I've been very happy to see how well participants in the course are doing with their blogs. There have been various problems, of course, as we always expect with technology. Still, most people now have their blogs. I'll look forward to seeing them progress as we move through the course. I've learned a few things to add to my Blogger How-to file (like how to set the language), as well as the importance of the verification email that Blogger sends when you first log into Blogger. I've also seen the need to reiterate the purpose of the blogs - to share reflections about the course with each other, and thus deepen our own learning. Having the course wiki where everyone's blogs are listed works very well. It will also let us share other files, since we can't share files on Nicenet.
All in all, I feel that Week 2 went well. The main reason why is the enthusiasm and good will of the participants, of course. This is a great group.
Writing a reflective blog is both easy and difficult. It's easy in the sense that we as teachers are always thinking about what we did in our classes and how to improve a lesson. It's difficult in the sense that a blog is a public document, so it's a bit scary to reveal one's thoughts so publicly. One good thing is knowing that we are all in the same boat - we're all teachers, and we're all trying to write reflective blogs. That means that we can be learning from each other.
I always like observing other teachers' classes. No matter who the teacher is or what the lesson is about, I always learn something. If the students are not being cooperative and the lesson doesn't go well, it makes me reflect on what I might have done differently if I were teaching the class. Sometimes I have no idea, and just feel sorry for the teacher. Sometimes, though, being on the outside looking in lets me think more freely and come up with better ideas about how to deal with problems. It's the same way when I see a very good class. I think about whether I could do the same thing in one of my classes and have the same results. Most of the time when I observe, I talk with the teacher before class to learn what the objectives are and how the class usually works. Also, I usually can talk with the teacher afterward about what he or she thought was going on in the class.
In a way, our reflective blogs are ways that we are observing each other as teachers and as learners. We're talking about our objectives, what we did, what happened, and why. It's one way to learn from each other, even if we're far apart. That's how I feel about it, anyway; I hope you feel the same way.
On to Week 3!