A blog is like a conversation

A blog is like a conversation

Blogs can provide teachers and learners with a tool that is very easy to set up and that provides a space where they can interact and practise language use. Considering blogs in education generally, Will Richardson points out that blogging means linking to content, analyzing and synthesizing that content, and writing for real readers, with audience response in mind. Blogging can therefore be seen as a highly reflective form of writing, which is, at the same time, a form of conversation with readers who respond through comments.

In their articles, Ducate and Lomicka (2005) make some suggestions for language learning activities that involve blog reading and blog writing. As they say: “Two obvious opportunities for students in the language classroom would be to participate in the blogging community as readers and writers.”

They suggest that learners who read blogs in the target language can engage in a range of activities: writing weekly summaries of the blog, using either the target language or the native language; recording new vocabulary learned in the blog; exploring the hyperlinks referenced in the blog; documenting cultural information learned in the blog (p. 413).

Once they are familiar with blogs from their own reading, learners can become bloggers themselves. The following kinds of activities are suggested: keeping a journal with an option for commentary by other learners; exchanging blog addresses with another language class and reading one another’s posts; maintaining a travel journal while abroad (especially on a study tour to the target language area); writing posts on cultural topics (p. 414).

What do you think of these suggested uses of blogging? Do you have any other suggestions about how blogging can be used in language education?

Let me know your thoughts by responding in the comments below – don’t forget to read and respond to your classmates’ comments as well!

Image credit: CC BY Andrew

74 thoughts on “Blogging and language learning

  1. I think letting students to participate in the blog community both as readers and writers is a good practice for their language learning, by sharing a wide variety of ideas, methods and opinions on language learning.

    Since nowadays social networks are very popular among younger generation, and everyday there are some hot issues that students would like to talk about. Presenting them in the target language in the blog can be a interesting things. Because usually these hot issues would involved images or videos, so students may search information using the target language.

    Also, students can be suggested to do some personal column according to everybody’s personal hobby or knowledge in the area of the target language. Then sharing through links among each other.

    Further, blog is a good place to collect resources in the target language. Students can put some resources from different sources in order, such as pictures, mp3, essay, videos that under same topic but in the different sources of Internet.

    • I agree with you last point! Blog has been upgrading nowadays which has evolved from a place where simple ideas and comments are shared to one where audio, video and other different media form can be set up. Thus people have more channel to express and share.

    • I agree with your suggestions for making students do some personal column according to their personal hobbies. It can enhance students’ learner independence. They’d like to search more materials to both read and write for topics they are interested in and will not easily feel bored.

    • Agreed with your last point that blog is a good spot to collect resources in the target language. There is no definite role for readers and writers nowadays. They can be the same person who give responses and express idea at the same time. Furthermore, blog allows people to collect and contribute different ideas. It is a good self-learning tool for people.

    • I agree with your idea that blogs could be used as a place to collect resources for language learning. Students could upload some useful materials on the blogs and share with others about their learning experience, which is a good way to promote communications among language learners.

  2. I think exploring the hyperlinks referenced in the blog can be a really impressive way to learn and share. Blogger can set any website as hyperlink on one side of the webpage, and it can be his favorite blogger, the video related to the blog article and the useful resource of studying which is regularly updated every single day. It is easy to check and see if there is any funny updates.
    One thing I notice nowadays is that the effect of other fast social media can be a shock to blog. With life space speeding up, people tend to get information which are easy and time-saving rather than redundant and time-consuming. Thus new ways should be explored to satisfy the needs of the times, such as heading towards certain direction. Disorganized blog article can be replaced by columns or categorizing professional knowledge.

    • Hybperlink in blog is really fantastic. Particularly in academic writing, when people are quoting some resources, it is easy for them to cite the website so that reader can have easy accesss to original sourse.

    • I agree with your idea that nowadays’ social media gives blog much pressure. People tend to use weibo, which is more convenient and easy to get the instant messages. I think, blog as a communication medium, should improve their style for the users’ needs. But the advantage of language learning and practicing on the blogs cannot be deleted. It is a good place for learners sharing their opinions by practicing their written language.

