Sunday, December 24, 2006

Thomas Paine Was No Blogger

George F. Will's op-ed piece, "Thomas Paine Was No Blogger", calls into question the importance of what many bloggers write. Pamela Shorey's response in the "Letters to the Editor" section of today's Hartford Courant, expresses very simply the reason why I include blogs in the classroom.
She states "that the ease of writing a blog has led thousands of people to do what teachers were previously unable to do: get people to write." Truthfully, not all of what my students write is worth reading, especially if you are looking for great insight or fluent prose. But, they are writing every week--and getting immediate feedback from their peers through comments.

Merry Christmas!


At 7:29 PM , Blogger The Science Goddess said...

I think that blogging can also instill a sense of self-discipline and perhaps a bit of self-esteem. Everyone has a voice, a forum, and a reason to engage with conversation.

Kudos to you on your classroom blogging. The tech nannies here will never allow it in our district.

At 8:23 AM , Blogger CaliforniaTeacherGuy said...

You're right: Not every word of every blog is worth reading. But for those of us who persist in separating the proverbial wheat from the chaff, the rewards are great.

How wonderful that you've made it possible for your students to write in a way that makes sense to them. Keep up the good work.

Merry Christmas!

At 4:06 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh please! To say that "some writing" is better than "no writing" is ridiculous. This goes along with our trend of "make the kid feel good even if what he is writing is garbage" mentality. If we are going to give academic value to a kid's blog, let us at least demand some literary skills like: Spelling, grammar, sentence structure, content, insight. Otherwise, let us all just start marveling at the graffiti on overpasses and dilapidated city buildings "because at least those dropouts are writing SOMETHING!" No, I completely disagree; a kid's writing should not be commended in any way whatsoever by educators just because he is writing something, just because he is expressing his thoughts, and just because he is stimulating discussion by getting other kids to give him feedback. Our educational standards have been diluted enough without bestowing literary merit to the sentence fragments, slangs, spelling mistakes, and grammatical faux pas of kids' blogs. Unless they pass the muster that we would expect from a class assigned essay, those blogs may well appreciated as the means of communication and source of admiration by their peers, but they should not be considered to have any educational merit.

At 7:40 PM , Blogger Mr. McNamar said...

Abacustutor, assumptions have no place in any discussion. Therefore, the assumption that my students are not asked to write on the blog with impeccable writing standards is an incorrect and pretentious thought.
But in the end, your point is still wrong. The excercise of writing has value beyond spelling, grammar, syntax, or style. Writing promotes indepedent thought. As a teacher, I have a responsibility to foster the whole student. There are many avenues for addressing all of your important criteria for proper learning.


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