Thursday, January 12, 2012

Week 1 - Welcome to My New Blog

Rainy day...
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'.


  1. Hello, Natasa!

    According to the content of your blog I can say that you are an experienced blogger. It's great!

    You reflected on the pifalls the ELT teachers should be aware of while applying blogging into the teaching practice. I feel we can face the same problems as well, so your comments are really valuable for me.

    There is also a problem of correcting students' mistakes. How do you think which is better: to correct mistakes before posting to the blog or should it be done during the class correction sessions?

    Kind regards,

  2. Helen, thank you for visiting my blog. As for correcting students' mistakes, I am not sure I have an answer to that. At least, I am not sure there is one "right" way to do it. My students are adults and they often worry about losing face, so they would probably prefer me to correct their writing before they post online. However, if it is OK with the students, I think it would be very good to do it in a class correction session afterwards. Some teachers believe that mistakes made while blogging should not be corrected at all, since the main aim of blogging is to communicate. I wonder what others think.

  3. Natasa
    Great to have an experienced blogger like yourself. I like the idea of the tutor blog, and find it a great way to start using one. The picture you added here is fantastic; it looks like it is from the redwood forests of my home in California.

  4. I love those trees, Robert. One feels very small in comparison to them. I found the picture very symbolic for the beginning of my Webskills journey. I like to start a post with an image - it helps me express myself better.
    I would definitely like to give blogging with my students another try. I think they might be ready now. A lot of the young adults I teach at the moment are in fact digital natives, but very few of them have any experience with blogging.

  5. Thank you, Natasa, for sharing your experience on blogging with students. I have learned a lot from it.

    You are right, As a new blogger, I expected a lot from my students. I thought that they will participate well. After reading your blog I will think about more Ice-breaking activities to eliminate anxiety and to encourage reluctant speakers. At first, I will try to creat a "safe" environment for their grammar-free discussions.

    Hope you to share me more during and after the course.

    1. Thank you for visiting my blog, The. I like your ideas for using icebreakers and making the blog the "safe" environment for them to speak. I hope we learn something more about how to do that in the course.

      I am looking forward to sharing more with you during the course. And I am sure that the connections we form in the course will last after it is over.

  6. Dear Natasa, thank you for sharing all this with us, but beware there are so many interesting technical things I feel like I'm going to bother you with, my apologies in beforehand

    1. Sinikka, just go ahead and "bother" me. I'll be glad to help you if I can.

  7. Hello Natasa

    I am really glad you are among us! I envy you and I hope I will be like you one day!
    I liked your suggestion about a tutor blog because I was thinking of all these constraints on behalf of the students since I, myself, don't feel really unhesitant about blogging yet.
    I also liked the video you uploaded. I'm still having difficulty in uploading a photo. Can you imagine?

    nice meeting you

    1. Thank you, Marina, for your encouraging words. I assure you I don't feel that confident about myself in this course. I think we are all a little insecure at the moment. I can blog, but I have no idea how to apply what I know in my (low tech) teaching environment. Yes, it is perfectly normal not to know how to post an image or a video on your blog at this stage, but I think we will learn that in the course. This particular image was embedded into the post (

  8. Dear Natasa

    Congratulations on winning your award and for creating your new blog! I am sure it is going to be just as wonderful as your primary blog is. I look forward to your learning journey that you will share here!

    It's lovely to be doing the EVO Podcasting course with you:-)You have so much energy and enthusiasm for learning and you are always trying out new resources, which inspire so many people.

    Best of luck with all your projects this year!

    1. My dear friend, thank you for always being there to provide support for me. If you keep reading this blog, you will meet the great group of educators I am studying with. I hope I will be able to keep up with Podcasting, though it is going to be hard. I am really lucky to have you in my PLN.