Walking Stick Blogger

A Learning Space for Literacy and English Language Learners

About Play-Building and Using Group Blogs

Robyn Philip and  Jennifer Nicholls (2009) wrote an interesting article about group blogging, titled Group blogs: Documenting collaborative drama processes

Here are some notes about the significance of play-building, a process that involves the documentation of collaboration, reflection and creativity.

Playbuilding is described as Group devised theatre, in which “students create, produce and perform the play to audiences including peers, family, friends, examiners and the general public”.  

 Playbuilding can be conceptualised as “a sustained exploration of ideas or images” where students move in and out of character, collaborating and “critically reflect[ing] upon a fictional world of their own creation” (Simons, 2004, p.1).

 The emphasis of facilitating play-building is on group identity and cohesion, on the process in which learners share and make visible their thinking to each other. The authors also refer to Dacre and Mackey’s (1999, p.69) model for reflection.

 The steps are as follows:

1. Reflect on the structure and workings of the group;

2. Reflect on your own role as an autonomous individual member of the group;

3. Place the work within the relevant theoretical tradition; and

4. Reflect on your own narrative as a practitioner, i.e. examine the stories and generalisations you have created about the process and your professional context.

I especially like the distinctions the authors make between introspective, or stream of consciousness blogging, and reflective posts that are either analytic or evaluative blogging.  

 I wonder if such group blogging would have any place within formal educational institutions within their LMS’s, and what formal instructional activities might be supported using this method. 

 Here are some tentative skills that might be practised within such a group blogging environment:


  • Negotiating
  • Brainstorming
  • Bracketing
  • Rehearsing
  • Trial performing
  • Visualizing
  • Elaborating
  • Probing for detail
  • Storytelling
  • Role-Play
  • Re-conceptualizing
  • Commenting
  • Criticizing (positive feedback)
  • Elaborating
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reflections on practice

netizenship • May 30, 2010

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