Reflection on the week’s activities

Posted: January 27, 2007 in EVO 2007 Tasks, Reflection

I have been so busy doing things this week that I haven’t taken time to reflect on them much.

My students, adult men who are preparing to study for the Catholic priesthood,were a little hesitant when I introduces blogging last year. I think there are two reasons for that: 1) they are really not comfortable doing things on the computer, and 2) they believe the hype they have heard about blogs being dangerous or bad in some way. They come from very traditional education systems and really didn’t see a reason to change the way class had been run before. They have the idea that learning should be serious and hard. (I had a student tell me once that any time a professor has a discussion in class, it is because he/she is not prepared.

Now that we have been doing this for awhile, they are more comfortable with it, but I don’t think they see much value in it yet. I hope that this will change over the course of this semester as we are using a blogs and wikis quite heavily. So far, though, that soen’t seem to be happening.

I think that I need to better explain the reasons behind this to my students. In order to do that, I have to be clear aout it myself. What do I expect them to get from blogging and from the wiki? Do I know, or am I just playing with these new toys?

I see several reasons for students to blog. The main one, I think, is for them to develop their own voices. I want them to write about things they care about and do it often enough to become comfortable with it. Another reason they should blog is to learn to write for someone other then me, the teacher. I hope that writing for an audience will encourage them to be more careful in their writing. This outside audience is something they cannot really get in a more traditional writing classroom.

But what would be my reason for having students use 43 Places/Things/People? I think they would be a harder sell. I honestly don’t think my particular students would like these sites. And I am not sure what they would gain from using them.

I could see using Flickr as a source of writing prompts. And I think students might enjoy posting their photos online. But my students, for the most part, don’t have or have access to digital cameras, so I don’t think they would use it a lot.

I guess I would have to say, too, that I would not want to dump all these new things on my students all at once. This semester it is blogs and wikis. Maybe next fall I can try using Flickr for writing prompts. I know that I have to be sure of why I want them to try these new things before I ask them to do it.

So I will keep learning, keep trying new thing in an effort to find meaningful and interesting ways for my students to use English. And I will be having fun in the process!

  1. patricia9936 says:

    Hi Nancy,
    I posted my comments in the wrong place. See the next post 🙂

  2. Bee says:

    Nancy, I totally understand your students not wanting to post on the 43 trio. The reason for mentioning them was to illustrate how they work – spontaneous posts in everyday language about people´s own interests and eventually connecting through them, learning from others and sharing experiences. Flickr works the same way – others share their view of the world through another medium – visual language and this may be used to bring discussion in the classroom about the appropriateness of such sites (43), just like we are doing here or asking your learners to find a particular photo of a theme they are interested in and telling the others about it.

  3. bleiva2003 says:

    Very valid reflections, Nancy. I found it interesting that you teach students who will become priests someday. What an experience! Is your classroom handled differently because of this? Does it affect the learning-teaching process?
    Thanks for sharing your thoughts.
    Warm regards, Berta

  4. sanleep says:

    Hi, Berta,

    I liked your reasons for getting students to blog–writing often enough to become comfortable with it, writing for someone other than the teacher (an outside audience), and encouraging them to be more careful in their writing.

    The first time I used a blog with students and asked them to create their own blogs, it was to give them experience writing for a real audience outside of the classroom. I also wanted them to be more careful in their writing and learn to be concise. It seemed to work. They became very conscious of outside readers once they received a few comments and editing of their writing became a hot issue!

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