Back in June, I put a call out asking the ELT blogosphere to answer this question in the form of a blog carnival.
What advice would you give to another TEFL teacher interested in becoming a blogger?
27 bloggers responded: writing over 40 articles, 2 sent emails and 31 bloggers answered a poll on various issues.
Given the sheer abundance and quality of the posts from these global English teachers, it quickly became clear that the best way to present this for you would be to organize them in a downloadable doc, adding extra tid-bits here and there.
Consider the slideshare a trailer, rather than some odd kind of powerpoint presentation...
To view in full screen mode, click the button above. To download the pdf to your laptop, click on the menu and select download. I've also taken a snapshot of each of the slides - so if you like, you can bookmark this page and grab this, print it out and use it to circle which blogs you'd like to visit and read on further (that's here)!
n.b please note that the beautiful mindmap on what community means, slide 55, was created by Joao Carlos Alves, not JC Salves.
What the bloggers had to say...
On getting started
- So you think you have a good idea for starting a blog? Well maybe you do, but every day, there are thousands of new blogs being created and of those thousands, only a very small percentage last beyond the first couple of postings. Why? ...read more on Nik Peachey's On Blogging and Social Media
- The transition from a blog subscriber to a blog author was not easy! I wanted to include the best apps, widgets, images, and tools on my site. I would see an item I wanted on another blog and coveted it. I was beginning to believe a person had to be a techie to be able to create these incredible blogs. ...read more on Shelly Terrell's Teacher Reboot Camp
- Before venturing into the blogosphere yourself, it’s probably a good idea to check out what is already out there. There are lots of reasons people blog, and no one reason is better than the other. However, people are more likely to visit and remember your blog if there is an angle, a certain hook to it ...read more from Lindsay Clandfield on Burcu Akyol's EFL blog
- There are a lot of great blogger/thinkers out there. Some of the best posts I’ve written, I think, have been expanded versions of comments I’ve left on other people’s posts. Of course, always give credit, too. ...read more on Larry Ferlazzo's blog
On blogging with students
- Edublogging... How many times have I written about it, gave tips, presented, and tried to inspire others? Fact is the ones who endure the first stages of discoveries and experiments are the passionate educators, those who teach with heart and soul, who truly believe in their transformative potential as an educator. These are the ones who, later on, become passionate edubloggers. ...read more on Carla Arena's Collablogatorium here
- Difficulties ? We haven’t got a good computer lab. Most of our students do this kind of homework at the weekends at home or in the nearest cybercafé. Some of them are interested in it some of them aren’t, as usual. ...via email from Susana Canelo (view her blog here)
- The idea of blogging with students came to me after a period of feeling that something was missing in my lessons… Before I start, I would like you to watch a video of my students’ thoughts about our class blog:... watch & read more on Burcu Akyol's EFL blog - in 3 parts and she also discusses different blogging platforms here.
- Blogging is pretty easy to do and setting up a personal blog should pose no great hinderence to even the most computer-clumsy, but how can it be used for teaching? ...read more on Illya Arnet-Clarke's EVO blogfolio
On finding inspiration & writing great content
- So, what about the so-called blogger's block? Looking back at my blog entries, I can see that I have a lot of unpublished drafts. Posts that I started and didn't finish. And then I remember times when I wanted to write something and didn't. ...read more on Graham Stanley's Blog-EFL
There is not a TEFL teacher alive who couldn’t easily bang out a couple of hundred very interesting words on at least one of the topics below (in no particular order):
1. A great/ terrible lesson I observed
2. What I learned from some student/ observer feedback...read 99 more ideas on Alex Case's TEFLtastic
- Be on the look out for post materials from all walks of life. Read other blogs and comment on them. Find your niche and develop it. Stick to a set format ...read more on Janet Bianchini's Abruzzo blog
- A good blog is personal. It's about things that interest you. It doesn't have to be about the intimate details of your life (although it can be), but it discusses things that have caught your attention and that you want to give more thought to....read more on Siobhan Curious' Classroom as a microcosm
On the effect it can have on your career
- Equally clearly to me is that there are brilliant teachers and trainers out there without publishing deals who are as prolific, creative and popular as some of the more visible (at least at conferences and in bookstores) names in the profession. This is a threat, I suspect, for many parts of the profession - not simply ‘expert speakers’, but also publishers, who run the risk of losing control of the primary knowledge distribution channel, and therefore the content and the income....read more on Gavin Dudeney's That's Life
- If you combine blogging with other free tools such as LinkedIn and Twitter, you can join the "magic circle" of other bloggers, thought leaders and illuminaries. In short, an "unknown" can have as much voice and prominence as the industry greats, and has as much chance of getting opinions and ideas heard along with theirs ...submitted via email, Clare Whitmell wrote a similar post on this theme here.
On stuff to know about
- RSS feeds & Google Alerts ...read more here
- Widgets Some people say you have to be careful with the amount of widgets you add to your page so that it doesn´t become too polluted, I say "Try widgets out and keep the ones you find useful. " ...read more on Ana Maria Mene's Life Feast
- Using images Blogging is greatly enhanced by the use of images. And the use of images brings us to the concern about copyright ...read more on Vicky Saumell's Educational Techology in ELT
- On blogrolls My blog roll is about my own Personal Learning Network: fellow bloggers who like sharing conversations with me, communicating with me here and over on their own blogs - we talk about different ideas and teaching approaches, discuss opinions, pass on worksheets or tips to one another, that sort of thing. Kinda like a virtual staffroom. ...read more here
- On tags and labels The haphazard, somewhat unfocussed and certainly unsystematic approach to my blogging was amply reflected in the enormous list of tags that was generated when I added the Label gadget to the sidebar. You may think it is unwieldy and eclectic now, but you should have seen it when it first appeared! ...read more on Carl Dowse's blog.