    • Hi, this is another Chloe replying! 🙂
      I think hyperlink in blog is very useful and convenient to explore new things. Just click it and a new page comes up. But in some blogs, there are a lot of hyperlinks of advertisement, which is really annoying.

    • I quite agree with your last view. The information system today is developing in a such a fast speed that people are exposed to a wider range of social media tools. And people are getting used to use more time-saving and instant methods to convey their messages.

  3. I totally agree with the idea to use blog as a way to teach language. Actually, this is quite fresh to me since I just used it for personal interest. According to my own experience, I have been a teacher for a couple of years and in writing part, one of the major problem in students is that they cannot persist in writing. Every time when I ask them to write something they feel it so difficult at the beginning because they are lack of practice in writing. So blogging, which allows them to share and write anything they really have interest in is a particularly good way for them to participate in writing activity regularly, even on a daily basis. In addition, another advantage of blogging is the interactive function through free reading access and comment. By this, students can use this form of communication to interchange ideas politically and culturally. Of course, they can also learn writing by reading other students’ blog articles, which is kind of peer learning process.
    As for the suggestions in blogging as a pedagogical way, I suppose that we can encourge students to use blogging website in the language they are learning, which can provide them better chance to know more about the target language and communicate with people in target language more easily.

    • Yea, blogging in a way is similar to the ‘free writing’ technique used by language teachers. The idea is to promote students’ interest in writing.

  4. I think the suggestions about blogging and language learning are very helpful. For example, by “recording new vocabulary learned in the blog”, learners could know many expressions and idioms that might not be learned from textbooks or in the classrooms and by“documenting cultural information learned in the blog”, learners would have a better understanding of the culture of the target language.
    Since most of the students are interested in the Internet communication, they will become more enthusiastic about language learning through blogging. Blogs are good platforms for language learners to communicate with each other and share their own language learning experience.
    Blogs can also be used as online forum, on which teachers could initiate a topic for discussion every week to practice students’ writing skill and critical thinking ability. Students could also talk about their questions or confusion about language learning and find suggestions from their peers or language experts.

    • The online forum seems widely used by many teachers these days. It does help students acquire a lot and share their feelings freely here. Anyway, I love it!

    • I agree with you. When writing and reading blogs, students may come across new words, expressions and idioms that they have not learned in the classroom. Blogs are great platforms providing students contexts and real communicative situations when learning new expressions. Therefore, students may probably understand, memorize and use the new expressions better through using blogs.

    • Interest is the best teacher. Although teachers can provide students with various reading materials, without motivation and interest, students can hardly engage in the learning. By using the blog, students can choose the passages which interest, so they will manage to read or even post a reply with the help of dictionary.

  5. I think these suggested uses of blogging are of great importance to language learning. Since on the blogging it’s a virtual world, people are not distinguished by their ranks, their academic abilities etc. and there exists no discrimination here, which enables learners of different levels to freely express their perspectives. This is very helpful for students to develop their critical thinking. Moreover, as the blogs or commentaries learners write is public and can be seen by their peers, they will be more careful with the word choices and the grammars in case of avoiding embarrassment. Last semester, some of our teachers use the “discussion” function of canvas on which students post their opinions and also reply to others’ opinions about the required reading, which is much more like the uses of blogging.
    Beside reading and writing, blogging can also be applied to listening and speaking. I remembered when I prepared for my IELTS exam, I searched the Internet and found some bloggers who post some useful materials about IELTS on their blogs, and learners comment on their blogs asking questions about the exam as well as exchange their anxieties and experiences. In this way, it serves as a platform for sharing and communication.

    • Yes, I used the IELTS materials founded in some peoples’ bloggers as well. This is definitely very important for English learners.

    • Your experience reminds me of the time when I prepared my IELTS exam. Kind of similar to yours, I read some blogs about the exam items and tips. Also, we were like a group to encourage and help each other. The real fantastic thing is that blogs bring us the sense of community, which is feeling great.

    • I strongly pro with you in terms of sharing IELTS materials or other language learning sources in blogs, cuz I had the same experience as you did which I think it’s quite helpful.
      But I sorta cannot agree in your opinion of ‘no discrimination is existing in blog’, Basically, blogging as a social network, in which netizens might even be unidentifiable, is way more dangerous than real world situation sometimes, because people can express freely without consideration so that it will easily become a kind of cyber attack.

