Blogs Help Teachers Learn From Each Other

2006-5-17

I'm Bob Doughty with the VOA Special English Education Report.

Blogs are being used more and more by teachers. Many Internet services now offer free and easy ways to create personal Web pages.

Through comments on blogs, or Web logs, teachers can share their classroom experiences. They can exchange ideas and discuss successes and failures. They can debate educational policies. Or they can just sympathize with each other.

A teacher in the American state of North Carolina recently wrote on her blog: "Apparently the teachers at my school use too much paper. So my principal yelled at everyone at the last staff meeting for, like, ten minutes. Now, I've just been told, we are not getting anymore paper for the rest of the year."

This unidentified blogger is now in her third year of teaching, but still calls her site firstyearteacher.blogspot.com.

Chris Lehmann is principal of the Science Leadership Academy in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. His blog is practicaltheory.org. On a recent day, Mister Lehmann wrote about a project he had just learned about. The aim is to put a "human face" on the scientists who furthered the knowledge of chemistry.

Mister Lehmann noted that there is a lot of talk now about teaching as story telling. He wonders if this is moving into the idea of telling the "story" of science.

"What would it do for students to learn about the people involved in these discoveries?" he wrote in his blog. "Does it make a difference if we see these 'facts' as discovered? If we see science as ever-evolving, does it help us to help our kids see their own role as scientists themselves?"

A blogger who calls himself Mister Lawrence works as a substitute teacher. In April he wrote about a disputed plan to split the Omaha, Nebraska, public schools into separate systems for black, Latino and white students. Supporters say minority parents do not have enough power over their children's education.

But Mister Lawrence wrote at teachersparadise.blogspot.com: "I'm afraid that what this 'says' to a lot of people is that blacks, whites and Hispanics are not equal, and 'reinforces' racist beliefs among people."

Educators did not become involved with blogging right away. Many were concerned with privacy issues and security. But now, thousands of teacher blogs can be found on the Internet. Many teachers do not identify themselves, and they change the names of students and co-workers.

This VOA Special English Education Report was written by Brianna Blake. Read and listen to our reports at WWW.51VOA.COM. I'm Bob Doughty.