English 518 Course Blog

January 23, 2007

Public Diaries

Filed under: Uncategorized — surina @ 9:49 pm

Greetings all!

       Having finished the reading right after last week’s class, I was obsessed both by the invention of weblogs and the idea of incorporating blogs into composition classrooms. The article titled “Moving to the Public: Weblogs in the Writing Classroom” impressed me most.

       Peter Elbow’s expressivist writing has led many writing teachers to make students’ writing a private process. Students may express themselves freely in a relaxed way, like in the form of a journal. Then they hand their writing directly to a “teacher-reader-grader,” however, the social nature of writing requires that writing should not only be a private activity, but more a “collaboration and social interaction.” Thus, lots of teachers begin to use emailed peer dialogue journals and some electronic spaces like Blackboard to create a more socialized and collaborative environment. Nevertheless, these writing practices only target on imagined and artificial rhetorical situations in which the audience is still restricted to the teacher and classmates.

       Since the internet can make everything access to the largest audience and readers, as mentioned in the article, students will “take real-world writing more seriously when it is done on the web, where it might actually be seen and used.” Weblogs can be a very funny and effective communication medium for students to engage in discussion and participate in writing.

       Though making our voices louder and further, weblogs, with its informal conversation style, provides a “comfort zone” for students to express ideas freely. The anxieties about teacher’s grade and restrictions of school writings can be reduced.  By applying pseudonyms, students’ last worry and intimidation caused by criticism from public can be replaced by a relaxed community which can stimulate true feelings and sincere communication.

        Weblogs, the public diaries, have definitely opened a new door for writing teachers.



  1. I agree with you on the point that blog is a “public diary” making use of Peter Elbow’s expressive writing technique. The relaxed and friendly writing environment provides students a space to express their ideas and feeling freely, it will foster their creativity and critical thinking ability.
    Blog is really a fantastic invention.

    Comment by huihuiwu — January 23, 2007 @ 10:40 pm | Reply

  2. An additional benefit to weblogs for the computer savvy, new gen student lies in its ease of use–a typical student could post to the weblog or public diary while multitasking many other actions, such as checking email, instant messaging, doing research, listening to mp3’s, etc. The prior paper pencil method seems cumbersome compared to the multifunctionality of the computer based weblog.

    Comment by shenra — January 28, 2007 @ 10:55 pm | Reply

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