When I first started this blog I was unsure what approach I should take. I mean, I don’t stand in the middle of town talking to myself. And I keep my private life private. At least I used to think I did. Until I got this message on Skype from a woman in Russia who said, “Anne, do you know that your secret journal is online?” Last week, when I told my brother Adam over a Mass at the Oktoberfest that I had blogged about our mother, he gave me this very strange look. My husband tells me my topics are too complicated. So what am I doing it for? Give me a few minutes of your time, and I’ll explain. And maybe I can get you to join me.
First of all, I think that personal, subjective thoughts on professional life and the world we live in are a legitimate, necessary corrective to the mass media. After 9-11 the American media went through a dramatic change. Noone was saying anything critical about the American government. In hindsight it was collective self-censorship rather than any one Big Brother. Back then I started reading blogs to see what educated people back home were talking about. It was a reality check for an expat like me, wondering what the hell had got into my country. And it reconciled me to my homeland. I’m glad that the mainstream media have cleaned up their act. But that’s what turned me on to blogs in the first place.
Then I’m a fan of professional notebooks. I sort out my own thoughts by writing them down. For this blog I then edit what I have written to make it fit for general consumption and to protect my client’s privacy. I’m thinking about and documenting the classes I have given, the didactics I have applied, and how successful they have been; the media I have used, what I can improve and how my field is changing.
And then I’m a fan of real language, of the stuff my clients are really interested in: the theories they are thinking about, how it applies to their future language needs and what I can do to better serve them. I summarize what we’ve been talking about. or sometimes I prepare material and then post something related to it in this blog. I post little extras, too, like smiling at someone over a cup of coffee. I try to simplify the language and include translations so we can communicate.
So I am currently writing for myself, for my trainer colleagues, for my clients, for my friends and family, for like-minded people. I’m like a fisherwoman hanging my bait in the water waiting for a fish to bite. I don’t expect a monster fish will come my way and take me on a high-speed ride in one direction. This is my open-door blog. Anne at work. I’m thrilled when I get comments. That’s like someone dropping by for a visit.
Actually, I do have a motor on this boat, and I’d like to kick it and include my readers more actively. Blogs are fabulous learning tools if you use them to reflect on what you are doing. Writing in a language makes you really learn it. I invite you to comment in English on this blog. If you like I can correct your English – but that needs to be agreed between the two of us. You can even become a member of this blog and post your own original contents. Again, I can offer to discuss and correct your work. Or we can prepare a text together and then publish it.
I’m not using the Moodle part of this website at all except for closed off courses. Moodle allows you to have a blog, too, that can only be read by people who are using the platform. It’s an option for people who want more privacy – but it deprives you of the fun of building an online community related to your ideas.
So that’s where I am. And where are you?
- Blogs as communication platforms for students, trainers, and projects? I had one for a company course, but it was just a course log and pinboard, which we didn’t really need, so it died a natural death. There’s so much more that you can do with learning technology as people become more accustomed to going online for everything. Read Nick Peachey for EFL and Larry Ferlazzo for good sites.
- Wikis may be a better teaching tool, because they are collaborative. But I like the moment of publication a blog allows, and the linear structure of comments that follow. That’s like a presentation and discussion.
- I am convinced that the only written homework worth doing is writing that gets both peer feedback and teacher feedback. That’s true in the classroom and online.
- Ergo: This blog would be a good place for student/client “Abschlussarbeiten”, even collaborative podcasts. I’d like that.
- Are all bloggers exhibitionists? What do you think?
Lee LeFever on Blogs: