Why should students blog?

Why should students blog?For four years now I have blogged with my year 11 and 12 French students on WordPress and it has been an invaluable addition to our learning. This post is a follow-up to a previous post Should educators blog? so it is the first of three posts in the series. Initially when you start teaching students to blog I have always found it to be like pulling teeth. I have to be prepared for the moans and groans, the frustration and the blank faces. This is not a familiar platform for them and it is not something they can learn in a twinkling so it means they have to apply themselves. In the end they all love and value it and can see why we did it. In first term I generally stick to my blogging checklist and teach them things a bit at a time. I make sure they have linked to websites which will support their learning and that they link to each other’s blogs. Initially I scaffold their posts and tell them what to write about and do. It might be writing up what we have practised in an oral, exploring around a topic we are studying, finding a video or a funny picture to support what we are learning. Sometimes it is re-explaining to themselves (and others) what we have just learned and finding their own resources to support the learning and post. They also put up the work they submit to me for assessment. I then move it to the model – learn, reflect, share, get feedback, learn some more. One of the things which becomes clear to them and others is how they grow as learners as the time passes. Once we are past the teething stage I encourage them to visit each other’s blogs and to like and comment. For my part I visit every week, leave a little comment and give them a mark out of ten. All the marks are then weighted into their overall assessment. They don’t just learn content. They can see what they are doing has a global impact and some of them realise they can write posts in a way which will attract an audience. Blogging is a mainstream skill these days and it builds confidence and knowledge. It also builds linguistic strength and I allow students from term 3 onwards to blog in other languages as well to build their multi lingual skills.The increased fluency in expression is very obvious. I teach students who have other languages in their background and it supports cross cultural learning. It will also increase their audience and that makes them really happy. They learn the value of languages. I don’t let them write in a language I can’t read myself or don’t have someone handy who could translate their posts for me. Luckily I am surrounded by colleagues who could cover that need if necessary. The blogs also back up their work. On more than one occasion it has been a life saver for a student but it is also good practice. I do it myself. I blog my classroom tools and resources so there is yet another place where I can find them. This year I shall blog with my year 10s. A younger age group, which has had a different background in technology, ought to make it a different experience. We’ll see.

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One Response

  1. […] have to say I find it very odd coming here to tell you why teachers should blog when I have seriously blogged as a teacher for 8 years and cannot believe how much it has added to […]

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