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It’s Worth Taking a Look at this Blog

I’ve read so many negative and bitter blogs posts this weekend that I wonder what is happening to some educators. Do people really have this much time to rant, whinge and criticise? There’s so much good going on, there are so many wonderful ideas to share and reflect on that I have little time for those who chose the negativity and finger pointing route.  In fact, I ‘ve decided that from now on PLN should stand for POSITIVE LEARNING NETWORK, attitude is so important.

It is therefore with great pleasure that I am able to end the weekend on a high note with a post on “It’s worth keeping an eye on this blog” and share and celebrate with those of you in my PLN that wish to extend their reading and thought-flows.

I was tagged by Arjana Blazic who I haven’t met in person yet but has done some marvellous Wiki and Glogster projects and shares her “traveling, international student and teacher exchanges, field trips and educational projects on her blog

This tagging or nomination is part of an initiative called “Vale a pena ficar de olho nesse blog”, which means “It’s worth keeping an eye on this blog”. I like the “Vale” as that is my nick! Vale24 and vale360!

So how does this work? The chosen blog has to copy the picture above, with a link to the blog from which it has received the award  e.g. in my case it was thanks to Arjana

Then write ten more links to the blogs which you think are well worth keeping an eye on. I’d say that means not just visiting occasionally but actually subscribing to and following!  And the chain goes on, as each tagged bloggger can copy the image above and link to 10 blogs they read and enjoy, blogs they feel others in their PLN will benefit from knowing about and reading.

Here are my ten:

  1. Burcu Akyol
  2. Nik Peachey
  3. Lindsay Clanfield
  4. Robert Martinez
  5. Karenne Sylvester
  6. Dragos Roua
  7. Gavin Dudeney
  8. Ken Wilson
  9. Shelly Terrell
  10. Anne Fox

PS You  can find more fabulous blogs on Eva’s blog or on the blog rolls of the blogs listed here. You see? There’s so much out there to raise our glass to.


  1. Hi Valentina,

    Thank you for making a stand. I feel sick myself reading these criticisms and really in education or anywhere there is so much to criticize. For me, I believe supporting each other goes a long way. I love your term, a Positive Learning Network! I don’t understand why people are so quick to judge, criticize and write people off and great things that are accomplished in our field and not realize after all a PLN has a human component and humans are not exactly error free including myself.

  2. This is a great initiative, Vale – I hope it catches on!

    As someone who recently blogged in an attempt to be critical (in the analytical sense), and probably didn’t do it all that effectively it would seem, I’d like you to know I’ve heard you and I’m going to bear it in mind henceforth.


    ~ Jason

  3. Vale,

    A very nice idea, and thanks for including my blog in your list. Just one thing about ‘negative’ blog posts…

    The world is not a perfect place, not all talks at conferences are ‘the best I’ve ever seen’, not everyone I meet is the ‘nicest person in the world’ and so it goes on. If we spend all our time dripping with love, there will be no debate, no discussion and no examination of issues which play a part in our profession.

    This weekend has seen an interesting debate about pay, conditions and access to training, obfuscated by personal grievances, insipid suggestions that ‘all is not right in the house of TEFL’ and everything else that comes with blogs – which are, after all, personal.

    I don’t think we should be shying away from these discussions. Of course, they get heated, and they can sometimes get personal – but if we all spend all our time saying how marvellous everything and everyone is, we’re not going to get to some of the biggest issues in our profession, and we’re certainly not going to get anywhere near solving any of the issues that may need solving.



  4. Thanks Shelly, yes, we are all humans and we all make mistakes. Sometimes we have to make difficult decisions too – we can learn from experiences far more greatly when we focus on “this is what went well” and then “these are the areas that need improvement” so that’s why I like the “be positive” approach to life. I think it brings faster results too :- ) Looking at things from multiple perspectives is not always easy and I was shocked at the narrow vision and over generalisations in those negative posts.
    Always interesting to read you and I much appreciate the positive RIPPLE effect you have!
    Thank YOU!

  5. Thanks for dropping by and adding your thoughts Gavin.
    I totally agree with you that it’s not such a perfect world and I also agree with the fact that “critical debate” and lively exchange of views with PLN members, exchanges that go beyond the love-feast and shared marvels, are called for.

