Seven reasons teachers should blog

by Steve Wheeler

I have written extensively on what makes a good blogpost and why it is so powerful. From personal experience blogging is one of the most beneficial professional development activities I have ever engaged with. I learn more from blogging than I do from almost any other activity I participate in. Here are 7 good reasons why teachers should blog:

1) Blogging causes you to reflect. Donald Schon suggested that reflection on, in and through practice were vital components of any professional practice. Teachers naturally think back on what has happened in their classroom, and often wonder what they could have done better. Blogging can help with this process, enabling teachers to keep an ongoing personal record of their actions, decisions, though processes, successes and failures, and issues they have to deal with.

2) Blogging can crystalise your thinking. In the act of writing, said Daniel Chandler, we are written. As we write, we invest a part of ourselves into the medium. The provisionality of the medium makes blogging conducive to drafting and redrafting. The act of composing and recomposing ideas can enable abstract thoughts to become more concrete. Your ideas are now on the screen in front of you; they can be stored, retrieved and reconstructed as your ideas become clearer. You don’t have to publish if you want to keep those thoughts private. Save them and come back to them later. The blog can act as a kind of mirror to show you what you are thinking. Sometimes we don’t really know what we are thinking until we actually write it down in a physical format.

3) Blogging can open up new audiences. You can become a teacher within an infinitely larger classroom, and as you blog on subjects you think are interesting, you will discover that there are plenty of other education professionals ‘out there’ who are also interested. People who are interested will eventually find your blog and visit it regularly to see if they can learn something new from you.

4) Blogging can create personal momentum. Once you have started blogging, and you realise that you can actually do it, you will probably want to develop your skills further. Blogging can be time consuming, but the rewards are ultimately worth it. In my own experience, I find myself breaking out of inertia to create some forward movement in my thinking especially when I blog about ‘edgy’ topics that may be emotive, controversial, challenging. The more you blog, the better you become at writing for your audience, managing your arguments, defending your position, thinking critically.

5) Blogging can give you valuable feedback. As you gain feedback from your readership, you gain a sense of peer review, sometimes challenging and refuting your ideas (tricky to handle, but be open minded and you will learn a lot from constructive criticism) or affirming what you already believe to be true (some feedback from readers adds further value to your blogpost, and it’s there for all to read). Affirmation of your own beliefs can be a powerful enabler for you as a professional practitioner.

6) Blogging can be creative. If you persist with blogging, you will discover that you develop new and creative ways to articulate what you want to say. As I write, I often search for alternative ways to express myself, and this can be through images, quotes, a retelling of old experiences through stories, videos, audio, or useful hyperlink to related web resources. You have many ways to convey your ideas, and you are simply limited to your own imagination. Try out new ways of communicating and take risks. Blogging is the platform that allows you to be creative.

7) Blogging can raise your game. Blogging is immediate. As soon as you press the Publish button, your ideas are on the web in front of a potential worldwide audience. Time and again I have heard from other teachers (and students) that they take much more care over grammatical construction, spelling and punctuation when they discover they have an audience.

Image source (edited)