    • Zoe, this issue of cyber-attacks is an interesting one. How might one go about ensuring that students have a positive experience online as well as treat each other in positive and constructive ways?

    • Cyber attack and bullying are unavoidable on platforms. However, teachers can set up ground rules and monitor the site for class blogs used by younger learners. This should be the lesson 1 before postings are made public.

    • I have the same experience in finding material related to some exams. And I do agree that we do pay attention to the word choices, grammatical uses or the checking of the article when we post something on the blog. But, the situation happens when I communicate with teachers or classmates who discuss on academic topics with me. When I share some interesting things, I won’t be too serious. Is it good for learning?

    • When I was papering my IELTS exam, I also subscribed some famous bloggers who had been sharing useful materials on their blogs and one of my favorites is Simon, a former IELTS examiner. I browsed his blog weekly and found it really helpful.

  6. Blogging is kind of old-fashioned in our daily life, since people prefer some website or apps which can transfer message ASAP, for instance: Facebook, twitter, Wechat, Instagram. However, when referring to language learning, especially looking for some useful learning materials, blogs, definitely, are somewhere people would go. Tiffany mentions about the IELTS materials are shared by people via their blogs, which reveals the importance of blog in our life.

    Language learning is more about the habit of language learning. The comments left by people are good resources for the usage of language acquiring. Except for this, culture perception is also essential for language learning; various backgrounds of bloggers can help people have a better understanding of the specific language culture and make more friends all over the world. Later when people get to know more information about some special friends, it’s likely for them to establish a closer friendship, namely becoming keypals, or rather, exchanging their whatsapp ID and keeping communicating much more, therefore, language can improve a lot as well.

    • I think so. Although blogging is not so popular nowadays, there are advantages of why they exist for so long time. Communication on the blogs is one of the most obvious advantage in our daily life. We can make more friends in a bigger society circle. Also, in this way, we are practicing our language. There is much to learn in the ways of how to use language when communicating with others.

    • I find your opinion that blogging can be regarded as a platform of perceiving culture and making friends interesting, which makes blogging more multi-functional than just promote language education in a traditional way. Actually, I think interacting with peers could only improve the fluency of language with the increase of frequency. But chatting with native speakers could have access to the real use of language.

  7. Nowadays, blogging becomes a new and popular way to record individual or group’s own thinking and stories. To someone who loves writing, blog provides a pragmatic platform to show and enhance the writing and thinking ability. In fact, blogging is beneficial to language learning not only because it is innovative and updated but also it allows learners to talk something they are interested in. For the motivation of learning, interest always comes first. Also, blogging offers the chance of sharing and communicating with other peers which might inspire each other and then form a community, a community sharing the same interest and the goal of language learning. Besides, the learners could create their own ideas and thoughts and lighten others. It is essential to the cultural communication among the group and broaden the way of thinking. Hence, blogging makes so many affordances to language learning, it is worthwhile to promote in teaching and learning I think.

    • Internet can be a very creative thing to promote teaching as you said that interest always comes first. And by using blog in the teaching process, many interesting content can be put into it to achieve the idea of valuing students’ interests.

    • I agree with you. Indeed, blogging has its own advantages. But for teachers ,how to use blogging in class with efficiency and effectiveness is still a preamble to be considered. In addition, for students themselves, they have to learn to tell which materials in the blog worth to abstract.

  8. As mentioned before, I think the suggested uses of blogging are practical and feasible. Actually students consider that reading and writing courses in class may be more or less boring. But when blogging is used as a platform for practicing language use, students’ attention will be attracted. Personally students are lack of motivation in writing in traditional language learning, because they do that just for coping with the work, and lack of true inner feelings and interests in writing, while blogging can relieve this phenomenon to some extent. The topics of blogging are not as limited as before, and students have lots of choices to write in their blog and express their own ideas with adding images, videos and hyperlinks to enrich the content. Another difference from traditional writing is that blogging is much more easier for the peer exchange reading and evaluating. Students can comment as well as learn from each other. With the consciousness of the presence of readers in their minds, they will be more responsible for writing and avoid mistakes consciously. Then their reading and writing ability will be improved during this procedure.

