Blogging for Reflection

In all of my teaching career, I’ve always encouraged my students to pause and reflect on what they’ve done at the conclusion of any exercise.  In my Computer Science classes, it was to take a look at what they’ve just programmed with the idea of making it more efficient or more user-friendly or more accurate.  In my pre-service university class, I encourage my students to force themselves to reflect on every lesson, every learning activity that they’ve asked students to do.  What can be learned?  What can be done better?  When went wrong so that you don’t do the same thing again?

In my own lesson plans, I have a section at the bottom of each entitled “Reflections”.  I use it all the time to remind myself what went well, what went not so well, and what to do or remember should I get an opportunity to teach the same thing again.  It’s good for me and a process of refinement to make things that I do better in the future.

In the electronic world, I do encourage folks to share their successes on Twitter.  It’s potentially a more global audience.  It’s probably not the best place for a deeper reflection with the 140 character limit, but that’s where having a blog puts you over the top.  Blogging is a discipline and you need to force yourself to do it regularly in order for the writing to help you with the benefits that writing can provide.  It’s strangely cathartic but does do the job if you let it.  Just by commiting your words or emotions to print can be a form of release.  I encourage everyone to give it a shot and see if it works for you.

Yesterday, I’m sitting in a medical waiting room ready to give up some blood and it’s going to be a while.  None of the reading material looks interesting (or sanitary) so I pull out my Blackberry to check what’s happening in my slice of the Twitterverse.  One of my friends and followers is pcornqueen.  Other than online, I’ve never met this lovely lady but we share tweets back and forth almost daily.  Usually, it’s just a simple good morning and “how’s the weather?”  She’s from Western Michigan and generally is a 3-4 hour weather heads-up forecaster about what’s about to hit us in South Western Ontario.

So, we do our regular pleasantries and she mentions that she had created a blog post, if I was interested.

The lineup is long so I decide to check it out.  Reading a blog on a Blackberry can be an interesting process.  In particular, when someone adds a long entry, there’s a great deal of scrolling.  pcornqueen’s entries can be long but I’ve got to be 10th in line so I decide to read it.

From the start, this appeared to be more than the regular blog-fare that you run across on the web.  It’s a tribute to a young man, her brother, who had a short life.  The content gets very deep, very emotional in a hurry as she describes his life and his unfortunate choice to get into a car with a driver who had been drinking.

It’s yet another story that talks about the pain that comes when a single bad decision can ruin so much  and the impact that it has on family.  In this case, it isn’t one of those commercials that you see on television.  It’s cold, hard life.

I didn’t reply to the blog entry via Blackberry but did respond on Twitter noting that that would have been a difficult post to compose.  Of course it was, but it was also a personal way to cope on what would have been a significant birthday.

Reflection can be so powerful and can reach out to others when appropriate.  To share the moment may help others deal with similar situations and also, hopefully, discourage those who would put themselves in a similar situation.  There are so many alternatives than to get into a car with a driver who has been drinking.

You can read the entire entry here.

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