Connected Development - Blogging's not dead!

It's not even resting...
Over the last few years, I have heard this one a lot. The glory days of ELT blogging (if they ever exisited) have dwindled and died. Hardly any teachers still blog, and those that do share lesson plans and/or promote 'products'.

On the surface, that seems to be right. Of the community of bloggers I engaged with around 2010-2013, very few are still active. Several blogs lay dormant having seen no new posts in a long time, and others have sadly disappeared either at the writer's discretion or through expired domains.

A few bloggers from that period, such as James Taylor and Tyson Seburn, are still active but posting quite infrequently and it is perhaps only Sandy Millin who has kept the blog machinery in working order.

My own blogging is also not as prolific as it once was. Expand the archives tab on the right of this page and you will see a peak of over 80 posts back in 2011 but only 10-20 per year since 2013.

A couple of years ago, I informally looked into this apparent decline. Despite having finished my MA, I was finding it increasingly difficult to make the time to blog or even keep up with the posts in my feed reader. It wasn't that I was no longer writing about my in-class experiences though. In fact, I had started writing for Teaching English and iTDi and would then begin contributing to magazines and newsletters, which didn't leave much time for reflecting here.

In a way, blogging had perhaps served a couple of purposes. In terms of my own CPD (and as mentioned in Wednesday's post), the reflective part of my teaching persona was now very much active and I was engaging in a cycle of analysing and learning from my lessons, whether I got round to publishing it online or not. Professionally, blogging had opened doors to the aforementioned writing opportunities as well as webinars, conferences, and other projects and all of those things took up time.

Other bloggers seemed to be the same, not blogging as much but still active on social media in Facebook groups, guest writing for other sites, or at conferences online and off. Perhaps the golden age had come to an end after all...

But then I saw a comment from one ELT blogger, Michael Griffin (who, with impeccable timing, posted on his blog for the first time in a long while - by his standards at least - just 2 days ago). He stated (I'm obviously paraphrasing here but you'll get the idea) that saying ELT bloggers are not as active as they used to be is just silly. They're still out there but perhaps are not the names and urls you have previously followed - you just have to find them.

He was right. :)

Over the last several months as I have been thinking ahead to IATEFL and looking to re-engage with ELT blogging, I have found several active, interesting, and reflective ELT Blogs that I will share with you here:
  • How I see it now - Hana Ticha's posts are always worth reading! These are the reflections and developing thoughts of a 'frontline teacher' sharing her classroom experiences in a very realtable way.
  • My Mathima - Christina teaches in Greece and shares two of my passions: reflecting on her teaching and game-based learning. :)
  • Cecilia Nobre ELT Blog - Cecilia shares lesson plans but she also conducts interviews with a variety of people in ELT, which offer several interesting insights into ELT contexts around the world.
  • Freelance Teacher Self-Development - Marc began his blog to address the lack of training and CPD that comes with the territory of being a freelancer but browse his posts and I'm sure you'll agree there are reflections worth reading for all language teachers.
  • My ELT Rambles - Joanna rambles in the exploration sense reflecting on critical moments in her career and general thoughts on ELT and blogging as well.
  • Martin Cooke's Teaching Blog - Martin shares thoughts and reflections from his experiences in Taiwan, offering insights into effective lessons, conferences and online courses.
  • Mark: My Words - Interesting insights into language teaching in Japan and a recent series of posts on teacher identity that are worth your time.
  • pmateini's blog - Priscila is another teacher from Brazil who likes to discuss some of the big issues in ELT (see her recent posts on accents and discipline as prime examples)
  • Ann Loseva's Space - Ann made a welcome comeback a couple of years ago after a blogging break. She has an interesting writing style and plenty of thought-provoking posts.
These bloggers represent exactly the same thing the bloggers I first connected with several years ago did/still do. They are a diverse group from a number of different teaching contexts around the globe. They come from different linguistic backgrounds and they all have different approaches to teaching and ways of reflecting in their online spaces.

But they all share one thing - a desire to develop and improve by sharing experiences and engaging with like-minded teachers around the world.

And that is why the ELT blogging community is far from dead. It continues to thrive and develop. You just have to keep up with it.

Reflection is still alive and kicking!

You can see my talk on Thursday 6 April, 12.00 – 12.30 in Boisdale 1 Room as part of the LTSIG Day.

Title - Connected Development – teacher reflection and online networks

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