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The February 2010 issue of the Asian EFL Journal has an article that Wendy Bowcher and I wrote on using blogs. The title is “Using Blogs in ESL/EFL Teacher and Teacher-Traning“. 

Part of the article is about some research that we did on students who used a blog as preparation for writing a paragraph contrasting high school education in two cultures. We asked the students:  “Do you think the blog was a useful part of writing the paragraph on high school experiences?” and 100% of those who participated answered “yes.” That was pretty rewarding.

http://asian-efl-journal.com/pta_February_2010_pg.php

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Since this is my first blog entry, I thought it would be fun to start with an entry on blogs. Last semester, I used a blog with my writing students. The topic was to contrast high school education in different countries. In previous semesters, I had paired students myself by guessing which students

Blogging for Beginners

Blogging for Beginners

were likely to find the most differences in their high school experiences. Most of the time, my pairings worked well, but I always had that odd pair who found their experiences were very similar. Who would have guessed that high school in Argentina was so similar to high school in Jordan?

It was possible that a blog might help. About three weeks before the blog assignment was due, I asked each student to enter a comment on a blog that I set up for our class. This was for homework. Then (during class time) about a week before the final assignment was due, students looked over the comments and chose someone who seemed to have had an experience in high school that was different from their own. Since everyone needed a partner, we had to do a little shifting around, but this was not a problem and the pairing worked well. After the students were paired, I gave them some time to talk. Their goal was to get more information for the homework assignment. Using a blog allowed students to pair themselves. It saved class time since the discussion part of the lesson was reduced and it made for more detailed paragraphs with more interesting differences.

If you would like to see the blog from last semester, please go to High Schools Around the World. If you would like to see the blog my students are working on this semester, please go to High Schools in Your First Culture.  If you would like to learn more about blogging with students, please see a presentation that I made on this topic: Blogging!

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