Photo on Flickr by Kat
Hello everyone. Welcome to my new blog.
My name is Natasa and I am an EFL teacher from Belgrade, Serbia. Right now I am a participant of Building Teacher Skills Through the Interactive Web. Webskills for short. This blog will follow my journey through the course, which is why I have named it Natasa's Webskills Journey. I will post my reflections here at least once a week.
I am not new to blogging. My TEFL blog, which I call simply Natasa's Blog, is four years old. There I post my reflections on teaching, technology and different online courses I take. I am not a very regular blogger, but I really enjoy blogging. That's why I am glad one of the requirements for this course is a weekly post.
As I was creating this new blog, I tried not to get lost in templates and widgets. I love playing with templates and adding widgets, but there will be time for that later. Right now I need to focus on my weekly task.
I am really excited about this course and the scholarship I have won. I am honoured to have been selected, together with a group of highly motivated teachers from all over the world, to participate in Webskills. I am looking forward to learning with others.
So, why do I like blogging so much? I suppose it is because I love writing and telling stories in general. And because I like reflecting on what I do, whether it is teaching or cooking or playing with my child. I believe that reflecting on my teaching will gradually make me a better teacher. Reflecting on this course will help me learn more.
Another good thing about blogging are the connections you gradually form when you comment on other people's blogs and they comment on yours.
As for blogging with students, it could be a good way for them to improve their writing. There are, however, potential problems:
- The students might be shy about blogging online because their language is "not good enough" and they might worry about the mistakes they make.
- They might be worried about their privacy online and might actually feel uncomfortable if people they don't know comment on their writing.
- They might see blogging as 'homework' and try to avoid it.
A possible solution to this problem could be not expecting too much from your students at once. Maybe the teacher should first start with what Campbell calls the Tutor blog. The teacher writes the post and asks the students to comment on it. The teacher could, for example, share an interesting story from her life and ask the students to share similar stories. In order to make sure that the students participate, the teacher should find out what their interests are and post something that they would want to answer to.
Still, I have to say that with a class of reluctant adults, closed forums might be a better solution, at least at the beginning. There the students would feel less worried about their privacy and about 'making mistakes'.