The Critical Blogger

As much as I like the idea of blogs, I’ve always struggled with my own blogging. I stress over my blog post entirely too much, and I struggle with narrowing my focus. In a way I feel that I should be thinking of a blog like a paper, but papers and blogs are also two different formats. (These are some of the observations I’m making while reflecting on my blogging that won’t necessarily show up in my actual posts.)

This week’s task of analyzing our own blogs has been insightful. Here is what I’ve discovered about my blogs:

  • I’m very critical. I seem to read the texts with a “prove it to me” approach, as if the author needs to “sell” me on their points and theories. I don’t think that this is a bad approach, though. The points and issues I bring up in my blog posts are supported, either with examples from my classroom or passages from the texts. Don’t we teach our students to prove (support) their thoughts and ideas?
  • I think I’m also defensive in my responses. (Here’s where my critical, “prove it to me” approach can be bad.) Several times throughout my posts I give teachers more credit than I feel that the author(s) are giving us in their books. For instance, when discussing Salvatori and Donahue’s ideas, I pointed out that I would like to think that most English teachers are already implementing the approaches and strategies presented in the text. I mention this again when discussing Gee and his lack of specific references/examples for an English classroom.
  • In addition to pointing out that most teachers are probably already implementing some of the approaches presented, I point out that we may just be using different jargon. For instance, I have several activities that are quite similar to Salvatori and Donahue’s  formal “Difficulty Paper.”
  • I make connections to my own teaching experiences, and I often use some of my own class activities as examples. I share activities that I think are successful, as well as learning experiences and areas in which I need to grow and improve.
  • I also make connections between the texts that we are reading. In particular, I make a lot of connections to Scholes and the expert/novice learner article we read for the first class.
  • Although I am critical, I think that I try to stay positive in my posts. (I really do love the class and the texts we are reading!) I do find that I end each post with my “issue” with (or question about) the text. For instance, “Although I understand and agree with Gee’s principles, I am concerned about…” Or, Along with the praise for Blau’s work […] I do have some questions.” I seem to structure my responses by first discussing what I agree with, and then discussing the issues/questions.

Finally, my blogs are very lengthy. I’m almost always well beyond the suggested word count. I worked on it—here’s 501! 🙂