    • I agree with you, and just like the mentioned article said that since blogging does not involve too many technical difficulties, it can encourage and attract student more to some extent.

  9. I think these suggested uses of blogging are great, especially the one encouraging students to leave comments on others’ posts and review commentaries from other learners. Peer review is an important technique in writing courses. Blog, as a public platform, facilitates online discussions and provides convenience for learners in reading other learners’ writings and suggestions. Moreover, as bloggers, learners will become much more motivated in writing since they have many audiences or even fans besides their writing teachers.

    Additional, I think blogging can help maintain interpersonal relationship between the teacher and students since blogging increases the interaction of students and the teacher outside the classroom.

    In terms of other applications, I suggest that teacher could encourage students to choose two or more interesting blogs and share them to the class on a weekly basis so that students can practise their oral English. Besides students, teacher can also use the functions provided by blogs, like comments and forums, to collect feedback of his/her teaching.

    • Your suggestions are great. Yes, blogging is not only used to assess students’ language learning , but also evaluate teacher’s teaching. Students can have a say anytime they have prblems with the teaching and the anonymity would avoid embarrassment.

    • I agree with your point on using blog in writing course. I think it would be effective if the writing content is related to students’ own interest. For example, after a class for narrative writing, for a student who is interested in history, his written assignment could be something about a historical event, while for those who like traveling, it could be something about a trip. However, it needs teachers’ effort to make things under control.

  10. I think the suggestions for language learning by blogging are quite good and feasible, especially the one with hyperlinks reference. It’s simply because people tend to like concise stuffs which can lead to other contents, like long texts, audio clips or a piece of video, thus saving them a great deal of time.
    Indeed, information superhighway has changed our lifestyle completely – everything should be less time-consuming. We can easily find that, compared with micro-blog, a real long blog might be a bit out of date and less-commonly seen nowadays. As far as I’m concerned micro-blog can also be very helpful in language learning. Say for example, there are mobile applications created for language learners to learn and memorize English vocabulary. After that learners can post their “achievement” of words memory in their micro-blogs (blogs) just like the way people punch in at work every day. In this case, it serves as a kinda self-supervising way to encourage learners to keep learning vocabulary every day, meanwhile it can also be regarded as sharing of the use of this learning APP to friends in the blog.

    • Blogs can be highly interactive and responsive and its a good way for self- directed learning. Learners can choose to read the topics that they like and explore more on the topic. Bloggings are beneficial for different types of learners. However, how to keep students get engaged and involved with the blog continuously to learn vocabulary everyday?

  11. Using blogging in language leanring is stimulating compared with other comventioanal written exercises. I agree that blogging is “a highly reflective form of writing” because with the knowledge that their posts will be viewed by lots of others, bloggers will critically evaluate what they read and write and pay more attention to language forms. For another, blogging provides students with opportunities to use the language in real communication, though it is in written form. When stduents are engaged with partcicular topics they are interested in, they are enjoying information sharing and opinion exchange without thinking they are leanring the language. In return, desire to make more contrubution to the topics discussed, students would motivate themselves to learn the language better. The suggested ways of uses in blogging demonstrate how interactive websites can enhance language learning and I think it is also applicable to FB, Youtube, etc.
    I wonder if is possible to publish spoken blogs. It is better that blogging is not restricted to written forms, so that students can also practice their oral language when posting and responsing in audio forms.

    • Hi DeeDee. You’ve made some really interesting points here: I especially like the way that you highlight the way that blogs have the potential to engage students with a real audience. When it comes to other social media, like YouTube and FB, does anyone have any thoughts on how these platforms might be similar or different to blogs? And what about using video blogs (vlogs)? Any thoughts on that?

    • If I were a teacher, I would not encourage the frequent use of Facebook as a platform for language learning. Information on Facebook moves too quickly and does not give space for much depth. Feedbacks to posts on Facebook also tend to be short and driven by emotion/ impression, instead of well-analysed.
      Youtube/ vlog is an interesting one. Personally, I prefer written blogs more because I can skim read, and this is obviously more challenging for a video. Vlogs can allow the students to leverage different props, visual illustrations and even real-time recording to enrich the content of their message. However, it might be challenging for a language teacher if he has to teach video-making techniques, whilst fitting in sufficient language teaching.

