Published 31st July 2017
Blogging is slowly but surely taking over the world. If you have something to say, you should be blogging about it. If you are looking for information, opinions or advice, you should be reading a blog about it. Maybe you already have a blog about skiing or health foods or your garden gnome collection. Maybe as a teacher you utilise blogs for teaching ideas. Whatever your current relationship to blogs, you probably already appreciate the value of blogs.
Have you thought about how blogging can be useful to your students?
First of all, blogs can provide our learners with practise in reading. Blogs are a source of natural language and are usually chatty and conversational in tone, meaning they are appropriate even for lower level learners (though they might encounter difficult colloquial language). What’s more, there are so many blogs available to read that your students will have no problem finding a blog that they will find interesting to read.
How to utilise reading blogs in class
If you would like your students to read a blog, set it up as a homework assignment. This won’t waste class time on reading and will allow your students to read at their own pace and look up any words they don’t know. You can either ask your students to research a topic or opinion before it is dealt with in class – preparation, in other words – or you can make it more open and ask them to find a blog that they can report back on to the class – a book club, in a sense.
On the other side of the coin, blogs can be used for writing purposes. Students can be encouraged to set up their own blogs about language learning or living in an English-speaking country or their love of pies – anything! – or you can set up a blog for the class.
How to utilise writing blogs in class
You can post articles on the class blog and ask your students to read them for homework and comment on them or your students can take turns writing posts for the blog on a particular topic and other students can provide feedback on those posts.
A class blog can also be a source of information for the class if you post links to language learning resources or extra material related to your lessons. Plus, you can use it to share photos of the class so that the students will always have something to look back on and remember your lessons.
Bear in mind that making use of blogs will usually involve the students spending time outside of class on their English, so it is important that you make your blog work as fun and interesting as possible. Tailor your tasks and the blogs you use to your students to ensure that they will enjoy these lessons. It would be terribly sad if your students were put off reading blogs in their free time!