As those of you who have followed this blog for a while may know, blogging has become the focus of my current MA research. It is now nearly two years since my first ever post and in that time this blog has come to play a major role in my development as a language teacher and my online professional identity. That was the initial reason why I wanted to research this area - to find out more about the role blogs have to play in a teacher’s self-development.
Individual or part of a group? Image by tkksummers
Earlier this week, I was discussing how my research is taking shape with my dissertation supervisor and I mentioned that my interest was in how individual language teachers use their personal blogs for self-development. In that way that academic tutors often do, she immediately honed in on three words I had used without really considering their weight and meaning: individual, personal and self.
However, as the discussion continued, I began to mention comments, blog rolls, links to posts shared via social media and the relationships that begin to form with between the writer and the readers (who may also exchange roles when interacting on each other’s blogs). My supervisor pointed out that this was taking me away from the individual and personal aspect I had begun with. That got me thinking that perhaps my idea of ‘self-development’ was not quite the right angle to investigate from - maybe the community and connections made with other teacher-bloggers are more important for enabling development.
Blogs are inherently personal in nature - the main body of content, the layout and the links shared are all chosen and composed by an individual. And yet, through this individual space on the web, we are able to connect with teachers worldwide, exchange experiences, ideas and advice and be active as readers as well as authors.
So, my question to all you blogging teachers out there is:
Do you see you blog as your own personal space for expressing and developing your thoughts and ideas about ELT?
Do you see it as part of an active community of practice where shared experiences contribute to something more than just self-development?
Your answers in a comment please.