    • I think your ideas are really interesting which drive me to leave a comment here. I have never thought of a spoken blog. It may be feasible! Students may practice speaking this way though the weaker ones may feel too embarrassed to share their recordings. Sometimes the poor performance may attract cyber bullying. There is no rose without a thorn?

  12. With the fast development of the technologies, more and more teachers employ the CALL teaching method in the classroom. Computer has become an indispensable medium in the language teaching.
    Blogging, as a popular type of communication, has adopted by increasing number of people. In the blogs, people can not only say what they want, but also have a look at others’ opinions and make a comment. In this way, blog is a good place for the language learners to practice their language use and learn how to interact with others with suitable utterance. Blog is a micro society where people learn how to use language and practice their language.
    Teachers can make use of the blogs in teaching. In the classroom, students can be required to write on the blogs promptly to practice their instant creation. Outside the classroom, teachers can also observe how students use language in the long distance. It is also a method that students can strengthen their self-study ability, and in which way students can learn language better when there is no teacher guiding.

    • I agree that it is a good self learning tool as hyperlinks of videos or further reading can be attached in the blogs. Learners can always learn beyond the text. However, learners who are less motivated, disciplined or interested in e learning may not benefit much from blogging since they have limited participation.

  13. I agree with your point that blogs can encourage students to write and interact freely without worrying too much. Compared with traditional teaching styles, students will not feel so stressful and they are used to writing in the cyber world. Yet, I think teachers still need to provide enough guidance to them throughout the initial posting stage so that students can develop a good practice of writing,

    • Sure. Teachers may need to show the blog in class several times in order to engage the students.
      There may be some prizes for the best bloggers or commenters as well to stimulate students’ motivation.

  14. According to the article, blogs perform as a bridge and platform of the exchanges between teachers and students or among students. We can share something, write something or commenting on something, which involves in more participation and engagement. This is a great way. For example, if we write something in English on the blog, visitors could read/comment. In this way, we ourselves are able to not only practise English writing and reading, but also share our hobbies and interests and find those who have common sense with us. Language improving and social communication are obtained at the same time.

    In terms of other uses, the teacher may post some articles, stories, or even some facts happening in the real life which students cannot learn from the textbook in the classroom. Then they can ask students to discuss on the blog. Or, the teacher could set a game to ask students to operate their own blog where the target language should be used and ask students to vote for the most interesting or the best one in the end.

    • I like your suggestion of setting up a game. Because I think students would be more interested in other things like games than writing a post or comment to others. It will motivates them well and in the same time, the students could learn the target language unconsciously.

  15. Nowadays, blogging is a very cool and popular way to express personal feelings or to share daily life or state individual point of views,etc. Especially for a new language beginner, making themselves to be a blogger can be the primary step to build up their passion for learning certain language. Different from traditional writing and reading, blogging can take place at anytime or anyplace and in particular much more intriguing than those traditional ways. Besides, reading others’ posts, it is another in directive way to enhance students’ language level, which may increase their vocabulary or expand their horizon. However, there are also disadvantages , such as lacking of standardization when posting that may make students hard to tell which is the correct way to employ their words. But all in all , blogging is a new way with effectiveness and efficiency for beginners.

    • I quite appreciate your idea that blogging makes language learning more convenient for there is no constrains for learners. They can arrange the language learning themselves independently, picking out the best time for them to learn language.

  16. For a certain blog, the comments can be used as students’ notebooks for recording the language points they have learned from it. Language learners can also make comments for communication. As it is mentioned above, the blog is just like a conversation. In a blog, learners can share ideas with each other. And by reading other people’s posts, learners can see how people’s opinions are similar to or different from each other. They can see how a certain theme can be considered from different perspectives. So this can help them enrich the knowledge for a specific theme.
    Blogging offers a platform for language learners. A blog can be a language learning center with many hyperlinks to other websites. The hyperlinks are with clear classifications. Once learners click the hyperlink, they can get access to the language learning resources accordingly. So the language learners can click differently according to their own needs.

