2 years of ethical hedonism of an #ELT blogger.

This is not a serious title, or it is only partly serious.

There’s still a little bit of December 13th left in some parts of the world (not here where I am, still in Moscow), so I propose a late night toast –  “To my blog!” (cultural note – Russian people are very fond of long, ornate toasts; but apparently my blog deserves only this three-word dedication at the moment), which is roughly two years old today.

Last year I had a present – this EXCEPTIONAL PRESENT FOR MY BLOG’S BIRTHDAY from Rose Bard, a teacher from Brazil, a friend and professional who has never failed to inspire me to be more thoughtful, dig deeper and find reasons.

This year I have a present again. It is a present wrapped into another present in fact.  Here it is.

#ELTworkplaces of @michaelegriffin. From Seoul with love, views, coffee and a cake.

Those of you who remember me in my good old Posterous days may recall a certain project I had going on – #ELTworkplaces. The idea behind it was unimaginative – sharing photos of the workplaces of English language teachers from around the world. Since I had to move the project to Tumblr, nothing has happened to it for about a year. But here it is, my blog birthday box of chocolates workplaces from Michael Griffin, a teacher based in South Korea, a friend, a certain club mate and in general a plentiful, ever-living source of optimism, inspiration for better writing and serious giggle. I am happy to share this present with you as I might not have done with chocolates. Using the opportunity, I’d like to thank Mike once again and invite teachers to take part in this unimportant but fun project. As I have learnt by two years of blogging that sharing makes a difference, even if it’s a very little one.

Getting back to the weird title of my post.

Stanford Encyclopaedia of Philosophy defines ethical hedonism as “the claim that all and only pleasure has positive importance and all and only pain or displeasure has negative importance… Ethical hedonism can be universalist, me-and-my-near-and-dear egocentric, or egoistically focused just on one’s own pleasure. It can also be a claim about value, morality, well-being, rationality, reasons or aesthetics. It can be a claim about grounds for action, belief, motivation or feeling; or a claim about ought, obligation, good and bad, or right and wrong.” 

It’s not the purpose of my post to go too philosophical about the school(s) of hedonism (which, to be quite honest, I wouldn’t be able to do too deep right now). So I think I’m just going to tear pieces of the main idea out of overall context of the term and apply it to my blog and myself as a blogger.

In these two years I have seen it as a condition to write a post when I feel like writing a post and enjoying it. Many times I started typing, read through my draft and got unexcited. “The desire for pleasure and the avoidance of pain” has truly been my blogging motto. I also write when I have something to say and when this something seems to me valuable enough to be shared in public. You might argue (and I actually argue myself!) that writing, especially good writing, may/should come through a pain. I agree, and I have written a couple of painful posts and articles (that does not mean I consider them good writing). Life is a paradox. Pain is an enjoyable ingredient of writing process, too. A very weird, non-traditional way to be satisfied.

Also, hedonism seems to be much about the I. Here it’s easy to apply it to my blog – look at my posts if you wish, and you’ll see that every single one comes from an “I” viewpoint. It’s a lot of ego, it’s very subjective, it’s very personal. This I-issue has been on my mind for quite a while as I am not at all sure how much professional value my blog brings to the ELT community. And since I *selfishly* want to make a difference, I care about the value. I’ll be working on it in my future blogging years and I would appreciate every comment of constructive criticism.

This blog is about my changing beliefs, the actions I take in my class and beyond and try to give reason to.

I’ve been exercising my non-judgemental approach for a little over a year and I find it very hard to do so, but it’s my ultimate goal. Trying out a distanced but not indifferent attitude to good&bad, right&wrong is pain but eventually must be gain, too.

Having skimmed through my posts of these two years I”ve noticed one striking thing, which I believe is a sign of a positive tendency and certain influence. My exclamation marks have calmed down significantly =)) As well as the unruly smiles. I’m growing up/old? and reserved. My posts reflect my offline personality more now than they used to. I take pleasure in that in a true hedonistic nature.

Thanks for reading this nonsense till the end. Thanks for reading my posts, leaving comments, caring to have a discussion or just support. There are things I have forgotten to say, but I have more time ahead until WordPress blocks my site for incomprehensible message.

I’m still contemplating thinking about thinking (c).

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6 thoughts on “2 years of ethical hedonism of an #ELT blogger.

