Blog-[we]b + log
noun – a journal or diary written for public viewing on a website and consisting typically of personal reflections, commentary on current events, etc. arranged chronologically
verb -to blog is defined as to write on a website that comments on current events of a specific topic
The words log and journal are used interchangeably, although traditionally we consider journals to be records of personal events, thoughts, aspirations and disappointments. As a vehicle for expressing innermost secrets without the expectation of exposure, a journal is private, whereas a log has the connotation of a more public record of events. An interesting fact regarding the etymology of the word log (in the nautical sense) is that it originally referred to a literal piece of hollowed out wood which was thrown over the side of a ship in order to measure the speed, and hence progress. In time, a ship’s log recorded details of all daily events in what was essentially an enclosed environment.
This got me thinking about the nature of blogs. Whilst they are indeed by definition a public platform: nothing on the web is private; surely writing about personal reflections is an oxymoron, or at least gives the sense of being such. Yet, increasingly we require students to post on blogs (usually on VLEs) as evidence of their individual learner journey. In my experience, learners/students have a tendency to initially balk at the idea. Could this be because of the act of making public (even if it is within the ‘closed environment’ of the college/uni) what might otherwise be considered to be a very personal, and therefore private venture? Reflective practice, particularly important in the field of education, takes time to hone and for us to get out of the mindset of focusing only on personal negatives or weaknesses. At first, we may feel like the hollowed out log trailing behind the ship, reflecting only as a means of measuring speed. As our learning develops however, we realise that progress is rarely about how long the journey took us but where it took us. Likewise, rather than the process resulting in feeling as if our insides have been hollowed out, true reflective practice provides strength and a sense of completeness.
So, is this process helped or hindered by blogging? I would like to think so. What do you think?
Thank you for taking the time to read my post. Comments are very welcome.
4 thoughts on “Post 2 -Reflections”
Those are really important points you raise and questions you ask. I should probably have this discussion with my students each semester! Whether it helps or hinders… I think often it’s a bit of both. It helps as it pushes one to reflect more and interact with audience (and more) but can hinder our thinking as there will always be things we don’t feel comfortable making public – do we eventually self-censor to the point that we av pid dwelling on those thoughts altogether? Do we need to necesssarily create outlets for these private thoughts to flourish alongside the public ones? Or provide prerequisite private spaces first?
Thank you for your comment Maha. Certainly self censorship comes into play in any forum as to some extent we are taking a risk, a leap of faith so to speak, in that, we can only hope that our ‘audience’ will respond without being overly judgemental of our exposure. If we take self censorship to the extreme then we actually cease to be able to reflect, at least in any meaningful way.
Interestingly, I am currently reading Peter Brook’s (1968) critique of the theatre and I would like to share an excerpt that, although is in the context of acting, actually relates very well to the points above.
‘A word does not start as a word – it is an end product which begins as an impulse, stimulated by attitude and behaviour which dictates the need for expression. This process occurs inside the dramatist; it is repeated inside the actor. Both may only be conscious of the words, but both for the author and then for the actor the word is a small visible portion of the gigantic unseen formation.’
In the context of the reflective process, are we hoping, perhaps subconsciously, that the words we use to express ourselves can be repeated ‘inside’ our audience in an attempt to explain the ‘unseen formation’ of our thoughts and reasoning on a matter?
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Hi Heather! I really enjoyed reading this reflective piece, particularly learning about the etymology of the word log! You mention that true reflective practice provides strength and a sense of completeness. I think that depends on how we go about reflecting on our practice, what do you think? For example I often get that sense of completeness when I’m writing a blog post but that’s probably because of the nature of writing itself. Sometimes I find myself thinking deeply as I’m walking or doing something else and don’t get the same satisfactory feeling telling me that “it’s done.” Hope this makes sense:)
Do we need to necesssarily create outlets for these private thoughts to flourish alongside the public ones?
Maha, what an intriguing question! Aras recently commented that he was always willing to share his thoughts (or something along those lines) because he didn’t want to capture them in “cognitive prisons.”
PS. Heather, is there a way to subscribe to your blog via email like Maha’s? Do you get email notifications when I post a new blog post?
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Hi Suzan. Thank you for your comment.
Love the phrase ‘cognitive prisons’ as it sheds another light on freedom of expression. Are we inadvertently setting a self imposed ban on our freedom of expression by not allowing thoughts to extend beyond the confines of our own mind? For me, thoughts are formulated into ideas through dialogue (verbal or written) with others. Obviously there are certain thoughts we keep to ourselves, but in terms of sharing in order to reflect, focus, or create, I think this is necessary.