 PM by Wales brown
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Just wanted to say thank you so much for allowing me to use a photo of you guys on the website.  It's a real pleasure to be able to get to know you all.  Have a great week and I'll see you on Thursday.  Please feel free to use the blog to connect with each other.  Muhammed will be texting you all! LOLDon't forget the HW assignment!

Welcome Dad's We're Up and Going!

posted Oct 15, 2016, 7:03 AM by Wales brown   [ updated Oct 15, 2016, 8:56 AM ]

The Nurturing Fathers Program of Schenectady web site is finally up and going.  I will be working diligently to update this site and make sure there are resources in every section for the thinking that we are working on during the week.  Please make sure you check the Wiki below in the Q& A tab and please feel free to add to it! Let's Go!

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