Many of my contacts in Greece have Facebook accounts. It looks like Facebook is more or less, slowly but surely, becoming mainstream. Nowadays, when I ask fellow teachers or new trainees if they are on Facebook, the answer is mostly “yes”, where even one year ago, many would say “No” or even “What is Facebook?”
Very few of them however, at least in the local Greek context, blog as teachers. In fact I know only of two, perhaps thee teachers from Greece, who maintain a blog with teaching as its main focus.
So, this is a post to get you started on blogging and to suggest some reasons why it’s a great thing for a teacher to do!
It’s a follow up to a previous post with the title Would you like to Develop your Personal Learning Network? which sets the scene for the different ways educators can connect.
Don’t get me wrong. This post does not aim to knock Facebook down. Facebook has its uses as a point of contact and communication with friends, colleagues, family and it may be a very pleasant pastime for many of you. I find great value in Facebook as a first step which helps teachers who are not used to online communities to get their bearings, so to speak, to join groups, to learn to converse online and to get used to the concept that in this digital age, meeting people and making friends online is a good thing!
Facebook is also great for raising awareness of privacy issues. But that is perhaps a topic for another post.
But this post hopes to encourage you to start your own blog. I am new to blogging myself but I have grown to love it! Through blogging, I have engaged in discussions with teachers from all over the world and have been motivated and inspired both as a teacher and teacher educator.
So, I really want to share this and I warmly encourage you to get involved and and engaged in similar discussions.
Your blog can become your own personal record of reflections on teaching. You can write about
- a great idea which you used with your classes
- a great idea which you learnt from another teacher or read about in a book or a blog
- a problem which worries you in your teaching
- a review of a book you have been using
- some materials which you have used to supplement your coursebook
- a journal of your lessons with a particular class or group
Blogging is not about writing long and complicated articles although you can do that too if you like!
How to get started
If you are not sure how to get started, you can begin by reading other educators’ blogs first. You can start by following the list of great educator’s blogs listed on this blog’s “Blogs we like” list. Read the comments people post too!
Once you have become a little more confident, start writing comments as well.
When you think you are ready to start your own blog, you can choose from amongst many free blog platforms.
- This blog – our school blog – is hosted by wordpress.com
- My personal blog TEFL Matters in English is hosted by edublogs.org
- My personal blog in Greek Ξενόγλωσση Παιδεία is hosted by blogger.com
There are many more free blogger platforms but if you are new, I would suggest starting with one of these three. Edublogs is the friendliest to educators and through their lists, you can connect with many other educators around the world.
So, what are you waiting for? Get started!
And before you change your mind, write me a comment under this blog post, quick!!!!
Nice blog. I think it’s important to encourage more ‘normal’ teachers to start blogging. I’m an avid reader of lots of blogs, but most of them are by people who are quite famous in tefl-world, or are teacher trainers. I haven’t really come across regular teachers blogging about their thoughts, feelings or classes. I’m planning to start a blog soon (honest!), as I’m what I consider to be a ‘regular’ teacher! However, do you know of anyone else who has a blog like this?
keep up the good work!
Thanks for comment and yes, I follow a lot of blogs written by regular teachers. In fact most blogs are written by regular teachers!
Here are a couple of links:
You can find a lot more similar connections through Twitter, one more great place to meet them all and engage in discussions!
Thanks for the links. I recently joined twitter and have learnt loads already and made some connections already. I can’t quite get used to the ‘followers’ idea though, sounds a bit like a cult!
“Follower” …hmm… it’s just an expression, Richard, no cult involved in it at all. I guess I felt the same way with Facebook in the beginning when I created a school page and people had to become “fans” !!! That was strange! But in time, you realize it’s just a term that each social social medium uses to differentiate itself from the others!!
Come on people ! I guess you haven’t had long yet to comment on your trainer’s post 🙂
I am regular teacher in France, though I do teach at the University .. a science univeristy in Grenoble. I was just speaking to your teacher today on WIZIQ. It is really wonderful that we are able to speak together like that, no cost involved. And all the great ideas that are flying around… there’s always something of interest for each of us. Anyways, I hope you are enjoying your training period… you’re definitely in luck having a trainer like Marisa.
I agree that writing about your experiences helps you reflect on your profession ( it doesn’t necessarily have to do with teaching). My blog has helped me a lot in my life, it has begun as a place where I kept my notes from seminars, it continued with my students’ work and projects and now it has become more personal (unfortunately). Just sharing with people your opinion is valuable and that is what communication is all about!
Nice blog BTW!
Good to see you here!
I mainly blog about teaching and training teachers – it is this function of blogging, for reflection and professional development which I would like to encourage.
A lot of teachers I know who maintain personal blogs where they write about their life or their poetry, or anything, tend to keep them separate from their educational blogs but the blogsphere is open to all sorts of possibilities and combinations!
