Does writing about TEFL make you a better teacher?

The answer is obvious, but maybe not the one that you are expecting.

Back when I worked in a certain international chain of schools and so was forced to waste time justifying my professional development, it seemed that all the improvements in my ability to prepare and teach good lessons that I could mention were due to the brainstorming, reading and reflection that I did so I could write.

However, now that I’m not writing about TEFL nearly as much, I seem to be undergoing another leap ahead in the quality of my lessons and most of what I was not doing so well before was due to writing about teaching almost as much as doing it.

Looking back, sometimes it was simply spending time on coming up with ideas and writing that I should have spent on actual lesson planning. More often, though, the brainstorming and writing helped me come up with good ideas that had nothing to do with my actual classes, as if I’d researched and written a Part One essay for a Cambridge Diploma lesson and then went straight into teach the lesson without doing the adapting to your own students that is supposed to be the next stage in the process. Then there was the coming up with and trying out “radical” new ideas when what I should have been doing was polishing up my best ideas for this new set of students…

So the obvious answer to the question is…

“It depends”.

If any present or prospective TEFL bloggers are reading, the good news is that reflective blogging is probably the one kind of writing that is almost certain to have overwhelmingly positive effects on your teaching. The bad news is that other kinds of blogging like the “news” and “humour” that often end up here are just pure time wasting that I should feel just as guilty about as spending the time watching cute cats on YouTube…

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