The Teacher Blog: a Powerful Reflective Tool

If you have a professional Blog then I hope that you have had the same experience as me.  If you do not then I think you should give it a go even if you are going to keep it to yourself like a diary or journal. Just by writing down your thoughts you will look at you actions in a different way and reflect on them and I believe that the act of reflection is one of the keys to being a learner.

Only 4 months ago I published my first post on this blog with the only person I was intending to read it being me or my principal when it came time for my appraisal.  I did not really have a goal or vision, but just wanted a place to record the successes and fails and moments of clarity.  After a few posts I realised that it was missing the connection of others so shared with a few members of staff and then Tweeted it to my PLN.

Made with GIF Shop on the iPhone. First attempt and might be a bit annoying?

Once that first share through twitter was out in cyber space the blog became a true reflective tool.  I had those people who I think of as friends and respect as educators commenting and reacting to my posts in a positive way or in a feed forward way that gave me links to further learning or ideas from others – success as there was an audience.  Then came the next point that I had not thought through – if make a post public it can bounce around the world many times and the people that you get feedback from you have never met before and often are not educators, who was my initial target audience. Posts have been pinned and re-pinned or pinged back or tweeted or posted on FaceBook and scooped then re-scooped; a whole new language of online literacy.

I reflected on a Fighting Fantasy book that I read to my class.  A few teachers commented, but scores of gamers sent me messages commenting on the photo (26)concept.  Their comments ranged from how their teacher read a similar book to them and it was a highlight of their education or a teacher hassled them about gaming (Dungeons & Dragons etc…) and it was the beginning of the end to their respect of teachers and education.  Then I received a comment from the man who authored the book and WOW, what a Fan Boy moment that was.  I wrote a post on my classroom design. I was sent links to others who were on the same wavelength and had Swedish designers ask me questions about why and how I had done certain things and what the effect on the students was from the choices that I had made.

But, taking aside the fact that people actually read my reflections I asked myself why I actually do this and discovered that it is therapeutic.  By recording down 2-3 posts a week I am looking at my teaching practice in greater detail and am a better teacher for it.  Each post takes me 10-30 minutes to write, but that 30 minutes is time I am thinking only about my teaching and classroom practice.

My blog is..

  • …therapeutic.
  • …makes me ask the hard questions.
  • …it lets me celebrate the successes.
  • …models the writing process and although my students do not read my blog they know that I write it. Like them I am a writer.
  • …a record of my learning journey.
  • …a portal for feedback

6 thoughts on “The Teacher Blog: a Powerful Reflective Tool

  1. I agree, Luke! I first began blogging to reflect on my teaching practice as it was required as part of my professional development. Now I also find it therapeutic and a way of consolidating my thoughts. Our staff and students are now also being taught and encouraged to reflect by blogging. It’s pretty exciting! I am looking forward to the day when our staff are all following each other and are commenting on and encouraging each other via blogging. Are your colleagues all on board?

    1. Hey there Christine,
      As of yet I know that I have gotten two to try blogging professionally, but not sure if they are that into it or see the reward of it. I don’t think that I could go back to the days pre blog.

  2. Nice post Luke, I started around the same time that you did and have similarly found it a great experience. Starting to think I haven’t been as open with some of my failures, even though that’s where the real learning will lie. Next steps and improvements for us all!

  3. Luke, what a great post. I often have questioned the idea of schools who are pushing for students to blog but there is little evidence of their own staff blogging. Thanks for sharing a clear reflection about the importance of blogging for reflection. All the best.

    1. I think that by making myself to write I am becoming more aware of what I ask my students to do every day as well as getting a better awareness of how to edit and re-write a piece to make better sense.

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