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What have the students learned?

February 8, 2013

The blog task is almost finished! My students only have to comment on the last post, and improve any of their previous posts, and then they are done. I asked them to write about what they thought of the experience, and here are some samples:

“Thank you for following my blog! It has been a blast. I will certainly read some of the books that my classmates has written about, thanks to their blogs.”

I quote this because several students have written similar things: reading the blogs of others in class made them want to read more books. I think that is a good enough reason for doing something like this. But there are other positive outcomes too. One student writes:

“This assignment has changed my views on reading.”

Not everyone is a bookworm. Some students say they hate reading, but even they seem to enjoy it once they get started. And they read differently too. The blog tasks forced them to try and answer questions while they were reading,

and most students write that this has made them more observant readers (for better or worse. Some would still prefer to simply enjoy a book without thinking too much).

Still, the greatest result of this work has been getting past the writing barrier.

“To answer the last suggested question in the task: yes, I think that this is a very productive way of working with a book. As mentioned earlier, you have to work in a structured manner. And for people who don’t like to write too much, I think that working like this is easier. You do not notice how much you are writing during the process.”

Most students wrote somewhere between 1500-2000 words, which is something like 3-5 pages in print. That is a phenomenal achievement for some, who would usually struggle to get past one page. I am really proud of them for that, and they should be proud of themselves, too. The trick is to divide the work in smaller parts, and not look at it as one, massive, impossible task. If they can remember that lesson from this blog project, they will find many things less daunting.

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