Blog carneval: No blog is an island

Well, you know, I never really meant to become a blogger. It was all a bit of an accident. You see, I used to keep up individual course (b)logs to post homework and materials. Then one day I decided to get help (wouldn’t be anywhere without help) to build Beautiful Islands, my Moodle site, with separate project spaces for each of my company courses. The Island Weekly was the front page and was to contain weekly updates on what was happening on the Beautiful Islands. Well, most of my students had no use for Moodle, but the blog had some readers, so I eventually dropped the former and started expanding the latter from a weekly to a daily. Though I don’t make money from it and know I’m one of (and not one in) a million, blogging is as important to me as the teaching and writing I charge for.

The best part has been the discipline of thinking about things in greater depth. I write and podcast for people I actually know. It’s improved my writing style. But it’s also intrinsically rewarding: I came to teaching through the back door, an academic who loved discourse and had to start over in a new discipline. In my first ten years as a teacher I focused on learning the craft of helping others express themselves and became a good “midwife”. Now, writing has brought discourse back in through the front door. Of course a freelance teacher my age also needs to skill up. I’m fully aware that older does not mean better. So blogging keeps me on my toes and ready for the future.

The worst part of blogging is that writing has replaced making music as my meditative way into and out of the day, and I’m no longer making any progress on the keyboard. I really miss that.

I’m not in this for selfexpression, promoting learning is still what makes me tick. So I’d like to get a group of connected EFL bloggers up and running. I’ve taught academic writing and think – no, I know! – blogs would be the perfect vehicle for an open writing group based on assignments. This would all be free without competing with courses. People need to achieve a different level of English fluency than their parents did. I’m dying to try out my peer review system in such a group, but it’s a very slow process getting people up.

What traffic I get to this blog is generated though Twitter, posts on other people’s blogs, links on networking sites and word-of-mouth. People outside teaching with my interests find me through Google, and I’ve just begun using SEO. All of those are very effective ways of making sure a blog is connected. Because no blog, and no blogger, is an island.

You’re a blogging teacher? Join the blog carneval organised by Karenne Sylvester by going to >the blog carneval site. For details see Karenne’s blog and reminder. Submit your article by 15 July.

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Teaching English for business communication skills, writing online for learners, translating, sailing whenever I can, from Washington, D.C.

5 thoughts on “Blog carneval: No blog is an island”

  1. Hi Anne,

    things are changing aren´t they? Do you know an education for the “blogger profession”?

    keep on doing it!


  2. Hi Helburg

    Yep, they’re changing every day. There’s no formal training, but plenty of fun projects to learn from. When you surf to blogs and join in their conversations, I’m sure you’ll find yourself growing and changing, too. It’s really a bit of an adventure, I’d say 😉
    All the best for your new blog!


  3. Anne,

    Your story is very fascinating. I currently haven’t used Moodle with my students only because I tried a more user friendly site with less features and that was beyond my students. I think your blog posts are wonderful on this site and the Ask Auntie Web.
    Do you by any chance have a blog post about SEO. I’d be interested in seeing how this works and improves blogging.

    Great post!


  4. Welcome, Shelly :)

    You’re right, I think many of your and my students haven’t quite found their way into working on platforms yet.

    Things will be changing, though. Since company courses in the older German industries have been reduced, yet the people working in their peak years need English more than ever, I think we’ll see a steady move to online learning – or rather, blended learning. I think the early blended learning hype is over, and we’re seeing the beginning of a slow growth process. Something David Graddol said made me think: Online is not going to be education for the masses, multiplying content to users, it will continue to be smallish and focussed on special target groups. So I’ve decided to stick with it and keep cool :)

    Your question about SEO is very helpful, I think we all need to become more savvy. I’m a beginner, but I’ve learned to use some basics for Spotlight Online and have applied that knowledge to this blog. Following your question I blogged about it over in our tech for teachers blog, Ask Auntie Web

    Thanks very much for stopping by!


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