I teach English for a living and it’s something I enjoy greatly, even if it is not the most lucrative job in the world. One of the things I find most difficult to teach is writing. This is partly due to the fact that I never have enough time to teach the subject properly, and this frustrates me. There are many books on the subject, but none so far has really enthused me, which means that I would find it difficult to generate some enthusiasm in my students. This would result in a duff lesson and my feeling bad. As a general rule, if I feel good after a lesson, then I am satisfied with my efforts and like to think that the students have actually learnt something. So, back to the teaching writing problem, well I had a mini brain wave. This happens to me occasionally, usually some mad and totally impractical scheme , the initial idea of which makes me feel on a roll. This roll goes in a downward direction once I wake up to the fact that my idea really was rather dumb after all. Anyway, the latest idea has to do with blogging and teaching writing. I have a group of students who may well find that they will need good writing skills in their future careers. I had been racking my well racked old brains to come up with a way to develop writing skills in an interesting and, hopefully, effective way. The answer: Why not get them to start a blog? Many of my charges (they are a little big to be regarded as charges, seeing as many are over 25) did not understand what a blog was. The common conception seemed to be that it was an on-line diary and this impression seemed to be something of a turn-off for them. Now, when I like something I like to think that I am able to pass my enthusiasm on to others, so I tried to explain what blogs were in my view. I sort of said that anything goes, although one person did take this a little too literally and start to get worried that stuff praising Bin Laden might lead to knocks on her front door by men in dark sunglasses waving little badges with FBI and CIA on them. Come to think of it, CIA people do not go around telling all and sundry what they do for a living, but anyway I’m sure you get the idea. After having quashed these worries by saying that, OK, anything goes, but do go and use a little common sense. My point was taken by one and all and they all seemed to warm to the idea and we set up their blog. A may post a link to it, if they wish and if I reckon it may be of general interest. The blog should encourage them to write and the more you write, generally, not always, admittedly, the easier it becomes and the better you get. I shall be monitoring the whole exercise with interest and hope that the process has a positive outcome. Hope nobody offends anybody.
Having gone on at great length my bright idea, I hope anyone who reads this can understand what the idea actually was.