An EFL teacher discovering the whole new universe :)

March 05, 2006

"A Personal Log of Improvement"

Is it inappropriate to comment on older posts in my blog? I'm new to blogosphere and there is so much to read, fresh stuff as well as some great old articles. I cannot help myself from sharing some of the blog jewels with you.
Here it goes, Barbara Ganley's post from September 2005 deals with transparent blogging and the sometimes, for students themselves, problematic public nature of a blog. She writes:
"The students are shy, self-conscious, some of them still figuring out how to write in English. They have been conditioned to succeed, to achieve, to excel, and they feel that showing their work like this exposes a weakness, a flaw, a secret. They don't altogether buy it that they are here in college to learn, (I'm not sure they've really thought about what that word means except in the most literal sense of acquiring a body of knowledge to be tested on) not to produce shiny objects, one after another that demonstrate their worthiness according to some unfathomable scale."

Isn't that so true? We should remind ourselves more often that children are in schools to learn, they wouldn't be here if they knew everything! We should recognize students' mistakes as signs of their progress, as steps towards knowledge.
Barbara's Writing Class used to publish their first pieces of writing, their first attempts, and some people thought that wasn't show students' weakness to the world wide audience. However, the participants took it as a part of their learning process and their teacher believed that this was the right approach.
One of her students, Zoey, posted a great comment to Barbara's article. She described how one of her friends took a look at her blog and was amused by her first endeavours. At first slightly ashamed, Zoey soon started protecting her blog. Zoey writes:
"Without those first few novice pieces I would never have gained the confidence to continue writing, searching and discovering the orbit of a blog. It is inspiring and encouraging for me to have such work to read and look back on, it is a personal log of improvement. As I continue to blog I am feeling the benefits of having such a raw experience.
We all have to start somewhere and for a student to aim for perfection with every post defeats the purpose of a blog. We are in a discussion, gradually improving our speech, learning from each other and learning from ourselves."

Isn't that just great?


Anonymous Aaron said...

I totally agree with you. Placing value on the process is really great classroom practice, but sadly it doesn't happen much does it?

I really liked your idea here:

"We should recognize students' mistakes as signs of their progress, as steps towards knowledge."

Blogs, I think, are wonderful tools for that. As a development tracking tool, they seem to have so much potential. You can see where and how you started. You can follow growth and see development, and that is especially important for language learners who just feel like they're not making progress any more. You can just direct them to their blog - Hey, you are growing - just look at how your first post was!

What a great idea!

8/3/06 9:34 pm

Blogger Sarolta said...

I couldn't agree more with Aaron. Keep posting. I enjoy reading your posts. Cheers.

12/3/06 5:37 pm


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