Out with the old…

Or: Blog comments I wish I’d made in 2013

So yeah. Around a year ago I wrote what turned out to be a ridiculous post where I shared my “SMART” plan of making 3 comments a week on other (English teaching) blogs. I still hold on to the belief it was reasonable but I also know it didn’t work. At all. I haven’t crunched the numbers but instead of around 150 total comments on other blogs I think I think my yearly commenting total something more like 50, maybe. It is interesting, well for me at least, to note that my non-publicized goal of 50 blog posts was in fact met. For those of you scoring along at home, the goal I thought was too audacious to publicize was met (handily) but the one I thought was much more reasonable was not anything close to met. Around 14 months ago I did a post sort of catching up on blog comments I’d intended to make in the year 2012. That post, “12 Before the End of 12” is right here. In that post I made it a mission to leave comments I’d intended to leave in 2012 before the year ended. It was a bit of fun and a nice chance for me to look back on some other blog posts I’d been thinking about for a while.

Fans of and experts in foreshadowing might have an idea what is coming up next in this here post. I am going to mention some blog posts from 2013 I have been thinking about for a while and then go ahead and comment on them.

I find it is always tough when mentioning a certain group at the exclusion of others. There are so many great posts out there and so many I wish I’d taken (or had) the time to comment on. I also wish to be clear that I am not expecting any response from the original authors and don’t wish to put any undo pressure upon them. Perhaps I am mostly trying to relieve myself of the guilt and burden of all these un-written comments. The blogs and humans attached to them are mentioned in no particular order and if you click on the name you will be magically transported to their blogs.

Steve Brown
According to my calculations Steve posted exactly 50 blog posts in 2013. According to my opinion this helped make his blog one of the best around. It seems like every week he was cooking up something new and interesting. There were so many times I wished I’d commented on Steve’s blog during the year. This was also (but only) partially due to the thoughtful comments he left on mine. I frequently thought about offering up a response to Steve’s 21 questions for language teachers (well worth a look and numerous thoughts) for some time but eventually chickened out decided not to. The post I decided to comment on now is powerful one called, “Language Selection: An Evolution” in which Steve talks about his experiences and evolution as a teacher.

Kevin Stein
The blog tagline reads, “because if you tried to count up all the things that affected learning in a classroom, you’d need a million million fingers (and you’d still probably fall way short).” I always thought this was a lovely and deep line that matches this thought-provoking blog well. The post I chose to comment on now is about Extensive Reading and certain what-ifs related to it. Those interested in ER will also want to see this one in which Kevin explores “Teacher Dereliction Anxiety Disorder” as related to ER.

Ann(a) Loseva
Ann is on quite the blogging spree in 2014 and I highly recommend checking out her writing. I think it is always great and enjoyable and her most recent posts have been especially fab. The 2013 post from this blog I most want to comment is called “Developing Kindness, Possibly Improving on Reasoning” and the ending lines are, “And I am not sure how to end this. I suppose it’s got quite bizarre by the finishing lines. There is apparently no conclusion to be made, to match the main idea.” 

Bonus: Check out Ann’s 2012 post on PARSNIPS

Extra bonus random disclosure: I didn’t even know parsnips were a veggie until I read this post, and just knew as an acronym.

Rose Bard
Wow, I just realized Rose has been on a blogging spree lately too! There is a lot for me to catch up on the last few months. Rose is one of my favorite people in the ELT blogosphere and although I have only known her around a year I sometimes feel like I have known her for ages. Her blog is a joy to read (and I am looking forward to getting fully caught up). The post I am commenting on today is called, “Taking Mixed Feelings a bit further” and is about feedback and observation. It is related to a previous post, “Mixed feelings on Observation.”  Both are well worth reading.

Anne Hendler
I had a hard time choosing just one of Anne’s posts to comment on. There were  quite a few that stuck on in my mind and I finally decided to comment on this this one from Feb 2013 on “making a good class better and why we should do so and think about doing so.” If I were to be as silly as to offer an excuse for not commenting on this excellent blog more frequently I would mention that I am lucky enough to  be in touch through other means of electronic communication and even talk to her face to face.

