Why do you blog?
I blog for many reasons which I articulate consistently in this weblog and elsewhere:
- As a way to learn about myself and my practice
- To make transparent my inquiry process
- As a way to collaborate with other bloggers and push my thinking
- To practice writing
In this post I want to revisit a reasoning at the core of my blogging, and one I feel I have lost sight of in my desire to advocate for blogging as a valid academic practice.
Activism and resistance.
The wonderful thing about the Internet is that its public usage was birthed quite anarchically and (if I remember anything about my undergraduate Politics 101 course), how something is birthed is often how it plays out. It is easy to pay attention to the Silicon corporations that are taking over this digital frontier – the entrepreneurial types who have found a way to exploit the gold rush rather than simply pick nuggets up in the streets. The thing is, the people who are the original peoples of the public Internet are the bloggers and the pirates. My theory is that no matter how instiutionalised the Internet gets, some pirate will work out a back door – resist – or some blogger will write about the exploitation and go viral through these back doors – activism.
You may ask what this has to do with teacher blogging. Bear with me. I have one more background story to lay the scene.
Yesterday I read a paper about virtual feminisms and how girl bloggers are entering the feminist discourse and making their voices heard in the juggernaut of countercultural activism. Blogging has allowed girls, those until now silenced in the academic and mediated voices of feminsm, to speak.
But what has teaching to with this?
Blogging has allowed teachers, those until recently silenced by the researchers who interpret their words, the media who misrepresent them, and the policy which binds them, to speak voices of resistance.
It actually doesn’t matter what side of pedagogical politics you are on. Blogging allows the writer to resist.
I was musing recently with a group of educators on Twitter about how reductive 140 characters is. How the nuances of research are impossible to discuss and become reduced to sound bites and hot takes of deep and complex thinking. That every piece of research I have seen discussed on Twitter gets a backlash of anecdotes, that the conversation becomes the battle of the anecdotes.
While this is frustrating in an industry committed to rigour, the power of the anecdote is often under estimated. What that anecdote does is remind the audience of a piece of research that nothing is 100% proven, that there is always going to be an outlier.
Blogging is slightly different. It is through the extended blogs that teachers and researchers can articulate some nuance (if not all), can use language that isn’t reductive to 140 characters, can engage in debate around what they say. Today I read a blog where teachers and policy makers were shown to be buying into a single way of thinking about pedagogy. It was a countercultural warning blog. Whether you agree with what was written or not, it was a blogger resisting what he sees to be the overriding culture of teaching. He was resisting and while he still blogs, he will be a doubt in that culture.
So while the Internet exists, bloggers and pirates will find ways to resist the pedagogical juggernaughts. I take a small amount of hope from this. I also remind myself as to why I blog.