    I don’t think that this weekend’s round of blog posts has actually added to the issues of pay conditions, distribution of training, VIP treatment at conferences or raised any other issues that we were not already aware of? I see nothing constructive about that sort of negativity.

    Personally (yes, blog posts and comments are personal) I think when we see inequality or unfair aspects, rather than adopting “you did that”, “they did that”, I would find it much more constructive to ask “what can we do about these issues”?. This “we can” rather than “they didn’t” might be over -simplistically positive but I much prefer it. In my experience, it leads to positive outcomes. That’s what I mean by positive learning networks, ones that lead to change for the better. Perhaps the P should be for positively powerful?

    For me this weekend simply confirmed the half full vs. half empty perspectives that are common in life! If I find a conference is only 50% what I think it should be, then I would list those 50% aspects, outline the missing 50% and engage with others to see what could collectively be done to pour more fluid into the glass . Greater social inclusion is achieved by opening channels of communication, not cutting them off. For greater understanding to occur all the individuals involved in the debate need to ensure they don’t just jump at conclusions or onto certain bandwagons. Publically exposing private communication (as you yourself point out) and whinging about this and that is not only disrespectful it brings little fruit or benefit. I’m not advocating that we shy away from discussions or be scared of rocking the boat, I’m simply surprised that lately bitterness seems to have got in the way and that discussion lines were consequently shut down. That’s a negative outcome that certainly didn’t get us anywhere.

  6. Thanks for leaving this comment Jason and for openly admitting that your previous line of communication was not effective – it takes great strength to do that and I really appreciate it. I also admire the way you moved on to your new blog post on the “us” of conferences, re-focusing completely on what we teachers can do. That “what can we do” approach is what I feel helps change, makes change happen. Now that’s worth reading 😉 Local and low-key are definitely aspects to promote, we do all need to take part, we can make the difference!

  7. Well, I do like to believe that I am definitely a cup-half-full sort of person, and if there are occasional cup-half-empty entries on my blog, then I sincerely hope they are in the minority. But the negative one you referred to here did deserve a bit of a rap across the knuckles, and I hope the one that followed (and you most recently referred to, the one about what “us” teachers can and should be doing) helps to re-establish my direction in ELT life…

    I will say this, however: it’s a pity more people don’t get on board and comment on and add to the cup-half-full entries, not as a way of adding to an uncritical “feel good and fluffy festival”- but by really exploring these issues critically and practically and helping to bring the level closer to the rim of the cup. Endless back-patting and huggy supportive comments make the cups prettier to look at, but don’t exactly help to make them fuller – if you take my meaning.

    If I have one genuine regret about blogging, it is that the two most major spikes for visitation and comments on my blog have been for two rather distasteful issues (ones I’d probably rather forget, now that I come to think of it – but then again, the dark things exposed under those rocks taught me a lot more about the rocks themselves, and how I ought to handle them). I’d like to take the blame/responsibility for that, but in a lot of ways it’s a shared blight we all contribute to. I remember a saying in Korea: “there are two things guaranteed to draw a crowd of fascinated onlookers: car accidents and building fires.” It’s true of the blogosphere to a great extent as well.

    Anyway, on we forge (being mindful to avoid those car crashes and building fires, let’s hope)!


    ~ Jason

  8. Thanks so much for your nomination, Valentina, it’s very much appreciated.

    I’m afraid I’m with Gavin on this as to be honest, find much, much more sickly the dripping love-fest at times and to be honest, find it quite fake (and I always question why people find the need to do a constant stroke of egos tho’ this tends to go on a bit more in the twitterverse) than the tackling of issues and open, honest disagreements in the blogosphere.

    We do not live in a utopia and the people that we were when we lived in jungles as near-like chimpanzees is the people that we are today in our own communities and as we explore the e-world, will be the people we are there.

    In fact, we intuitively know throughout our own lives, when we reach the maturity to become self-reflective, that we indeed learn much more from what challenges us to think and explore ourselves emotionally than when we simply agree to everything going around us passively.

    In the end, I suppose it’s all about culture and understanding that we all have different concepts and ideas and that we need to respect each other when expressing these but we should we only express positive thoughts and ideas?

    There lies only lies.

    🙂 Hope didn’t stir the pot further!


  9. Hi Valentina. the ten to watch are finally coming out on the podcast later today. So click on after 12 noon CET.

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