Metacognition is the first and foremost reason why I blog. Good, quality teachers are always thinking about their instruction and trying to hone their craft. Blogging about what I am doing, what I am thinking about or a question I have makes me think harder and deeper about good language instruction. Many times an idea I am toying with really "gels" when I verbalize it in a blog post. Also, the comments and questions that others post about the blog post make me analyze the idea further than I might have done on my own. I can't tell you how many discoveries I have made about instructional practices or who my learners are through putting my thoughts on "paper" in a post.
Professional Development is another reason why I blog. I know it may seem weird that something I do by myself could be considered PD, but in order to write something worth posting out in cyberspace I must do my homework. I have to read what others are saying, look at what others are doing and investigate what the scientific research says about language instruction and acquisition. Blogging makes me work harder to know what I am talking about so that I can speak from authority and not just from experience.
Collaboration is the newest aspect of my blogging life. I love to promote other smart, creative people and I love to know what others have to say about current topics of discussion in our field. Recently, I have be posing some of those questions/topics in digital conversations with educators I respect and we have been writing blog posts together. The experience has been so rewarding because we all learn from each other, but also we get to see the successes and setbacks others have experienced so we can adopt or avoid them in the future. The collaborative blog posts have made me consider methods I might not have ever even heard of otherwise.
Voice and Professional Presence is a benefit I have received due to putting my thoughts, ideas and resources out there. The more I have committed myself to blogging and the more I have kept quality in mind, the more people listen to me. This is the part that is the craziest to me! Don't get me wrong, knowing hundreds of people are reading what I write is really cool, but it blows my mind! It also makes me accountable to more people than just myself or my local colleagues. With more influence comes more responsibility. I have to keep sharp and relevant because what I say and do now impacts others and the more I do the more doors of opportunity open. For example, Scholastic Magazine approached me to submit my suggestions for apps to use in language classes and just today I received a tweet from Microsoft OneNote asking me to share how I use their product for collaboration on my instructional team. I also attribute my teaching awards to my online presence. I believe that through sharing on Pinterest and Wikispaces, participating in a PLN via Twitter and then sending my thoughts and experiences out through my Weebly website/blog the right people saw good things in me and blessed me with recognition. None of that would have happened if I didn't take a chance on myself and put my thoughts and ideas out there.
Advocacy is a very new responsibility than has come my way due to the voice my online presence has given me. My philosophy is that if you have control of the microphone, you better make good use of it! There are few folks out there advocating for our profession and subject area, so WE have to do it. If we find ourselves on the platform, we are obligated to lobby for our profession. Like I said, this is a new role to me and I am learning what all that means. For one, it means my blog has to promote the best of what we do in world language instruction and cannot be a place where I rant. I have to educate myself on the issues and comment on them in an intellectual fashion. What I write has to be powerful and meaningful, but with that comes another responsibility. I cannot just talk the talk, I have to walk the walk as well. I have to put into action the very things I demand from legislators, leaders and other educators in our field. My blog, my message cannot be a complaint box, but a "to do" list from which I take action and encourage others to do the same.
These are just some of the benefits and responsibilities that have come my way from blogging. If you don't already, please do consider committing yourself to the blogging life. Your voice is too important not to share.