Blogging Can Make You A Better Teacher And Learner

For those of us well entrenched in reading, writing and contributing to blogs, it is hard to remember a time before their existence. In truth, it was actually not that long ago… The term “weblog” was first used in 1997 to describe the digital log of writers thoughts and opinions. It was two years later in 1999 that the short form, “blog,” was coined by Peter Merholz, who broke the word weblog into the phrase “we blog” in the sidebar of his site Peterme.com.

Since then the blogging movement has exploded way beyond personal thoughts and musings. A whole new media channel has been created for sharing news, ideas, help and essentially anything anyone feels like writing.

So, as educators, what could creating a blog do for you? And why use your already sparse free time to write… For free? Here are seven real reasons why you should consider starting your own, school or class blog.

1. Idea Generation

In the words of Steven Johnson, “Chance favours the connected mind“. This is one of my favorite quotes of all time and speaks directly towards one huge benefit of blogging. In the below RSA Animate video, Steven talks about “Where Good Ideas Come From”. The premise behind this 5 minute video, is that ideas come from sharing information. By blogging, you are sharing your ideas and in turn will receive the thoughts, opinions, praise and criticism of your readers. All of these, including criticism, is essential to helping you solidify, grow and evolve your thoughts and practices. This growth will not only help you understand the perspective of others, but will let you tap ideas and thoughts in your own mind that would otherwise have never been found.

2. Community Building

With every new audience comes new opportunities. By sharing your thoughts online, you are letting the world see how you think, work, care and teach. This is huge! People you may never have had the opportunity to meet will become a part of your online community. Not only will this help build your professional network, but as so many bloggers have discovered, it will also vastly extend your personal network.

By building a community of like minded people that share your passions and appreciate your opinions, you are creating relationships that would never occur otherwise. These relationships, whether through commenting, social networks or face-to-face, open up doors that offer all sorts of opportunities. You never know who you may meet and how you can work together.

3. Motivation And Inspiration

With technology and new practices always moving forward, it can sometime be overwhelming to keep up to date. It is very easy to turn a blind eye and ignore innovation, but for many of us that is not an option.  Blogging puts you in a position where you are motivated to learn and continue to grow. Sharing your knowledge creates an atmosphere where you want to learn. It is exciting and inspiring to share new ideas and even more exciting and inspiring to hear how others are using them.

If you have had your work shared either online or offline, posted or re-tweeted, it is a remarkable sensation to see your words make real changes to people’s lives.

4. Expressing Yourself

The 10,000-Hour Rule, defined by Malcolm Gladwell in his book Outliers, states that the key to success in any field is practicing a specific task for around 10,000 hours. OK, this is pretty definite, but it does re-enforce the point that the more you do something the better you will get at it. Being able to express and understand your own thoughts is an essential skill to being a great educator. If you are unable to understand your own teaching, then how will others?

Whether you plan to write multiple articles a day or just a post or two a month, practice makes perfect. The exercise of blogging will not only help you improve your own writing and conversation but will also acts as a therapeutic outlet for thoughts and feelings.

5. Transparency And Openness

One request that is repeated again and again from parents is the need to know what is going on in their child’s class. Blogging can create the perfect forum to invite parents and others into your classroom. Whether you choose to share day to day activities, your thoughts, or just basic updates, the openness and transparency is very well received.

Your blog lets you show parents and the school community that you are passionate about what you do. It lets people know just how much goes on in the classroom and see the great work being done. It also acts as a direct channel to get feedback and engage parents in the learning process.

6. Helping Others

As educators, it is our job to teach. A blog lets us take lessons out of the classroom and share them with the world. This helps many educators learn from our mistakes and successes, improving the quality of education as a whole. Not only does it give us the opportunity to help others, but in return, we get help as readers share their own experiences.

Many teachers are now turning to blogs, Twitter and online forums for their professional development needs. In a world of budget cuts and fast moving technology, blogs provide an essential free resource based on nothing more than the writers passion to share.

7. Personal Fulfilment

Last, but absolutely not least, the personal satisfaction gained from building a resource that others appreciate, respect and adore is absolutely priceless. There is a sense of purpose and satisfaction in blogging that is hard to replicate in any other medium. The fact you can click publish, and in minutes have comments and Tweets with feedback is unlike any other interaction.

