EFL Geek On Blogging

As mentioned in Part 1 of the TEFL Logue’s interview with EFL Geek, he started blogging in an effort to organize his thoughts on the various readings he was doing for his graduate studies; I asked him very generally to make some remarks about blogging – including the positives and negatives as well as the concept of blogging anonymously.

“Blogging, especially reading other blogs, is a great way to do professional development on a regular basis. Reading other blogs provides me with so many different ideas for activities in the classroom. I have also seen activities that I use but done with a twist that is both innovative and refreshing for both myself and my students when I use it in my classroom. The positives for teachers are extensive and include personal and professional development, networking, and creativity.

There are however some potential negatives. If you write too much personal information that can come back to haunt you. Take Zen Kimchee, for example, who was involved in a labour dispute with the owner of his school. He made the mistake of writing about it and using the schools name. He only wrote the truth but is now facing a lawsuit for defamation. Libel and Slander laws in Korea do not recognize the truth as a defense. I was previously threatened with a lawsuit but that was dropped as soon as I removed the offending material from my site.

I think that blogging anonymously is a good thing, but there are bloggers who blog with their real names. It’s really a personal choice that one has to make based on how comfortable you feel with people being able to easily track you down on the internet. Having been a victim of cyber stalking in the past I prefer anonymity, though I never had the death threats that Kathy Sierra received.

I think blogging for students can be a very powerful means to improve English skills. Students would be writing in an authentic medium for an authentic audience. This would clearly be highly motivating to produce quality work. However for myself the administrative constraints of my university and having 100+ students a semester without a computer lab available has me not blogging with my students. If I had less students and more time to be able to run through the sign up and creation of blogs I would definitely be doing that.”

Stay tuned for EFL Geek’s wider comments on the changing role of technology in the language classroom.