  17. I think it is a good idea to employ blogging as a form of communication through which learners can be both readers and writers. It can motivate learners to learn a language automatically since blogging is a real communication. More importantly, it is also quite a good way for teachers to monitor everything and find out how they can help their students.

    But the problem of using blogging in language learning is that learner can hardly get enough error feedback as long as the language learners use does not interfere with communications. Therefor, I think it is best to use blogging in tandem learning. Since the target language learners use is actually the native language of their readers, they can easily get error feedback or any cultural information from their readers.

    • I agree with your opinion about using blogging in tandem learning. It is a fact that people often tolerate the incorrect use of language online as long as it dose not interfere their communication. By using tandem learning, different language learners can take advantage of their mother tongue to help each other improve writing proficiency and also cultivate their communicative competence.

  18. It was interesting how Will Richardson said in his post that he was looking for good blogs but then many he found were well-written but was not “connective” enough. The level of “connectivity” is something that we should bear in mind when making good use of new technology – to bear in mind the audience response, not simply the audience.

    With regards to the suggested activities, I’m not too sure how the exchanging of blog addresses would work. I just think people would prefer a centralized site where they can access everything, instead of deliberately visiting different addresses just to see others’ blogs. Would you agree?

    As I was thinking of other potential blogging activities, Adiche’s “The danger of a single story” came to mind (those of you who also took the Literary and Cultural Studies last semester may remember this?). It might be feasible to ask students to all blog about a common experience they share, e.g. a school trip or a charity presentation, with the end goal of creating a multi-faceted story through the blogs. Does this idea appeal to some of you also?

  19. I strongly agree with the opinion that “blogs provide a space where students can interact and practice language use.” Bloggers share useful information, personal experiences and etc. by writing and posting them on blogs. Using the target language, they practice their writing skills while blogging. Readers then could give their own comments and opinions below afterwards. In the process, they not only take part in the reading activities, they also think actively and critically. If they take turns, students would practice both their writing and reading abilities. I think that it is an effective way to learn from peers. In interaction with classmates, students language use will be improved.
    Compared with traditional reading comprehension exercises and composition writing assignments, blogging is more attractive for language learners and easier to arouse learners interest, especially for beginners. It pays more attention to the real training of communicative abilities, rather than the boring drill for language skills.

    • I agree with your point that blogging is more interactive and can be student-centred compared with drills. Yet, I am thinking blogging still involves reading and writing which may still be difficult for them, how can we help beginners to write at ease. Any ideas?

    • A reply to Carrie’s comment:

      I agree that beginners may come across problems such as vocabulary and grammar. I think we can suggest beginners to use e-dictionary when they browse a blog. I find this is a good method especially to real English novels. When I was an undergraduate, I always had the difficulty to finish a novel due to a piles of unfamiliar vocabularies. However, reading a e-book was easier for I can look up any unfamiliar words in the e-dictionary easily and quickly which is a good way to build up learners’ interests in reading and writing. Of course, learners may be easy to forget those words and have some difficulty to use the words correctly since there is less effort they’ve made, but they still can become familiar with some frequently-showing words.

      Also, I think teachers can employ graphic novel to help beginners to read and write at ease. Teachers can even ask students themselves to draw some pictures and ask them to give any explanations on their drawings.

  20. I do think blogging, as an interactive platform, functions significantly in students’ language learning. High school teachers could utilize this tool to maximize students writing proficiency to some extents. For example, a class writing blog could be created and a writing topic could be assigned monthly as homework. Students are asked to post their own writings onto the blog, help to correct and comment on at least one of their classmates’ work before a due day. The teacher then gives corrective feedback to each student by posting it on the comment column and selects some good writings among students’ works for others’ reference. In this way, students could learn from each other as their writings are showed in the public place, which is totally different from the traditional way of writing assessment where students’ works could only be seen and corrected by the teacher. Besides, a student could also make self-evaluation when helps to correct or reviews other students’ works as well as from the teacher’s feedback.
    Although there are multiple benefits of using the blog, I personally not a big fan of it, using it on a daily basis.

