Young Adult Lit/Crit

April 2, 2008

Thoughts on the Weblog article

Filed under: Uncategorized — scrollman @ 2:46 pm

As someone who is doing a blog with students, I found much of the article to be consistent with my own observations.  For me, I think the point about blogging as a “playful” and “creative” act is paramount.  What I notice from my students’ blogging practice is they don’t seem burdened by many of the pressures and anxieties associated with academic writing.   Their expressions are, in a sense, freed up by the absence of constraints, such as writing the “five paragraph essay” or making sure there is a topic sentence at the beginning of each paragraph.  There is a certain playfulness in the sense that language becomes more fluid and connected with thought, as it emerges, rather than a labored process of pre-writing, drafting etc.  In a way, blogging is a kind of pre-writing: a way of forming thoughts and reflecting on them through the comments of others.   The stream of comments becomes a unique collaborative and creative text in which the commenters can see a process of thoughts being developed, challenged, and possibly reformed.  

The social element of blogging is what also gives it a sense of play.  Students feel more connected and comfortable participating in a social discourse rather than an isolated one; the old system of writing separately on a piece of paper and handing it in to the teacher now seems so obsolete and bankrupt in the face of this more inclusive and dynamic technology.  Furthermore, I think kids feel much less threatened in this discourse because they are participating in a community rather than by themselves.  Play is also at work here because of the social element of blogging.  On this note,  I really loved the quote West used from Jenkins that play “lowers the emotional stakes of failing”.  We are all so much more comfortable when we know we are not being judged.  We are so much freer to express what we really think when the pressure isn’t on to conform to a certain form and content.   I think blogging gives students a way to say as much or as little as they want, and then for other students to respond to that; all the while with the hope that students who say little will say more if their thoughts and opinions are acknowledged, whether by agreement or disagreement.  



1 Comment »

  1. I agree with you, Jonathan, that blogging gives students a feeling of safety to ‘speak’ their mind. I’m sure a normally shy student who says little in class discussions has at least something to write on the blog. None of my teacher friends or former teachers (middle and high school level) use blogs in their classes, so this article and my experience from this class are my only basis for any opinion on class blogging. I found it interesting that the 3 students showed their true self in their individual writing styles on the blogs. Certainly a student derawn to creative writing or one loathing the 5 paragraph paper as you put it, would find the blog a more enjoyable format. I did find it disturbing that the author acknowledged Lucy’s jab at her classmates’ opinion on Huck Finn- I would think thisbehavior would have been talked about and not allowed prior to the class’ blog entries. Much like we would encourage students to not put others down or get into disagreements in Book circles. I also could not believe Evan used ‘wtf’. A relaxed style of writing like allowing for mis-capitalization or misspellings is fine; slang and offensive language should not be! Overall I thnink the blog is a good way to get students to voice their opinions and questions about books and get answers and feedback from their peers.

    Comment by ebrazee — April 2, 2008 @ 9:35 pm

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