Sunday, April 09, 2006

Blogging (a) means (of) reflection?

Just browsing through my bloglines and came upon the post that I was going to write, only not so eloquently. It is part of my thinking from yesterday's post on reflective teaching and also my thoughts on the new requirement for teachers in Victoria to renew their registration on or before the fifth anniversary of their full registration (which will not affect teachers in the short term). As part of this the Victorian Institute of Teaching wants to to "canvass teachers' views about professional learning." The institute sees that it is important for teachers "to demonstrate over the preceding five years that they have maintained an appropriate level of professional practice with reference to the Standards of Professional Practice for Renewal of Registration, and continue to be fit to teach" and requires a "strong commitment to professional learning. Teachers know that exposure to new ideas is essential for continuing learning and the invigoration of practice, and that when this is perceived to be of value, teachers are motivated to renew their practice."
I'm convinced that at least for some blogging will be a part of the way that teachers demonstrate their commitment to professional learning. And now to the post that caught my eye. It is by Christopher Sessums who has written lots of thought provoking stuff recently.
Blogging can "provok(e) levels of awareness. Blogging can be seen as a constructive and projective medium. Blogging allows us to shape our feelings as to what kind of people we are. It becomes a mirror for us to look into (What am I thinking? How do I feel about teaching, learning and computing? Can I create or offer something meaningful?) Blogging allows me to look at myself in the reflection of the medium. Turkle (Sherry Turkle (2005). The second self: Computers and the human spirit. Cambridge: MIT Press) notes that computing can threaten our independence. In essence we can become hooked on it....Yet, blogging allows us to build a safe environment for ourselves where we can experiment with our identity; we can try on new thoughts and feelings, we can share this identity with others without the responsibility of having to actually deal with other people. (Really?) When I talk with people about blogging who do not blog or consider themselves technically all thumbs, they want to know what it means in general, what it’s all about. They want to know who I am blogging to, what I’m blogging about, why do I do it, what is the value or practicality of it. Do I tell them I’m world-building?
When you see it in this light, blogging is more than just professional learning - it is the opposite of the "unexamined life" which Socrates so disparaged.


  1. Totally agree with many of the thoughts here...

    I recently have been thinking alot about (and recently blogged) about the cultural shift to which we have become very independant especially in terms of media & online content.

    --RC of

  2. Recently new to blogging, but this is quickly becoming my new "pet project." Came upon your site and want to thank you for sharing the post article.

  3. Fantastic. I agree totally and I feel the reflection and learning I do when blogging is some of the best learning I have experienced in my life. When I was considering doing further study this year I decided against it and part of the reason was because I felt that blogging would be more challenging to me and I couldn't commit to both.

  4. Hi Jo,

    I agree totally. I've been following Christopher's recent postings with interest, as this is something I'm trying to achieve with UK teachers. The requirement for teachers in Victoria to renew their registrations after five years sounds like an extremely good idea. It puts them on a similar professional footing to doctors. If a blog is allowed as evidence of professional development it should encourage the sort of reflective practice you and Christopher talk about.

    But, until there's some sort of extrinsic motivation, like the registration renewal process, I can't see reflective thinking happening in the general course of teachers' busy lives. It will drop off the list of priorities unless it's built into their everyday practice.