    • Compared with the traditional way of writing, the blogging offers more opportunities for peer feedback. Learners can see how others write, make comments and learn from each other. I agree with you that writing samples can be selected and teachers give feedback on grammar, content, organization and so on.In this way, the feedback can also be beneficial for the rest of students as reference.

  21. Putting blogging into the actual classroom setting, I am wondering whether my students (weaker ones) can adapt to blog reading and writing and hence cultivate a writing habit. I believe that this blog writing activity would be easier to manipulate in a class of more advanced learners who are willing to use English. Blogging activities such as keeping a travel journal and writing posts on cultural topics will indeed attract students who are eager to learn English. Undoubtedly, writing weekly summaries of the blogs can provide a continuous writing opportunities for students and allow them the flexibility to explore many interesting topics beyond classroom. Meanwhile, it may cause stress to some students in the initial stage as it requires effort in following the posts and responding to one another’s posts. Therefore, I would suggest a step-by-step approach in introducing blog writing to weaker students. Stage 1: Teachers pick some interesting articles on the blog where students can just give short comments. Stage 2: Students provide feedback to each other’s comments. Stage 3: Students select articles to be posted on the blog for other students to comment. Stage 4: Students write short posts in groups. Stage 5: Students write short posts individually. Are there any other feasible ways to promote blogging among weaker students?

  22. I strongly agree with Ducate and Lomicka. They mentioned that blog can make students participate as writers and readers. At the time of Grade 9, when blog was just becoming popular, my teachers required us to write posts in English each week as dairy. At that time, most of us found it was more interested in decorating the blog website than actually writing or reading. But still, because we have the motivation to do the blog, we practiced our English writing and reading after the class unconsciously. After reading this blog, I found that my teacher was really cool for using blog in teaching at that time. It not only practiced our writing and reading skills, but also made us to learn how to communicate with each other online.
    Also, I think if I need to use blog in language education, I would like to find out some similar genre (like discussion, agreement, recount, etc.) of blogs from different bloggers and ask students to find out the characteristics of different genre. Then, after they find out the characteristics, I would like to ask them to write their own blog in certain genre and make comments to each others. Of course, based on different level of student, I would choose different genre for them to practice. For example, for primary students, I would use recount.

  23. Actually I never used blog for the purpose of language learning before. I only used it for my personal social life. Later the microblog with the word limitation of 140 is in fashion so that few people continue blogging things and ideas.

    I do think blog provide an effective supplement to language learning. As both readers and writers in reading and commenting process, students can enhance their understanding of the target language. The most interesting thing, I think, is that students can see and reply others’ comments. In this case, students can discuss, argue, and even debate with their peers, promoting their ability of critical thinking.

  24. In addition to English skills such as reading and writing, I think more importantly, using blog can cultivate the ability of the critical thinking and exchange of different thinking patterns. Mastering a language is much more than listening, speaking, reading and writing, It involves culture, believes, conventions, religions and lifestyles. All the uses of blog mentioned by Ducate and Lomicka can promote such deeper understanding and learning of the target language.
    As for other pedagogical usage, I think most students have given up the habit of keeping dairy and teachers can assign the homework of using the blog to keep dairy. Out of curiosity, students may have great interest to read each other’s blog and carefully maintain their own blog for others’ reading. For group work, teachers can come up with a topic like delicious food, rainforest or a certain country whatever for each group and ask them to maintain this blog for one semester and at the end of this semester, the teacher will check the total amount of page views. With the competition, students may have the motivation to finish it.

  25. Personally, I agree with the idea that blog is a good and effective tools for language learning. As one of the most fashionable social network sites in the internet, blog definitely catches learners’ attentions and is attractive to them. Scores of friends of mine learn foreign languages, especially English from blogs. For, example, girls enjoy following those fashion and beauty bloggers. In one hand, they can get the newest wave of trendsetters. On the other hand, they get more and more vocabularies that related to this field. They comment on the post the bloggers wrote, which help them practice their language. Nowadays, the increasing numbers of bloggers are from a wide variety of fields, who are able to encourage and inspire learners not only ideas of those respective fields, but also language usage that used in those areas. In this case, learners study the language in real context and can practice them easily by interacting with the bloggers.

    Here are some blogs from variety fields:
    Beauty Blog:

    By reading and commenting on the above sites, the process of language becomes much easier and more interesting.

