Blogging takes time: It takes time to write, time to comment, time to research other blogs and bloggers and read/ comment thoughtfully on their work. Creating a community takes time, and it can’t be rushed.
Blogging as part of a language course can be frustrating because sometimes the gives and the takes and the loosey gooseyness of the blogging web-o-sphere does not correspond with the highly structured 16 week academic semester. Plus, you are doing this in your second language: that’s hard and writing takes 3x as long as it would in your first language. As a result, students (and teachers), hungry for results and comments and stats, sometimes they get frustrated by the lack of feedback and just give up on blogging.
Sometimes you just have to give it a little more time….yeah, like, three years.
In the Spring of 2010, I posted a Youtube video of a song by the Guatemalan singer Ricardo Arjona called “Si el norte fuera el sur” (If The North Were The South). In addition to being a great example of how to use si clauses and the imperfect subjunctive, the song chronicles the differences (and stereotypes that abound) between the United States and Latin America and imagines what were to happen if the north were to switch places with the south.
My students commented on the blog about the song and we discussed it in class and, we thought, that was that. The semester ends, and everyone goes their separate ways.
And then the comments started coming in.
Rather than turning off commenting as I normally do I forgot and left them on. Sure, I have had some spambots tell me (in English and Spanish!) how I could enhance difference parts of my anatomy and what a great blog I have. But there were genuine comments too, as seen below, and despite what my students may have thought, people were interested in what the class was discussing…. just not at the precise time when we were discussing it.
Creating community and conversations in a second language and in the blogosphere takes time… sometimes more time than our semester allows. How do we encourage and nurture these organic connections via blogs inside an academic setting that is one giant time crunch of deadlines and due dates?
Is it possible to have a balance between the two? I welcome your comments…
(To see the original post, the students’ comments, and the comments that follow below in context, please click here)
[Featured Image: Upside Down Americas from http://peregringo.com/]