September 23, 2007

What a teacher blog should be

This post was last updated on December 12th, 2011 at 03:17 pm

Invariably when I introduce the concept of blogging to teachers, they want to resort to using it as a homework page. I understand that for many this is natural. After all, for many teachers, reflecting and sharing their work and ideas offline is not part of their practice, why would it be online?

So while I’m careful to point out that the power of blogging lies in the reading, thinking, writing process, I haven’t seen many evolve out of the typical homework thread. While the homework blog has its benefits, it hardly does anything to help students understand what blogging can be.

Konrad Glogowski
is certainly a blogger every teacher needs to watch. Today Konrad writes a post called “Learning to be Myself“. In it he writes about his plan to be a blogger in the community of his classroom. Not a teacher but a learner like the rest of them.

My own blog in our class blogosphere has always been used to post updates, assignments, commentary on student work, and words of encouragement…I don’t think my students ever perceived it as a blog – a place where the author shares his thoughts, ideas, or experiences and engages in meaning-making. It was a place that my students would visit regularly to read their latest assignment or download a rubric. I don’t think they ever learned anything from my own blog.

So his plan is to write about things that matter, things that may not be curricular based. What? Not curricular based? I can hear it now, “I don’t have time for that”. We don’t have time to be people?  He continues:

If we are to be a community of learners, we need to know each other as individuals, not people who, for six hours every day, play assigned roles. In other words, I don’t believe teachers should engage in self-censorship. If we do, then our students end up interacting with an automaton, an actor performing a role. Our schools, administrators, and classrooms cannot demand that the richness that makes us human be stripped down because the students are only fourteen, for example, and should not read about human rights abuses, or because time in class should be used only to study the curriculum.

Konrad is one of those writers that I”m glad doesn’t write everyday. His posts regularly make me stop and reread two or three times. It’s that good and deep. To really see his full vision, you need to read the whole post.

Others and I have often wondered, “Should all teachers blog?”. Many think “no” since it’s not the medium for everyone. Should all students blog?  Many that would read any blog would think yes. Why? Because we want students to share their work, have an audience, connect with others, document and track learning, become global citizens, and communicate. So are we hyprocrites if we as teachers don’t do the same? Maybe it’s not a blog but it should be something. (If it’s not digital, how do you have 25 learners share their learning with each other in a 50 minute class, how superfluous would that be?)

Konrad embodies the belief of developing community of learners. So my question is, if you’re not blogging with your students about your learning, your passion and ideas, how are you demonstrating to them that you are a learner? How do they know?

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