Wednesday, March 09, 2005

From Australia

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!


At 8:31 AM, Blogger Rosa G. said...

Welcome! I have a lot of questions that I'd like to ask you, but I'll spare you the barrage and ask just this one: what is it about the Australian educational system that keeps blogging from taking off as it has in the US? I'd be very interested in knowing how pedagogy and theory and real world computer access are similar to and different from the US. But I don't expect you to answer it all in one post ; )

Anyhow, a hearty welcome! Thanks for posting.

Joanna Rosa Giovanna

At 12:14 AM, Blogger Jane said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 12:18 AM, Blogger Jane said...

Rosa - I wish I knew the answer! Maybe then I'd understand the problem! This is just a quick post - I'll give it more thought before I reply properly. And, of course, I'm really speaking from my experience at one part of one institution - although, having been asked to speak to, write for and create blogs for teachers all over Australia, I don't think it's just specific to my teaching area here!

At 7:50 AM, Blogger Sharon Gerald said...

Hi there, Jane. I'm looking forward to learning more about you and your work in Australia. Thanks for linking to my blog. I didn't know anyone other than my students even knew that was there! Cheers, Sharon

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