Commenting Works!

Recently Shelly Terrell presented a series of posts at her blog called 30 Goals. The list of ideas and ways to reflect on your teaching, blogging, and role in your PLN was very inspiring, and I will have to continue to check back to these posts to remind myself to stay active and focused. I suppose my last post regarding my rather dismal blog activity could be a response to the 30th goal: “What are you putting off.” Or the 27th: “Stay focused.” But what I wanted to discuss today was her tenth goal: “Make a connection.”

Late last year, I learned what a PLN was and how incredibly inspiring, helpful, and providing it can be, but I hadn’t really established a strong connection. I had only been a silent observer. Looking through my RSS feeds at all the new blogs and adding new people to my Twitter following list daily. And until recently this had been enough. Frankly the content has been overwhelming, difficult if not impossible to process it all. I suppose I have progressed through the third stage of PLN adoption (see Darren Elliot’s post Death by PLN).

So I wanted to contribute more regularly, through this blog, as well as commenting, and hopefully a guest blog appearance sometime in the future, and I wanted to share one recent experience that only further encouraged this sentiment. I am a member of a couple of Facebook groups, and I feel like some of us feel that Facebook is for your casual, friendly banter not your serious professional development. This is a shame because there are several groups that I am a member that have helped me immensely. Kalinago English, and Chuck and Curtis, especially. Check them out!

I recently posted a comment on Chuck and Curtis’ discussion about how inexperienced teachers can become expert teachers. I recommended developing your PLN as it has definitely helped me improve as a teacher. They asked me to write a little more about it. So I wrote a note with a few quick steps and links to introduce how I developed my PLN. Chuck liked what I wrote, and suggested contributing to the journal they plan to develop in the near future. I found it such a motivating e-mail. I have gotten the mass e-mails from my MA-TESOL linking call for papers, but it was really exciting to have someone contact me directly. Which reminds me how important making a personal compliment to your students can be, as well as those who comment on your blog. Chuck has that innate ability, that I have witnessed on their group page, I feel he must be an excellent educator. I have also noticed this necessary skill in those on my blogroll and it is one that I hope to promote in my activities in the blogosphere.

Thank you.



I had grand ambitions to post more often, but as you can see there has been quite a long delay from my last post to this one. I can blame that on recent developments but really the absence of my posts lies in two areas: my impressive laziness, and my intimidation that I don’t really feel like I have a lot more to add to the already impressive bloggers’ content available.

My first excuse. Since my last post, I have had a lot on my plate. I accepted a new position as an English instructor at Yeungnam University in Daegu, South Korea. I have felt for some time that I am ready for a change. I won’t go into as lengthy or as impressive an analysis as Tamas did, suffice to say that I was ready for a new challenge and I didn’t see my professional development being encouraged or supported by my previous institution. There are promises from the new institution that professional development is encouraged and to an extent required, through in-house seminars, peer observation as well as a faculty journal. I am very excited by this and I feel it will help me gain the confidence I need to start presenting and hopefully publishing in the academic world. I will keep you posted as I get closer to participating in these programs.

My second excuse. Laziness. I suppose others might not call me lazy. I am a new father, I am a full time MA TESOL/TEFL student through the distance learning program with the University of Birmingham, as well as working full time (although now I am on vacation). But I repeatedly want to compare myself to others in my PLN, and I find it staggering the pace that they are able to produce content, maintain a steady rate of Tweets, and go about whatever regular work they pursue, excellent examples: Larry, Shelly, Karenne, or Jason, to name only a few. Comparing myself to them I feel like I am standing still, or in reality playing too much Doodlejump on my iPhone. Which brings me to my last excuse.

Intimidation. I suppose this is a concern for a great many of us new bloggers, and maybe even for some of the more experienced as well. However, it is a difficult emotion to master. So, the idea I was toying with is to start using video more to blog. It is definitely quicker to just speak, and personally I enjoy watching videos. However, some may think it more intimidating, that you are more exposed, and I may too, when I actually get around to doing one. Maybe I will start by blabberizing, and then move on to real video. I suppose I will have to get more comfortable editing the video, so that when I mention links (as I am fond to do) I will be able to put a pop-up on the screen. In any case I would like to hear your thoughts on Vlogging? What are the pros and cons as you understand them? Are there sites that you can recommend? Do you find it more or less intimidating, and more or less time-consuming?

Thank you.