@EBEFL (AKA Russel Mayne)
A great writer with a great twitter profile, Russ is surely in the top three people I enjoy disagreeing with on the internets. I always think about his posts but don’t often leave a comment.  Here is one post of mine where I turned a would be comment into a post of its own (which is probably some sort of blogging faux pas). Considering all the thought provoking stuff this guy has put put out there my choice of posts to comment on is probably not appropriate. It is one I think about all the time, though. You see, Russ often takes a firm, lucid, and eloquent stance against prescriptivism. However, in this post he took down one of his pet hates, the expression “the exception that proves the rule.” I think about him and his post every single time I hear or read this phrase and it is much more frequent that I would have imagined. So, in my humble comment on his post I offer some quick and not helpful thoughts on this expression and his post.

Josette LeBlanc
First of all, check out the snazzy new design on her blog. Then, read all the posts from 2009 till now. Josette is one of the first ELT bloggers I ever met. Actually, I knew her from her blog before I met her in person. She is also the person that nudged me into blogging. So, please fee free to blame her for all the crap I write. The 2013 post of hers I chose to comment on ow at this late date is called, “Understanding Groups: Forming, Storming, Norming, Performing” and to be honest, I thought I’d left a comment when it came out. 

Tyson Seburn
Tyson is the all-time leader commenter here at ELT RRR (and even commented on my most recent guest post while I was writing this). Congrats and thanks to Tyson! His commenting prowess (it is not just the frequency but also the quality–and I am talking about many ELT blogs, not just mine) is actually not why I am including his blog here, though. The reason for inclusion is just like all the others, his blog has been a source of inspiration and insight. One of the many posts of his that comes to mind frequently is this one about conference session types.

Gemma Lunn
I used a very scientific procedure to choose which of Gemma’s to comment on. I knew I wanted to comment on one of her posts related to her fantastic “6 week challenge” from last year and I just chose the only post from that which didn’t have a comment on it yet. The post I commented on is about ending a class. All the posts (like everything on her blog) are great and well-worth reading. Those interested in reflective practice will surely want to have a look.

The SecretDOS
The opening lines of the most recent post on this blog read:

Sometimes I get taken aback by how much self-serving cant there is in the world of ELT.
Hahaha! How’s that for an opening line! Part of my brain tells me that it’s time to write something that most people could never agree with. The world of blogs is full of confirmation bias and homophily. Homophily, for those of you who are wondering what on earth I am on about, is a self-aggrandising way of saying that birds of a feather flock together (which in turn is an example of the Eason-Rosen effect that says that when put together/if words rhyme/ they’ll be more convincing/most of the time).

To my mind, the post delivers on the promise with which is begins. I am not here to comment on 2014 blog posts, however. I am not even here to discuss 2012 blog posts or the interesting comments found there. I am here to highlight (and then leave a comment on) a post from 2013  where defensiveness is attacked.

John Pfordresher
The post I’m choosing to leave a comment on is about feedback and observation topics near and dear to me. I could have chosen any number of posts because they are all interesting and related to things I am interested in. Many times while reading his blog I think “I will surely get back to this later and leave a comment but I don’t manage to. This is unfortunate because he touches on issues that I think are very important and interesting.  Also, John is the ELT blogger “Most Likely to Blog Twice in a Day.”

2014 Bonus: Check out his (and others’) stuff related to the Reflective Practice Challenge.

Divya Madhavan
I think this post  was the first post of hers I ever read. I was hooked. When her posts come out I savor every word. I have RTed her posts and even told her how much I love  her writing but I surely haven’t commented as much as I would have liked to. My comments appear on a post about Critical Pedagogy

Finally, and it is sort of a cop out but there were so many fantastic posts on the iTDi blog (info on iTDi in general can be found here). I wanted to be sure to mention the blog here.  I often hoped and expected to get back there and leave a comment at least saying something was interesting and informative but didn’t get around to it as much as I would have liked. There are just so many great posts there. The current issue is on Classroom Management and is well worth a look.

The End (for now) 

Thus ends my “comments I wish I’d made last year” post. Thanks very much for reading. Please do click through to some of these posts and blogs in order to help me clean away the feelings of disappointment related to my lack of commenting in 2013. Wish me luck in my (unannounced!) goal of blog commenting for this year and also maybe see you around this time next year to read about my attempts to catch up on 2014 comments.


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