Whether you want to set up your own WordPress site, a hosted blog, Tumblr or even a Twitter account, the sense of reward and skills you will gain are irreplaceable.

 

What other benefit have you found from starting a blog? And for those who have not quite built up the courage, what is it that scares you most?

 

Image courtesy of Flickr, Walt Stoneburner

29 Comments

  1. I think the biggest problem here is that people have no time at all. And blogging is time-consuming.
    But I agree, it’s really worth to start blogging. Come on everybody! :)

  2. There are so many benefits to blogging. I have an education blog, “Diary of a Public School Teacher.” http://oldschoolteach.wordpress.com/ and it has allowed me to do a number of things. I have met educators, of like mind, from all over the world, learned new strategies to use in my classroom, involved my class in global projects I would have never known about if I didn’t blog, and shared my knowledge with others.

    1. Connecting certainly seems to be something that comes as a great side benefit to blogging. Most people start blogging to share their own ideas and soon find out that it is very much a two way street. Great blog by the way Lisa :) Highly recommended!

  3. Dear all

    I’m working in a micro finance industry as a Hr Strategy & Communication Manager but as this field was not actually my background,basically I’m from HR but at the time of interview here they appointed me for this current designation.Usually communication job is all about writing skills but as it was not my core experience though many a times i’m facing problems,sometimes my seniors use to say you can change your department considering your core competency but i’m in this job since 6 months so i dont allow to myself to department change but somewhere i’m also facing writing problems but i don’t want a change in department because it all will disturb to my career that is why i joined this blog for a thought sharing and to improve drafting skills as well.

  4. Hi I am M. M> Khan . My problem is I am weak in english .Please guide me to improve english spoken and writing

  5. Hi my name is Prashanth i from Bangalore. i was attended so many interviews in my native but people are rejecting me because of english communication. i am trying all the ways to become good in english writing as well as speaking, i saw this blog and i thought of sharing my experience so i can improve my english,

  6. I am really happy to day because i got a new friend to share my experience thank you very much having such a wonderful blogging with us,

  7. Hello friends my name is Prashanth i have a very big problem in english. i am good at speaking not good at writing,now a days english communication is very important for all the aspects. i did my B.com in government college their i don’t get english knowledge,day by day i am improving my communication skills well.because of blogs,i surf internet read newspapers magazines but still i am finding difficult to improve my communication friends please tell me the best method to be a good english writting,

  8. Hi – I am completely new to the process of blogging . I think it will improve my english writing skill. But the main problem I am facing is to start a writing on a topic————–how to overcome it ? any suggestion ?

  9. Hi,
    I am a sophomore in college studying to be an elementary teacher. I read your article and really enjoyed it. I was wondering what sort of things you suggest teachers should blog about. Could you give me some examples? For instance, posting activities and curriculum ideas they used could be good. What about pictures and just commentary on life in the classroom?

    1. Hi Abagail!

      Thanks for the lovely comment and glad you enjoyed the read.

      My short answer to your question would be: blog about anything that gives you joy.

      My slightly longer answer would be: it depends on what you hope to gain out of blogging.

      Many educators use blogging as an opportunity to reflect on their practices, profession and education as a whole. One of our regular contributors Amy Heavin wrote a wonderful post on this topic that I thoroughly recommend: The Rearview Mirror of Learning: Reflections Using Kidblog (https://www.fractuslearning.com/2014/10/29/learning-reflections-kidblog/)

      Others use blogging to build a professional profile or to share ideas, lessons, successes, failures, tips, tools etc. Here are some ideas we use to get you started:
      How To/Tutorial posts
      Useful new tools, start-ups or technologies
      News or current events
      Opinions/Ideas/Concepts
      Top 10 or list style articles
      Future predictions
      Education/Technology initiatives in your school/district/company
      Reviews
      Interviews
      Research
      Surveys/Polls
      Presentations
      Video/Audio posts

      Wishing you all the best in your teaching and blogging career!
      Nick and the Fractus Learning Team

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