Friday, November 2, 2012

Blogging as a Habit

I usually don't post in this space, but I wanted to say a couple of things in response to your excellent midterm blog posts (which I very much enjoyed reading). 

This summer I read an interesting book, The Power of Habit, by a journalist named Charles Duhigg. As a teacher, I was really interested in what the book could teach me about creating assignments that fostered learning. What I realized over the course of reading your posts was that this blogging assignment (which I have been using for the past two years) promotes several good habits that have a strong influence on how we learn Shakespeare. As several of you commented in your reflections, regularly putting your ideas about our readings into the form of a blog post encourages careful reading, deeper reflection, and a better engagement with our ideas during class discussion. Psychologists might call blogging in this course a "keystone habit," because it helps develop other skills and positive behaviors.

I also thought about habits as I was reading your posts because it is clear from your posts that we all tend to have certain interpretive habits when we read Shakespeare (or any text, for that matter). This is true for me, as well, and it can be very helpful to have particular ideas and approaches to the text in mind when we are processing something as complicated as a Shakespeare play. But these habits of reading can also limit our engagement, and I was happy to see several posts in which the writer recognized such limitations in his or her approach to the plays. So as we move forward in the semester, it might be a productive exercise to use your reflection for this midterm post as a way of identifying such "interpretive habits" and experiment with other ways of approaching the text. It is always my hope that the blog can be a space for such experimentation, and there have been several posts this semester in which a blogger in our course tried something new with fantastic results!

No comments: