Reflection on reflection

I present myself in a specific way >
which attracts a certain group of people >
who are a source of new information & knowledge >
which dramatically affects the way I see things >
which is then reflected in the way I present myself >
which again attracts new people with the same interests. 
Recently I discovered an interesting fact about teachers and educators: they all LOVE blogging. I suppose it doesn’t sound new to anybody involved in social media. But not only do teachers love keeping online diaries, they also enjoy talking about their blogging and blogging in general. This post is actually an example of this two-in-one type – it’s blogging about blogging (and reflection on reflection).
I’ve noticed that at the slightest hint concerning blogging, for example in an ELT Twitter chat, the teachers’ eyes start glowing and you know immediately that the conversation is going to go on for ages. I’m not surprised – I love blogging and discussing why I like blogging as well. This feature must be inherently present in all teachers’ character – or maybe it’s a feature common to all humans. Some discover it sooner, some later, for others it remains uncovered – but I dare say it’s always there. Teachers are predominantly creative creatures and have loads of fantastic ideas, some of which they can put into practice in the class. But there are tons of other latent ideas which can only be discovered and brought to life during one’s reflection, i.e. mental concentration and careful consideration. And keeping a diary is perfect for reflection. Generally, composing a meaningful post takes a lot of time and thinking. The problem with publicly shared diaries is that apart from having to express one’s ideas clearly and succinctly, one has to use the language correctly. Furthermore, the fact that everything important has already been said or written also complicates the matter. It’s virtually impossible to come up with something new. But I gather we don’t keep diaries to invent the wheel; their purpose is to help us reflect on important moments of our lives, they enabled us to air views, express in words what we think and feel. One of the advantages of blogging is that it enables retrospect, which is a kind of reflection. It’s good to come back to your previous posts now and then because looking back over your shoulder can reveal how much you’ve changed and how much you’ve grown.
 
As well as in your blog posts, your personal and professional growth can be reflected in your profile – a short biographical sketch presenting you in various social media. Some people change their profile photo on a regular basis because they feel that they always need to display their new ‘self’. I occasionally change my profile description for similar reasons; when I consider the current description no longer up-to-date. I’d compare this to shedding skin which becomes too small or tight each time I widen my horizons, expand my knowledge and my list of interests but most importantly, when my priorities change. And I want other people to know about my new self because I want to create a meaningful PLN – a potential source of knowledge and the key to keeping me posted on all the stuff I’m interested in.
 
So blogging, and in fact my entire existence in social media, works on the basis of cause and effect. That’s why I believe that among other things, we have to reflect carefully on the way we want to present ourselves…. especially because birds of a feather flock together. To use ‘social constructivists’ words’, we learn because we interact with others. We collaboratively create a small culture of shared artifacts with shared meanings. When one is immersed within a culture of this sort, one is learning all the time about how to be a part of that culture on many levels.

It seems I haven’t said anything new to the reader but through reflection on reflection I’ve changed a little; I’ve grown a little since the first word of this post came to life. Have you?

 *Goal 29, 2012 cycle – Grow through reflection

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About Hana Tichá

I'm an EFL teacher based in the Czech Republic. I've been teaching English to learners of all ages for more than 20 years. I love metaphors and inspiring discussions concerning teaching, learning and linguistics.
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