Teacher to Teacher

Andrea LunsfordANDREA A. LUNSFORD is the former director of the Program in Writing and Rhetoric at Stanford University and teaches at the Bread Loaf School of English. A past chair of CCCC, she has won the major publication awards in both the CCCC and MLA. For Bedford/St. Martin's, she is the author of The St. Martin's Handbook, The Everyday Writer and EasyWriter; The Presence of Others and Everything's an Argument with John Ruszkiewicz; and Everything's an Argument with Readings with John Ruszkiewicz and Keith Walters. She has never met a student she didn’t like—and she is excited about the possibilities for writers in the “literacy revolution” brought about by today’s technology. In addition to Andrea’s regular blog posts inspired by her teaching, reading, and traveling, her “Multimodal Mondays” posts offer ideas for introducing low-stakes multimodal assignments to the composition classroom.

Blogging as Pedagogy

posted: 8.21.14 by Andrea Lunsford

Colleague Adam Banks and students in our Bread Loaf summer course on Writing, Technologies, and Digital Cultures gave me a link to Silvia Rosenthal Tolisano’s blog, Langwitches, and specifically to a posting in which she argues for the pedagogical value of blogging.

As I travel around the country visiting teachers and students, I find that a lot of them are blogging—both for classroom work and out of school.  And in a recent informal poll of students at my own university, I found that almost all of them followed at least one blog—and that a majority of them kept a blog of their own.  Of course, as the students pointed out, some blogs are “too stupid for words,” and “not worth a minute of time.”  But that’s true of all forms of communication and it doesn’t seem to stop students from pursuing those blogs that do make a lot of sense to them.

So Tolisano’s posting on the pedagogical importance of blogs struck me as being right on target, but not overstated in that rah-rah way that some use for advocating technologies of various kinds.  In it, Tolisano says that no matter what the grade level, blogging can enhance learning in classrooms in four key areas:  reading, writing, reflecting, and sharing.  She goes on to explain what she means in each instance.  Writing on a blog, for example, is about more than words, allowing students to use sound and images to create their messages.  In addition, bloggers write for particular audiences, which builds a sense of community, and bloggers can create conversations and inspire other interactions.  Finally, writing on a blog allows for hyperlinking and other activities that give writers practice in participating in the digital world.

 Blogging as Pedagogy by Silvia Tolisano on Langwitches

Tolisano offers equally compelling ways in which blogging enhances reading, reflecting, and sharing.  And while she doesn’t mention anything that I hadn’t already thought about in terms of the efficacy of blogs, she puts all of it in such clear and succinct form that I found myself nodding in agreement at the end of the post.  So check out what she has to say and perhaps you may decide to comment on her statement—or to follow her blog.

I’ve been keeping this teacher-to-teacher blog for three years now, and I’ve recently had a great time looking back over entries that I still like a lot.  So I plan to keep blogging away . . . and wonder if you are blogging too??

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