Yeah, I’ll admit it: as a kid, I owned a diary. Secured under lock and key was a plethora of pages I wrote about my secret desires and frustrations with parents and peers. Flip to any page, and you could instantly see reflection and insight about daily events in my life. Enter today’s teenager: Have a bad day? Who needs a diary to think through the problem when he or she can quickly post a profanity-laced 140-character tweet? To say that deep thought is lacking in today’s teen writing would be a gross understatement. Perhaps that is why it is so vitally important for teachers to encourage their students to start blogging. Through development of a personal blog, teenagers can become better writers, they can engage in meaningful discussions about their interests, and they can ultimately promote themselves in a way that may lead to a rewarding career opportunities.
Much has been said about the effects of texting on students writing. While it is arguable whether students are worse writers because of texting, one cannot argue that a blog post challenges students to explore their ideas in more breadth and depth than what can be said in 140 characters. “Blogs require a commitment to writing, to learning, and to growth over the long haul,” says Susan Lucille Davis, a 5th and 6th grade ELA teacher in Texas. Blogs are created for an audience, so it becomes the writer’s responsibility to fully explain his or her opinions, offer support and evidence for arguments, and address opposing views. Therefore, blogging forces students to develop into better writers. That’s something that you can’t do in a tweet.
If the writing is good, students will soon find that people are visiting their blogs and engaging in conversations about the topics that are important to them. Most blogging software allows visitors to leave comments which can initiate a conversation between the reader and the writer. A comment could challenge the writer’s views and demand a response in defense of his or her opinion. In her blog post “Getting more out of student blogging,” Kathleen Morris argues that, “conversations in the comment section of a blog are such rich and meaningful learning experiences for students.” Good writing can lead to meaningful debate. There are few learning experiences greater than when students are forced to reevaluate their beliefs or defend their convictions.
A lively conversation between student bloggers and their audiences could lead to something even greater: opportunity. By creating an online presence through a blog, students are able to promote themselves for future employers. The video “Privacy and reputation online” recounts the story of a student who created a blog about local interests and trends. He was eventually was offered a full-ride scholarship, which gave him the direction he needed to get the job he wanted. A blog can become a student’s interactive resume and portfolio, showing independent research and opinions about career interests. Furthermore, employers desire motivated and dedicated workers, and a blog can be proof that you are the perfect candidate for the position.
Teachers often say they want what is best for their students. That is why it is imperative that they encourage their students to start blogging. It will help their students become better writers, allow them to expand their minds by engaging in meaningful conversations with people all over the world, and it may even help them land the job of their dreams. The benefits of blogging are obvious, so it’s time for students to make their voices heard.