    • I like the websites that you recommend. Such websites are also useful if the teacher wants to teach new words. Just a click and there are images and words up there. How convenient!

  26. I think blogs can help language learners a lot in terms of information input and output. By reading others’ blogs, learners can find more useful information in a convenient way. By interacting with the bloggers, learners can have more freedom to share their views with others and have a broader outlook in their language learning process. The learners can also write their own blog and can practice their writing and critical thinking skills.

  27. I think all of you have mentioned lots of benefits that blogging as a part of language learning. It would be a very useful tool for doing off-class assignments. First, both teachers and students can easily assess to and timely response to the latest post. Second, its easier for the teachers to monitor the learning outcomes of the students. Third, every student has the chance to response to others, rather than the teacher does all the evaluation in the traditional class, which is thought provoking.
    The convenience of blogging is of no doubt, while I suggest that strict disciplines of how often it is used should be considered beforehand. Language learning is for communication, not only in written form but also in face-to-face communication. If students are encourage to “speak” on the blog, will the chance of practicing their spoken language being weakened?

    • I have the same question as you mentioned above. Though it is helpful for students to learn language through blog, face-to-face communication is as well important, and even essential, for it is much more related to our real life. Hence, I think it is key to make a balance between using blog to learn and practice language and encourage daily life communication.

  28. Obviously, blog is widely recognized nowadays and some blogs are operated for language learners. I think the idea raised in Ducate and Lomicka (2005) is pretty workable. However, it quite depends on learners’ autonomy. If a learner has kind of integrated motivation to learn a target language, he or she is willing to explore a language learning blog. I once had a student who took some notes, like new vocabulary or nice sentence, from his reading of blog posts. He said it did help in his language learning. He was happy to do so. However, there are still some students who are reluctant in their learning. If teachers as us want to set up a blog community among those students, then I think we have to work out a way to motivate and monitor their learning.

    I think there are two effective ways to operate a blog which would benefit learners. First, for those learning a certain subject, like science, a language teacher could choose some subject-related articles to post, that is, posting some science news or discovery news in the target language, and generate a discussion. Besides the discussion, the teacher can also ask them to record new vocabulary. Second, blog is a good way to develop students’ writing skills. In mainland China, students’ writing ability is weak. A teacher who train students’ writing can have one week for narrative writing and another week for descriptive writing so on and so forth by asking students to post after the in-class learning.

    • I think it’s a good idea to post some subject-related articles on the blog for language learners. Since the articles are closely related to their own learning fields, it will be easier for students to understand the articles and they will be more interested in reading them. They can also learn professional knowledge and new vocabularies at the same time.

    • I think it’s a good idea to post some subject-related articles on the blog for language learners. Since the articles are closely related to their own learning fields, it will be easier for students to understand the articles and they will be more interested in reading them. They can also learn professional knowledge and new vocabularies at the same time.

  29. Blogging can certainly be used as a tool for language learning, esp learning the reading and writing skills.
    It also has the social function that learners can communicate with each other. Now I know more about my classmates and their views as not everyone likes speaking up in class.

    I agree that motivation is the key element determining the effectiveness of this tool.
    The authentic communication in the blog is already a kind of encouragement. For example, when others comment on my post, I would feel more happy to write another one. The site of the blog is also important. If the site is a popular one with a lot of viewers, I would be more willing to continue posting.

  30. It is true that blogging is beneficial for language learning through reading and writing. For me, it can be used as a self learning tool as well. Students can use it to express their ideas freely in English. Besides, it also provides one more channel for stimulating out-of-class discussion.

  31. Blog is less popular compare with microblog, twitter and FB as social network since not everyone would like to type a long sharing passage and have patience reading those by some strangers. It is still a practical technic for language learning. Recording what we learned in blogs could help us make a good summary, improve our perseverance and consolidate our memory. Travel journal is one of my favorite blogs when I was planning on a trip or just do casual browsing. I also like the idea of exchanging blog addresses with another class in the article, but like we mentioned before, sometimes it is not easy to find a suitable one. During learning process, books with pictures may not gain students attention while blogs with hyperlinks including videos and games could be relatively attractive.

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