  1. Rose Bard says:

    It is hard to believe that just one year has passed. For me it seems like we’ve know each other for ages. Congrats on achieving another year of blogging in your own unique way! That is the beauty of life – people walking their own path. Thanks for allowing me to be part of yours. Interesting you mentioned in your post ethical hedonism. I had just taken Ethics and Education in uni. We didn’t look into ethics like the usual fiel of study does, but hedonism was mentioned and we were nudged to think of importance of it in Early Childhood education.

    I love this: Comtemplating thinking about thinking!

    To add to the birthday wishes, I leave a quote from Dewey.

    “Since changes are going on anyway, the great thing is to learn enough about them so that we will be able to lay hold of them and turn them in the direction of our desires. Conditions and events are neither to be fled from nor passively acquiesced in; they are to be utilized and directed.”
    — John Dewey, American philosopher and education reformer (1859-1952) – See more at: http://josephsoninstitute.org/quotes/quotations.php?q=Education#sthash.TxltfPVt.dpuf

    • annloseva says:

      Rose, it is hard to believe it’s been a year, absolutely! I’ve looked back on my year reflected in blog posts and see myself a touch changed. And I can feel this, too. Thank you for being part of this year! I know we’ll see each other one day sooner or later and then it’s going to be such a special feeling of knowing what we are.
      I’ll be learning more about philosophical schools in general very soon for a reason. It’s interesting that hedonism indeed seems to be especially useful for young learners. Thanks for this idea. I hope when I start my philosophy studies I’ll be sharing my impressions.

      Thank you for wishes and the quote. I think I agree with Dewey, if that matters to him))

      My blog headline quote comes from a Robbie Williams’ song) it is totally torn out of context but I just loved it the moment I first heard it. The song is called “Come Undone”. And Robbie Williams was born on the same day as me.

  2. Rose Bard says:

    Hi Anna,

    Ethics is a very interesting field of study for education. To tell you the truth it is so important to understand how important it is for our society that I felt like avoiding it all together. It seems so difficult to put into practice because of the influence of ancient schools of thoughts (hedonism, Eudemoism and Utilitarianism ) still so present nowadays. Indeed Ethics is so important for education especially for children, but not only for them it is actually for all of us. It should be part of the school’s Pedagogical and Political Project – in Brazil this is a document that should be written with the contribution of all parts involved (parents, school staff, students, community), stating the philosophical statements of the school and its mission, pedagogical aims for short, medium and long term and reflected constant on. As such, ethics should actually guide schools towards the implementation of values through praxis.

    I hope you enjoy your studies in phylosophy. It is very interesting.

    I actually wrote on the 7th a number of thoughts around the reading material provided by our philosophy department. Your thoughts on it nudged me to post them. Once actually I studied about it and it made us reflect of it as practical terms, it gave me wonderful ideas on how to implement this in my classroom as a community of learning. I hope I can actually next year put it into practice.

    Edgar Morin wrote the SEven Complex lessons in Education which is an important reading. Here is a video that talks a bit about it. I hope you like it.

    As for the Come Undone, I watched the censored version of it. Interesting and quite related to your mention of hedonism. 😉 Out of context the quote but pertinent. I still like it!

    • annloseva says:

      Thanks for this interesting (educational too) note, Rose. I need to pass a Philosophy exam and it’ll mostly involve self-study. I’m absolutely sure I’ll be sharing my thoughts and turning to teachers like you who are interested and know better than me.)
      The idea to reflect on any kind of info we’re getting with a perspective to put it into practice is amazing to me. I agree with you.
      Unfortunately the video share is not available!(( at least not from device..I’ll try from laptop when it’s back.

      I didn’t risk sharing the video for come undone)) it is quite provocative. Very hedonistic too. RW has lots of awesome quotes, awesome for me.)

    • annloseva says:

      Rose, thanks for always being here with me on my blog!! I so appreciate it, you can’t imagine. Xx

  3. […] In this post I say I blog for my own pleasure but hope for shifts in the classroom. Then in no time I come up with a follow-up which is 800 more words about blogging and writing. Here I keep mentioning myself and my plans for writing in what some say are most powerful parts of a blog post – opening and closing paragraphs. If you need more proof of how obsessed I am with writing about (my) writing, don’t hesitate to look here, check this out and click this link. […]

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