It's truly fascinating reading CCE - Rosa, your fluency and regular postings awe me, but it was your post on being interviewed which prompted me to write. I felt an immediate sense of belonging then! I'm not sure why I became a teacher in the first place - and I think it had far more to do with being the main wage-earner in the family - but, once in, that was it. I think I've been lucky: I've taught in four different countries, and I'm currently teaching in a dual-sector university in Melbourne. That means we have students who are studying Technical and Further Education courses, and students who are enrolled in Higher Education (degree - and higher degree) courses. It's a fascinating cross-section - and I get to teach them all in our self-access and Open Access (yes, there's a difference!) facilities. I also teach classes: for the past two years, I've been teaching mainly English for Academic Purposes - academic and language skills for ESL students who come from a tremendous variety of countries.
My interest in (obsession with?) blogs started about three years ago: I was doing a course in Teaching and Learning Online - and scanning the net for ideas for a major project. Once hooked, I guess that was it. Blogs hadn't taken off then in the way that they have now, perhaps. Certainly I had to put up with an awful lot of teasing from the other staff here - but I survived! I immediately started using blogs with my classes - and I've done so ever since. I use them mainly as 'group blogs' - much friendlier than discussion boards. Last year, I actually started reflecting on what the various groups had accomplished, and writing up my research for the first time. I find that my ESL students gain so much: the classroom dialogue doesn't stop when the class ends - it continues over weekends, holidays - and long after a course has finished. I am fascinated by the oral influence on the student' writing styles - and by the way in which that improves their fluency in their second - or third or fourth - language.
I'm wondering whether anyone else has experience in this area. Blogging seems to be more common in the States than it is here. Obviously our education systems are very different - do you think the US sysem is more encouraging? I'm also dying to ask someone about intellectual copyright and ethics issues: I'm really strugggling to get advice on the ethics of using student blogs for research! I'm not sure why it is quite such a problem - but it seems to be!
I really enjoy CCE - and I'm enjoying your other links, too. I loved the definition of plagiarism in Sharon's blog - a great analogy indeed!