Reflection on Exploring the Blogsphere
I was excited to read this article. I was teaching English as a foreign language in Japan. This article gave me really good ideas to develop students' English and critical thinking skills.
There are so many Japanese students who don't know why they learn English. English has been required in order to take competitive entrance exams of college in Japan. It is not practicul English. I was often asked from my students, "Why do we have to study English?" Then I just answered "You will have to speak English when you travel abroad." "I won't go abroad!", students said. I was not able to find any other good answers for students, but I believe most of the Japanese students will need to speak English in the future because of the globalized society in Japan. In fact, I am in the US!
However, students now want to know the reason why they are learning English, and they want to learn it with interest and motivation if possible. Then, I think using blog in my class is be a very good idea. Because students usually don't go to foreign countries and don't know much about other cultures, if they read blogs of some Japanese people who are in the US, England, Australia, or other English-speaking countries in Japanese, they will get surprised at different cultures and interested in them. They also can try to respond to the blogs in English and read other students' responses in English.
I believe they will be able to develop their reading and writing skills, and ciriticul thinking skill through those discussions on blogs, even for shy students who often cannot say their opinions in a classroom.