All About Blogging (Part II)

This is a continuation of yesterday where I summed up what I heard my students (who are really teachers) relate about the articles I assigned them to read on blogging.  One wrote the following from an article titled “Educational Blogging.” “Blog now refers to a web journal that comments on the news – often by criticizing the media and usually in rudely clever tones.” She then listed the five major uses of blogging in the classroom which seems odd given her above definition that it is criticized as being clever but rude.  But to continue with her thoughts, she wrote:  “Now blogging resembles more and more of a conversation. That’s why it must be given a purpose and it must remain unconstrained.”

One very astute student had read an article that dealt with teaching first year composition students how to blog.  She wrote:  “I have found out that blogging plays an important part in encouraging students to write…being passive observers, from the very beginning, students became active participants.  They got involved in a larger conversation.” She also added: “Many people criticize blogging saying that it is ephemeral, that it focuses on the everyday.” However, she wrote “blogging gave me a new sense that writing matters.”

Coincidentally she noted the same thing in our Kazakh teacher’s classroom.  I’ll let her explain: “There is an interesting poster in the classroom where we have lessons, it has the following inscription: “Learn something new today.”  A dog is searching on the Internet. So looking at the poster and spending my time with my classmates and my teacher, I really “learn something new every day!”

I loved the following that was written by another bright student of mine:  “Today I’ve read two articles about blogs as learning tools and problems that our teachers have in Kazakhstan.  Reading about the problems I thought to myself, “hmmm…that’s true, the author knows so much about our country” and I felt pity for my colleagues who have no opportunity to cope with them.  Because, really, we are to re-educate our policymakers.  So that’s a big problem.”

From the other article I’ve learned so many interesting things about blogging.  To tell the truth, I’ve never thought that a blog could be used for educational purposes.  As for me, I used blogging just for sharing ideas with my friends on MySpace.  But, really, why don’t we use blogging as learning tools?”

The following is from another student, I liked her salient point about voice and audience though she didn’t use those words, but I’ll talk about that later in our reading and writing classes:

“In my opinion, the main point is that communication in written form among blog participants gives participants more time to reflect on and to better articulate their ideas.  Also, knowing that their writing is available to the public, students might have a stronger motivation to write well so that the quality of their writing might shine, as the author says.”

Finally, I will end with this “shiny” testimonial from one of my more active writers, it made my day:

“On the second day of our studies, we talked a lot about blogging, using technologies in EFL classes. It was pretty much like yesterday when we did talking from the FORUM [magazine].  As I listened to other teachers, I was thinking what was the point of our studies if all we did for two days was talking.  But then I got it!  You learn while you listen to the people who are just like you are and all of them are walking in your shoes:  teach English, know the weak points and problems of our English classes.  The difference they have from us,[newly graduated from pedagogical university] is that they deal with teaching for a longer time. It means that their reflection on what they read will be based on their experience with our local students.  They’ll receive bigger amount of feedback and respond with useful ideas and thoughts, though it does not mean we do not (;-)

So the theme was blogging.  That is the thing which has been attracting my attention and interest for a rather long time. That is my nature to try everything I think interesting, but it’s been a long time I could not sit and learn fully what it is.  On my last year at school, I dreamed to find some time and get one blog but alas!  And then I came to Astana and one of the three things I’d be studying here is guess what? Blogging!

Sounds like I’m lucky!  The point that it is a part of my course means that doing blogging does not mean wasting my time but combine my self-development and my work as a TEFL (T means teacher)

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