My Blog Reading Homework
In his blog post A vast Pool of Human Knowledge, Neglected, Darren Elliott, like a true teacher, gave us all a little bit of homework for the weekend, which goes as follows:
1. Have a look through the archives of your favourite bloggers. You can usually find archives in the sidebar, click a tag or category, or search for keywords in a search box.
2. Find a piece you like but haven’t noticed before and leave a comment.
3. Link to it on your blog, or tweet it.
The first blog I went to was Carol Rainbow’s excellent edtech blog, which she is usually too modest to tweet about – because I was sure I would find not one but several gems I hadn’t noticed before. Carol is a regular blogger, much more regular than manyI know (including myself), and records all the tools she tries out, so this is a fantastic blog to read if you are interested in Web 2.0 tools and in Second Life where she trains teachers.
The first post I stumbled upon was a short report of my first ever attempt to teach in Second Life, a beginner Greek lesson into which quite a few fellow teachers were persuaded to come, despite dreading the usual disaster which is very common if you have never taught in SL before – teaching in SL is somewhat different to teaching your regular classes in the real world!
The post is called “First Greek Lesson : -)” and the first thing I loved is a snapshot of my avatar in a fit of rage! (You can animate your avatar showing happiness, disgust, etc. expressions) and a really nice and humorous summary of that half hour or so lesson. I know it sounds a little selfish but it is great to read about a lesson you have taught through the eyes of one of your students.
The second blog I visited is Hall Houston’s A Teacher in Tayouan. I like Hall’s posts and loved his book The Creative Classroom. As some of my readers may have noticed, I am quite interested in the topic of creativity myseld and have blogged on other occasions on the topic, so Hall’s blog is quite interesting for me. Today I noticed a very interesting short post on using “Sound Sequences“ – something which Hall reminded me was first introduced “by Alan Maley and Alan Duff, with the brilliant titles Sounds Interesting and Sounds Intriguing” two wonderful books I still have and treasure. Read Hall’s post on where you can find sources of sound effects on the web and how you could put them together for creative interpretations by your students to create their own narratives.
The third and final blog which I am doing for my Darren homework is Lathophobic Aphasia by Steven Bower, a colleague in the UK who has lived in Greece for many years. I love Steven’s down-to-earth, irreverent attitude about all things holier-than-thou in ELT. He has a sharp tongue, that boy, but his voice serves well to keep his and his readers’ view of ELT in balance and have a good laugh about it.
My favourite post from hir archives is the one with the title “Gurus, Twerps and Huggy Bears” as it summarises exactly how I feel about certain types of wooly stuff being aired around ELT, beginning with a course description described as “arrant twaddle is the teaching equivalent of reiki and aromatherapy” … You ‘re getting his drift?
He has quite a few things to say about gurus, too, who “Offer to put teachers in contact with their innermost souls, attempt to convince them that ELT is part caring profession and part Path of Spiritual Unfolding, and you might get a few more bookings.”
I liked this homework and think we should be doing it more often to help new blog readers become more familiar with interesting blogs as well as with how those of us who maintain blogs interact with each other and learn from each other. There are certain bloggers who will probably consider this an irrelevant exercise and, probably, beneath their elevated status.
I am happy to mill with the crowd of connected bloggers around me and to talk about how they helped me ‘see’ something or taught me something new.