Archive for November 9th, 2004

Why We Teach

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This is the fourth semester we have used
blogs in our teaching.  We have had our students read blogs, do assignments
posted on blogs, review blogs, write written reports on blogs, give oral reports on blogs, comment on
blogs, post on blogs and edit their
own blog
.  Each semester we
have leaned more about the utility of and possibilities for using blogs in teaching,
and each semester we have been incrementally more successful.

This semester, as a first stage to actually blogging, we
had them each choose a blog of personal interest, read it every day for
two weeks, and present it to the class in the computer lab. Some of them
were incredible, blogs we would never have found on our own.

We submit, as proof of this point, the delightful "Dog’s
Dinner
" which the lovely Lidia presented as a blog from Poland. Turns
out it is the work of an American ex-pat, an ESL teacher in fact, like
the
Dowbrigade.
And this guy, who blogs out of a Cybercafe in some small city in central
Poland, can really write! For example, from a posting on the mouth-watering
Polish delicacy "Bread
with Lard
":

I try to avoid drinking in the afternoon, but the pub on the corner
of the street where I live offers free slices of bread with lard
until 5 PM, and today I simply couldn’t resist having a pint of beer
and
a few slices of larded bread as I read another few pages of King
Jesus
by Robert Graves, a secular, but fanciful account of Jesus’ life,
full of dry yet intriguing arcana: it reads like another addendum
to The
Lord of the Rings, written by the Oscar Wilde who wrote "Salome," on
quaaludes.

That’s our kind of blogging English teacher!

Our delight was even greater today, when we finally coaxed
our class into making their first tentative postings to Monkeybrain.
Imagine our surprise when the first posting was from Jae Yeon, a graceful
but quiet Korean student and consisted, in its entirety, of "Hi, it’s
me!! It was snowy yesterday, it made me sad. This is my new blog .I just
created it a few days ago."

She had actually gone ahead, based just on reading the
Dowbrigade and the blogs she and her classmates researched, plus a few
hints and starting points from us, and established a pretty decent "Blogger"
blog
! With photos and everything!

Check it out here. Moments like there are what makes teaching
worthwhile.

Quote of the Day

25

“And now the liberals want to stop President Reagan from selling chemical warfare agents and military equipment to Saddam Hussein, and why? Because Saddam ‘allegedly’ gassed a few Kurds in his own country. Mark my words. All of this talk of Saddam Hussein being a ‘war criminal’ or ‘committing crimes against humanity’ is the same old thing. Liberal Hate Speech! And speaking of poison gas . . . I say we round up all the drug addicts and gas them.”

-Rush Limbaugh, Nov. 3, 1988