An Internet Blog for Students and Teachers
The Travelling Teachers
I am an Italian teacher of English. In 2013 I won a scholarship run by the Italian publishing house Zanichelli. I won the possibility to attend a summer course at Bell Teacher Campus in Cambridge. I chose a course about new technology in the classroom that enabled me to explore the potential uses of new technologies in teaching contexts. We learnt to use virtual learning environments, to exploit wikis and blogs, to use interactive whiteboards, to design webquests, games and activities through digital tools for our students.
The course was extremely interesting and I had the opportunity to meet a lot of teachers from all over the world. We shared our experiences, we worked hard but we had a lot of fun as well!
I also met an Italian colleague, Livia Santini. I’m from the south of Italy and she’s from the north. We wanted to keep in touch somehow, personally and professionally, so I suggested her to set up a blog for our students and for other teachers. Moreover, I wanted to put into practice some of the things I had learned.
The blog is about travelling, travelling in a broad sense. It mainly covers topics about British or American culture but it also deals with any matter concerning adolescence. We just started the blog few months ago but it is already followed by some people all over the world! Students are invited to leave their comments but we are going to make them put their own posts (with our guide) on the blog.
Blogs are very popular among students. Why shouldn’t teachers take advantage of this popularity? A classroom blog can change our students way of express themselves. In fact, being published is an incentive and motivation for many students. Even the most shy student might feel empowered by being able to express himself better in a written discussion than in front of his mates and his teacher.
When students study English as a foreign language at school they usually study English culture as well. “The Travelling Teachers” blog deals with many topics concerning foreign cultures in a different way. First of all, topics are treated in a amusing and enjoyable way, with many flashcards, animations, pictures, videos or audio files. Secondly, texts are mainly “hypertexts” thanks to many links that allow to investigate some issues. So, studying British or American cultures become more interesting for students of any age. Another important aspect is the promotion of a higher order of thinking skills. Students will have to study cultural aspects going beyond superficialities, posting comments that promote reflection and encourage synthesis. Among common topics about British or American cultures, there are also issues concerning typical teens problems. Blogging gives a sense of belonging to writers and readers so, becoming part of a community, students feel at ease in expressing their feelings.
Blogs support writing, reading and listening skills . The posts are entirely in English and students can enter reflections on posted questions (by teacher), publish essays or questions and share opinions. You can also reach some important goals concerning technology. Students can understand the ethical, cultural, and societal issues related to technology; they can use technology tools to increase productivity and creativity; they can improve their knowledge of other disciplines through the foreign language (CLIL); they can learn to locate, evaluate, and collect information from a variety of sources; they can use the language both within and beyond the school; in order to leave their comments, learners have the choice to organize their ideas and contents in their own ways, and this allows divergent and creative thinking and, in the end, they can start becoming life-long learners by using the foreign language for personal enjoyment and enrichment.
I hope you will enjoy The Travelling Teachers blog and become our followers!
P.S.: If you join the blog, you will find that we keep on travelling...
Roberta Martino (Blog Administrator)
Roberta Martino works as an English language teacher at “Istituto Comprensivo Losapio-S.Filippo Neri” in Gioia del Colle (Bari), Italy.