Thanks for dropping by and commenting 🙂
I’m sure the number of teachers in Greece who blog will increase at some point. However, I believe that first of all teachers should learn how to use a computer (YES.. there are teachers who don’t know how to, get to know the Internet and at some point they’ll discover blogging. I’m shocked to see many teachers still preparing worksheets by hand… because it’s easier .. they say!! But then I wonder how they set up their facebook account.
Although a big fan of computers i discovered blogging a year ago.. and just can’t stop now
You make me feel very melancholy, Smaragda…. I am lucky enough to be in a position to meet, hold conversations with, train, learn with teachers who are keen enough to want to develop.
But I am also aware that there are a lot of colleagues out there who are not yet computer litereate, and who think that lesson preparation is writing the answers to coursebook exercises on the margins of their books….
Thanks for stopping by and commenting
Thanks for your interesting post.
It is quite surprising to learn that only a few teachers maintain a blog with teaching as a main focus in Greece.
I am glad to learn about the reasons for not blogging amongst those teachers. It is not easy for teachers to blog publicly.
Thanks also for sharing your Facebook and blogging experience.
Here is my blog post on the purpose of blogging http://suifaijohnmak.wordpress.com/2009/01/07/what-is-the-purpose-of-blogging/
You will also find lots of other posts on education and learning.
Looking forward to more sharing with you on Facebook, twitter, blogs and Ning
Thanks for stopping by and commenting, John and for linking to your excellent blog post which includes a great list of reasons for creating and maintaining a blog as an educator. I would warmly encourage all my readers to click on the link in John’s response and read through to the end.
I ‘m following you straight away on Twitter where you will find me as @Marisa_C and look forward to more interaction regarding connectivism.
I have to say ….as a trainee of Marisa. yes..it’s great to have someone so positive to inspire us to develop our own PLN…When I met Marisa and started my DELTA at CELT, I could only just manage to send an e-mail. Slowly but surely I am now exploring..I attend on-line virtual conferences, I’ve started ‘chatting’ and learning from other teachers, through links and I’m taking the steps to set up a blog…I agree with Richard, that sometimes you don’t feel like commenting when one of the great names of EFL are around, but I do enjoy reading and listening to them! It takes little tip toe steps before we take giant leaps and that’s what developing is all about. So, Marisa , Scott, Jeremy, Shelly and all you guys..watch this space..we are following in your footsteps..thanks for leading the way!
I am looking forward to your first blog post with great anticipation and am very proud of you for taking all these steps forward!
Remember to blog for yourself and not set out to impress anybody. Read Joh’s blog post and reasons for blogging.
The blogsphere has a place for every blog, be it by a big name or by teachers like us!
Firstly, I appreciate your commitment with ELTs. Since I started blogging I have been communicating with teachers from different parts of the world more than with colleagues from my country, Peru. We have an online group, ELTeCS Peru, for about 10 years, which just became an advertising site. I posted some of my blog posting there, and most of my blog’s visitors are from Peru; however, few comments have been submitted. Most of the time, I only read blog postings.
Likewise, when I ask pre- & in-service English teachers if they are on Facebook or Hi5, the answer is mostly “yes”. They just use these social networks for social and familial interactions, and most of them like to forward forwarding e.mails.
As Anne Hodgson said: blogging is a writing reflecting process. That’s true. And as you say it is not necessary to write long and complicated articles. I think the most difficult stage to blog is the beginning, what we are going to say. Also, what will be other teachers opinions. The most important think is that day by day there are more teachers engaged in blogging sharing and learning knowledge and experiences each other.
Hope my comments serve to update my blog.
Best of lucks to bloggers.
It’s an interesting point you have made in your comment which I have experienced as well, both on this blog as well as on my TEFL Matters blog. Most of the comments are from educators from other countries, mainly UK, US, NZ, etc. – the bulk of my comments comes from native speakers now I think about it.
Is it because the non-native speaker is afraid they might make a mistake? I wonder.
Is it because I am a non-native speaker myself?
Is it because my local community sees my blog posts as something unworthy?
Is it because the only blogs which matter to them are the blogs of the well known big ELT names in the blogosphere?
Is it because they have yet to see the value of blogging?
Is it in fact something to do with lack of familiarity of Web 2.0 and blogging?
This is a topic worth investigating and I don’t have an answer but perhaps it’s a good idea to try and find out.
Thank you for your comment and further food for thought,
Just started myself, so appreciate the validation of why I would want to do it as a teacher. Plus really useful links – thankyou.
I nipped over to your new blog and had a quick look! Welcome to the world of education bloggers!
I am certain the experience will help you develop professionally and the conversations are great!
This is a great post Marisa, and I totally agree with you about the use of Facebook and blogging. Blogging is a self reflection process in a great degree. What I find difficult though is to keep it up regularly to keep doing it every week let’s say, or even every fortnight.
When I see educators like you, like Shelly, like Karenne and so many other educators I admire them and they inspire me! Keep doing it!
Great to see you here! Keep blogging! It doesn’t matter how often and it can be a very short post.
Don’t expect to churn out a masterpiece every time! Keep it up because you do have things to say.