Creative Conversations

Creative Conversations

For a while now I have been thinking about the paper I’m due to give at the RANACLES conference this week in Aix-Marseilles, entitled Blogging: online writing as creative conversationS, based on the online Moodle blogging course that I created last year and that you can find described in detail in the November teaching note just published in the GERAS, ASp Review. For this talk I have been thinking about how approaching language learning via blogging is to spark a multitude of conversations including those between teacher and learners, learners and learners, writers, readers and texts as well as bloggers and the blogging public.

The talk works from the premise that conversations are not only communicational but the loci for interaction and explains how the different conversational spaces within the blogging course were inspired by Jézégou’s notion of presence (socio-cognitive, socio-affective and pedagogical)  within the digital learning environment, in the hope of  ‘foster(ing) the development of an online Community of Inquiry with attendant individual and collective construction of knowledge’ (Jézégou, 2012). The paper looks at how some of the different writing activities (glossaries, forums, chats and wiki) articulate presence and learner behavior in collaborative activities.

Course conception tried to concentrate on developing autonomy in the process of learning English rather than the learning English per se. What is the difference? Perhaps only a certain dose of realism given that a course of this nature has only 18 hours teacher time at its disposal. The idea was that students collaboratively and individually gradually build up their knowledge regarding how to learn about and create a particular form of digital text and this knowledge-building model be transferable to other contexts in which the students might need to produce different forms of written English. Perhaps this is the sort of approach that Widdowson is thinking of in his plenary at last week’s Bremen conference:Valorizing practice: grounded histories of language learning and teaching’ (as reported in Shona Whyte’s recent post) when he talks about the necessity for teachers to ‘create momentum for further learning after teaching and beyond test’ (sic) and ‘develop(ing) capability not competence conformity’.

Following the comments to Shona’s post I came across the EFL Notes blog. Not only is this a stellar site in terms of content but the names given to the different sections on the right sidebar are nothing if not creative and made me chuckle: hot off the noggin, posts im diggin, post u diggin, ea me (RSS feeds) and egogo agogo (tweets).  

Thank you to Mura Nava and Shona Whyte for sharing and being ready to chat.

Thank you to Fig_tart for featured image

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