Blogging – “What set you off?”

Burning_KeyboardBlogging is something so valuable, especially for “education”. No longer are we reliant on “the expert” and the “paid”.  We can hear the voices of the many “grunts” like you and us. We can hear those voices and learn, change, respond, be engaged, in a word – grow.

Karenne on Kalinago English recently blogged about blogging. Through reading her several posts, I got to thinking about “why” a person starts to blog. Not those vague and general things like:

“I want to share what I know”

“I just needed an outlet”

“I wanted to create something”

No, no, no. You see, I really espouse the notion that it is the small and proximate things which matter. Actions are always of the moment, contingent. Usually there is some thing, a definite act that “sets you off”.  A spark that begins the fire. I’d like to know what your spark was, what set you off and tipped the balance and made you become a blogger?

Here’s what set me on fire.  A note in an essay from a former professor.

philosophyI had the honor once upon a time, to take a post graduate course “The Philosophy of Education”.  It was taught by Gerald Gutek, distinuguished scholar at Loyola University.  We used his own book as the course text, “Philosophical and Ideological Voices in Education”. I enjoyed the course and more so “the man” who really allowed us to voice our own beliefs and values.  At the end of the course, I wrote my final essay and waited for my mark.

However, I got a nice email about my essay and at the end of his comments he just left a bolded, “Have you ever thought about trying to do some educational writing?”  That was my spark – just a few words. Bolded.  Probably without that note, I wouldn’t have made my own 160 posts this year or last….. Thank you Dr. Gutek.

I’m proud of this blog because of its depth. When I post, I post. Use the search and find so many gems. Let me know that you read them – that’s the wood that keeps the initial spark alight.

And to end, I ask again – What set you off and on fire, as a blogger?

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Teacher trainer, technology specialist, educational thinker...creator of EFL Classroom 2.0, a social networking site for thousands of EFL / ESL teachers and students around the world.

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6 Responses

  1. Harold Shaw says:

    I started blogging as a weekly reflection journal about what was happening in my classes in ’07, then I started commenting on other blogs and began to write to get the thoughts out of my head. Drafting posts in my blog helps me sort things out, I have deleted many potential blogs or partially written ones for a variety of reasons, but mostly because once I wrote them down, it refocused me on the actual issue, not my previous perception of what I thought was going on. Writing it down forces me to justify what I am writing about.

    Thank you for making me think about the why I started.


  2. ddeubel says:

    Thanks for dropping in Harold!

    I’d really be interested in what actually pushed you over the edge and made your pick up the pen (so to speak) that first day. I guess sometimes, it is hard to remember exactly 🙂

    Also, I should have mentioned – please add your blog link if you comment! I know many blogs don’t like links in comments – not me! (as long as it isn’t about Puma Shoes LOL). Link away.

    But that is a great “spark”, helping you sort things out… that’s the main effect of reflection and I’m sure my friend Tom Farrell who writes a lot about reflection, would agree. I’ll have to send him this post and see what he thinks…

  3. I wish I could say it was something as lovely as this…

    I started in 2007 as a way to have some kind of e-portfolio of work and to grab the name Kalinago… (they are one of my ancestors)

    but… quickly abandoned that…

    then I was in a session with Dudeney on using the net to your advantage and took the step, initially, to market my writing… (Just being honest here).

    But I dunno, about three months in, I fell – how can I say this without saying like a total geek – I fell head over heels in love with the medium – I loved, love, messing around with my template, taught myself HTML just to do this…

    I’ve always written (and well, a long time ago, thought I’d be a screenwriter by the time I reached this age) but I fell passionately in love with the words on the page – words I owned

    And then… because everything in my life is indeed topsy turvy blogging became my life’s purpose – my reason for waking up in the morning… I fell in love with the fact I was contributing to the democratization of education…

    and finally, where am I now today, on July 31, 2010 after watching a film which has completely rocked my world? (The Age of Stupid)

    The spark that lights my fire today

    is that we MUST stop using paper.

    Blogging is not only just about sharing knowledge and experiences with others, it’s also a social responsibility.


  4. ddeubel says:


    I think this says so much about the importance of blogging –

    I fell in love with the fact I was contributing to the democratization of education…

    The playing field gets leveled and it is those with dedication and knowledge, in a word, “merit” who prosper. I think blogging does bring us away from the “credential” based system and into a place where merit is valued more. Some might not like that but as David Truss on his blog says – “my blog IS my Phd”. Yours certainly is.

  5. Teresa Bestwick says:

    I started my blog as a way of remembering all the activities I’ve picked up over the years. I often found myself remembering a game which I hadn’t played for ages and wondering why I never wrote out a list of the activities which have worked well in my classes.

    My blog hasn’t “developed” much since then – it’s still a space for me to record activities, with a few rants about the classroom thrown in for good measure!

  6. ddeubel says:


    Edited and noted!

    You do bring up 2 good points. One – can a blog “develop”? I’m kinda not sure because for me, a blog is always “at the moment” – it reflects a certain moment in time and is judged in that vein, not over time…..

    Secondly, I too am like you in that I do use my blog to “squirrel away” stuff. Must be the European, post war German Jew complex in me! I see that on my community, EFL Classroom 2.0 but also on the blog. I come back and “find” stuff and get a warm feeling knowing that it is safe and sound here… I think many others use their blogs like safe sanctuaries too….

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