Posted by: Clive | May 9, 2008

Why blog?

I’ve been thinking about the nature of blogging and the kinds of encouragement I can offer as you all begin the process of blogging through your independent study project. Digging around I came across this from Stephen Krashen’s book, The Power of Reading (you may remember Krashen from the language lectures in Level 1 … then again, you may not! Here he’s actually looking at research on writing:

Although writing does not help us develop writing style [Krashen contends READING develops writing style], writing has other virtues. As Smith (1988) has pointed out, we write for at least two reasons. First, and most obvious, we write to communicate with others. But perhaps more important, we write for ourselves, to clarify and stimulate our thinking. Most of our writing, even if we are published authors, is for ourselves.

As Elbow (1973) has noted, it is difficult to hold more than one thought in mind at a time. When we write our ideas down, the vague and abstract become clear and concrete. When thoughts are on paper, we can see the relationships among them, and can come up with better thoughts. Writing, in other words, can make you smarter.

He’s not talking about blogging here – but he could be. And in my experience of blogging, what he says is on the button. Writing – and not simply copying and pasting from the internet (which we all do at one time or another) – is an inherently creative task. Analysing, synthesising, and composing are the processes we go through to clarify our thoughts, find direction, and achieve greater understanding.

The fact that this process takes place in public through the blogosphere (even our mini-blogosphere represented by the links on the right) also means that the connections and conversation we’re able to forge and engage in add to that understanding.

The more we blog, the more we reflect, the more we think and write about what we discover … the more we all learn.

Now there’s a reason to write a post in your new blog.

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