English Language Teachers Now Blogging, tech tip 10

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

  • 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 html Proficiency in a language allows us to communicate and connect with others. In the same way, proficiency in HTML, CSS, and JavaScript help us to effectively communicate and connect with our readers. If you are not a web head that is okay, because even knowing basic HTML can improve the way you communicate with your readers. ...read more on Shelly Terrell's Teacher Reboot Camp

  • 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

On audience

  • 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.)

On community

  • 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.

On commenting
  • 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
  • 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?

Wow ;-)

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.

25 Responses to “English Language Teachers Now Blogging, tech tip 10”

  • Miracel says:
    August 07, 2009

    My hats off to you, Karenne! You couldn't have done it any better.

  • Barbara Sakamoto says:
    August 07, 2009

    This is a definite bookmark for me--so many links to useful information in one place. Answered questions I hadn't even known enough to ask....:-)

    Thanks for putting it all together!

  • Carol Goodey says:
    August 07, 2009

    What a fantastic post, Karenne! Such a lot of work has obviously gone into producing this, with great results. The different voices of so many bloggers come through in the snippets you've chosen to incude in the post and I'm looking forward to exploring the many new to me over the next few days. Thank you!!!

  • Heike Philp says:
    August 07, 2009

    Mega fantastic blog post!!!


  • Burcu Akyol says:
    August 07, 2009

    It must be the best and the most comprehensive blog post about blogging in ELT!Apparently you put a lot of time and effort in this. All I can say is that it is fantastic! Thanks Karenne!


  • Jason Renshaw says:
    August 07, 2009

    What an outstanding post, and yet again highlights your unique talent for drawing together people to unite resources and tips.

    Well done, Karenne!

    ~ Jason

  • Kenny says:
    August 07, 2009

    This post is brilliant in many ways. You contribute tremendously to your profession and to those you touch.


  • monika hardy says:
    August 07, 2009

    kool beans girlfriend. what an incredible compilation.

    hope you don't mind i added it here: http://worthreading.wetpaint.com/

    now take a break lovely. play a bit....

  • Janet Bianchini says:
    August 07, 2009

    Wow!! What an amazing post!! I feel so privileged to be included. Karenne, thank you so much for all your hard work. You are a real inspiration to me. I will be looking into the blogs of the people you have included and can't wait to learn from them all!

    It's very useful to have so much information in one space. I am sure this will become the definitive place for new bloggers to seek fantastic, practical advice.

    I think the slideshow is lovely. I must learn how to create one!

  • Shelly Terrell says:
    August 08, 2009


    I have to say this is the best blog carnival I have seen put together and a perfect example why your blog was placed in the top 10 of the 100 blogs. This incredible piece appeals to the visual senses and in each piece you captured the core of the bloggers' advice. Any new blogger should bookmark this post as well as current bloggers as a fantastic example of what their blogs should aspire to be. It has taken me a little bit longer than normal to comment because I have been so engrossed by the posts!

    Thank you for your diligence and support of various ELT bloggers!

  • Unknown says:
    August 08, 2009

    What a wonderful job you've done putting it all together.

  • Inma Alcázar says:
    August 09, 2009

    Congratulations Karenne for the interesting, useful and brilliant post you have written!! Keep on good work! Thanks a lot a lot!

  • Isabelle Jones says:
    August 09, 2009

    Thank you for including my post and presenting all those great posts in such an attractive way. I have my summer reading sorted now...


  • testecarla says:
    August 10, 2009

    Karenne, this carnival is like a blogging feast! Thanks for compiling all these wonderful resources which will certainly inspire educators to get started. Wonderful job!

  • Natasa says:
    August 11, 2009

    Karenne, I am grateful for the day I met you. I honestly believe my blog wouldn't be what it is today without you guiding me along the way. The way you have brought TEFL bloggers together is amazing.
    Thank you for the wonderful blogging carnival and for all the hard work that must have gone into organising it.

  • Illya Arnet says:
    August 11, 2009

    It takes one person with a mission and the ability to mobilize others to take part in it. You did an excellent job of bringing people, advice and blogs together! Chapeau, Karenne!

  • Vicki says:
    August 11, 2009

    What a wealth of information! All this stuff I need to know in one place! Fantastic!

  • Tamas Lorincz says:
    August 13, 2009

    Well, this entry was posted a few day ago but I didn't have a chance to have a proper look.
    Now I have and I am amazed.

    It's amazing how you have managed to put everything together in such a brilliant way. The post exudes the enthusiasm you have for what you are doing, and the respect you show for all that join you in your 'mission'. I am honoured to belong to such a great company.
    Thanks for all I have learnt from you Karenne (and many of the great people you mention in this post, or I have got to know through this post) , so far, as a teacher, as a human being and as a blogger. You're an inspiration.

  • The TEFL Tradesman says:
    August 14, 2009

    Very well done, Karenne; in fact, the only thing missing is me!

    Sandy McManus

  • Anonymous says:
    August 17, 2009

    Respect! A true inspiration. I'll certainly be reading the individual posts in more detail for setting up my own blog - finally!

    Lisa R

    August 17, 2009

    Sandy darlin' you were on vacation and didn't get my email ;-( you know you'd be here if not.

    Lisa - ta, muchly - looking forward to seeing you 'round the blogosphere!


  • Anne Hodgson says:
    September 08, 2009

    Holy moly. Great idea, great job, great collection.
    I'm a devoted follower, but missed this post, being offline at the time. Yet things don't get lost when they're so expertly organized!
    Kudos to you :) and thank you.

  • Tugce Andic says:
    January 04, 2010

    Hi Karenne,
    I'm so new in blogging (and teaching also)
    I see that you offer very useful information here, that's inspiring.
    I started to share my TESOL courses on my blog.

  • Anonymous says:
    February 14, 2010

    and thanks ever so much Karenne for sending me the link to this...really really useful.


    February 14, 2010

    Hi T and Mark,

    You're very welcome - do enjoy your journey through the ELT blogosphere and welcome both - looking forward to collaborating and learning from each other.



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