- On SEO The acronym SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. When you write any page for the Internet, be it a page on a website or a blogpost, you're writing in a language that is searchable for a target audience. Your text should therefore contain keywords that surfers in your target group would be looking for. ...read more on MELTA/Anne Hodgson's Ask Auntie Web
- On money Many teachers who write blogs would like to make some money from their blogging to either supplement their income or even just cover the costs of some of their time. ...read more from Miracel Juanta on Nik Peachey's On Blogging and Social Media.
- On micro-blogging #7. Spread the love. People all over the world, join in, join the love train, love train! That's right, the best way to network is spread the love ..read more on Neal Chamber's Teacher Stumpers
- On managing time If you think that this many tips on time management just to find time to write an unpaid TEFL blog is a bit anal, my answers are: 1) And? 2) They also work for finding time for lesson planning and studying for a DELTA, MA etc. 3) I don’t know if too much love will kill you, too much time management probably will, so use with care and see the last point ...read more on Alex Case's TEFLtastic
- Time management tips When I mention my blogging and social bookmarking habit, I am always asked the same question: Where do you find the time? The answer is: time is an abstract concept......read more on Isabelle Jones' My Languages
- Use some non TEFL tags about things people generally are searching for (celebrity erotic home videos, new Apple products etc) in the hope that Google drives some (mistaken) traffic to your site or ...read more on Alex Case's TEFLtastic
- Writing a blog or creating a website is hard work. Keeping it up to date and keeping new content on your site is even harder, so if you are going to put all this time and work into your site, you will want to know that people are visiting it and reading your articles and enjoying your content. So you are going to need some kind of tracking. ...read more on Nik Peachey's On Blogging and Social Media
- On getting more professional ...buy Darren Rowse's 31 day challenge e-workbook (n.b. this is not an affiliate link - the challenge made a huge difference to my blogging & blog, I highly recommend it.)
- If you really want your blog or site to be useful, appreciated and get regular visitors then it’s vital that you are part of the community your serve. That means more than just pushing your content to places where you think potential visitors might be, but it means actually engaging with, understanding and being part of those communities. ...read more on Nik Peachey's On Blogging and Social Media
- BELTfree isn't a directory in the usual sense of one, i.e. a place to randomly market blog posts - we're not listed on google and the stuff we say and do there is private. All active bloggers, we're a mix of methodology authors, materials writers, teacher-trainers, language coaches and teachers. ...read more about BELTfree here.
- Wikipedia defines community as “a group of individuals who share characteristics, regardless of their location or type of interaction” ...read more on Joao Alves' Reflections.
- Whenever I get a new comment on one of my posts, I think that I’m writing and some other people are really reading it and even bothering to reply for it! Every comment is a smile on my face and putting this smile on other people’s faces and doing it every day is awesome...read more on Özge Karaoglu's blog
- When I leave a comment, I’m more likely to see the connections between the various posts I read, and more likely to follow the links provided in the initial post, as well as read the blogs of the other commenters on the same post....read more on Kim Cofino's Always Learning
Why I blog
- Comin' under the wire, watch a virtual chat with Vicki Hollett on Learning to Speak 'merican
- There are lots of great EFL teachers who blog. You will be learning from them and with them. If at first it feels like you are the one who is receiving all the knowledge and giving nothing in return, that will soon change. And let me tell you that the blogging community needs the people who can ask the right questions as much as it needs those who will answer them. ...read more on Natasa Gojic's blog
- Always wanted to write, to engage and entertain, to practise articulating my thoughts. What better chance to do so, than this. What better feedback than the number of people visiting, commenting. ...read more on Tamas Lorincz's blog
- I hope that Bite-Sized-English.com is a win-win situation. I hope that the people who come here hoping to practice and improve their English ‘win’ by getting good English practice, and good tips to improve their English. And I know that the website has been a win for me, because it’s helped me refine my teaching ...read more on Toby Crowley's Bite Sized English
- I noticed a few months into blogging that I could put on my blog, at no extra cost, a poll thing. How cool is that? After some thought I decided to do a poll of influential people in ELT in order to make a new list. I felt that I would be joining the ranks of all those great internet polls (World’s Sexiest Woman, Worst Pizza Place in America etc). I proudly announced my poll on Twitter and all hell broke loose. ...read more on Lindsay Clandfield's Six Things.
- Time is a real issue. I could easily spend the whole day blogging, and still I wouldn’t get everything out of my system that I want to say. ...read more on Jeremy Day's Specific English
- A lot of blog advice seems to focus on boosting traffic or monetizing content. Personally, though, I try not to do things with these targets in mind. It is easy to get consumed by finding the right keywords, or SEO, or link exchanges. I find that if I think about these things too much, it ruins what I write ...read more on Dave Royal's ESL etc
- Though I don’t make money from it and know I’m one of (and not one in) a million, blogging is as important to me as the teaching and writing I charge for. The best part has been the discipline of thinking about things in greater depth. ...read more on Anne Hodgson's No blog is an island
Did you get this far down the screen?
So, what do you think, did we cover everything?
Any questions still need answering? Fire away - if I/we can help, we will.
And do let us know when you've set up your new blog... but no spam, right ;-)
p.s. THANKS to all the bloggers who participated in this carnival and patiently waited for me to publish it and much thanks to you for reading it and the great entries listed.