Thursday, April 20, 2006

Students of Teaching English in Japan - A New Blogging Project!

I have started a new project with my English Teaching Methodologies 3 (ETM3) class called "Students of Teaching English in Japan."
We will be doing both group and individual blogging work and have three types of blogs: A group discussion blog, individual llearner blogs, and a blog to post assignments, resources or announcements.
The first blog is called "Students of Teaching English in Japan". It is to serve as a group blog for ETM3 as well as my advisees and a portal to the individual blogs. Every week, I or another learner will summarize the hot topics appearing in the learners' individual blogs and link to them. Sometimes this blog will also host discussions with English teachers inside and outside Japan. The current topics on the group blog are Japanese Teacher Employement Tests and Comparing English Teaching in Thailand to English Teaching in Japan.
In the second type of blog or individual blog, learners will reflect on their own teaching, what they have learned in ETM3 and their own theories about teaching English. They are also free to write about anything they want. The goals for ETM 3 learners is to 1) Increase their understanding of English teaching and 2) Improve in English. This blog is my individual blog.
third type of blog will simply serve as a bulletin board for assignments, relevant anouncements and class resources.
I hope that you will come join us!


Guy Jean said...

Can you say a little about why you decided to use 3 different blogs? My own classes do not require so much reflection (tho I'd like to encourage my students to reflect as much as possible), and I don't want to overload them with blogging assignments when the focus of the course is speaking and listening (for example). Yet I realize also that there are advantages to having, say, 1 blog for announcements only, and 1 group/class blog, etc. How do students feel about this arrangement? Any resistance/complaints?

JH said...

Thanks for the question. I am glad to have the opportunity to explain my thinking behind having the three types of blogs.
The discussion blog is designed for anyone outside the class. Currently, I am the primary user of it and I use it to summarize the weekly discussions and point out some interesting student posts (but not all the interesting student posts). Eventually, we will use it for some on-line group discussion activities with other teachers, but for the time being the major purpose of the blog is to make it easier for anyone outside the class to follow what we are doing and comment on student blogs.
The assignment and announcement blog is designed for class members. I thought that if the discussion blog was cluttered with assignments and announcements that it would be confusing for people outside the class to navigate. I wanted one blog with only the issues and another blog for random announcments etc. So, I made the assignments blog.
Currently, students are only writing in their individual blogs. During our graduation in March, I learned from the outgoing class that I have a reputation for being a teacher that gave a lot of assignments. I am actually a lot more reasonable than I used to be. This semester I have been giving short weekly assignments to help fuel discussion in class. Last year when I used blogs for the same class, blogs seemed to take the place of class discussion. This year, I hope that blogs enhance it rather than replace it. This week, learners in my class will comment on the blogs of learners in a teacher education program in Thailand. I am excited to hear about how this turns out in our next class.

Guy Jean said...

Thanks, JH, this was most helpful.