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Welcome to my blog!

If you happen to be reading this page chances are you are visiting this site because I told you that I had a new website and that I would like to hear your views about it. In that case, you are someone I know and who knows me and my work to some extent. To those readers, I say thanks for coming here and for being curious enough to move on from the homepage of this site! I really appreciate your friendship and interest.

But I can envisage other readers: current or former colleagues and students who also know me but to whom I have failed to write about my new website for a number of reasons that range from shyness, embarrassment or mere forgetfulness (in the latter case I hope you forgive me and perceive my faux-pas as an unintended lapse of memory).

In either case you, my reader, will probably be a familiar face – or should I say ‘familiar eyes’ – that will approach the text on this website more generally and on this blog more specifically with a degree of familiarity that can hopefully attenuate the risks I run in this self-centred process of writing a personal website!

But I must consider, while writing, that there may be readers who don’t know me, nor my my work. (The Internet keeps surprising me, and I’m always amazed – in a positive way – when people I don’t know get in touch to ask questions, share information about areas of common interest, comment on my books, and so on.) Anyway, those readers, if they are really out there, should read this post bearing in mind that what I’m doing here is an exercise in self-analysis that could perhaps inspire other people to carry out similar reflections about themselves or even to develop classroom activities in which their pupils were encouraged to think about the words they tend to use when talking about themselves. (If you’re a teacher you’ll understand why I’m saying that – a teacher always thinks of possible ways of turning what is seen or read into pedagogical practice!)

‘So what exactly is this post about?’, you might be wondering. I explain: With so much writing to do (about myself!) while compiling the texts to post on the site, I frequently wondered what sort of image I was putting forward – what information I was presenting, what facts and ideas I was prioritising, and so on. At some point I decided that, when I finished writing all the texts to be uploaded on the site, I would then create a word cloud with those texts in order to check what words I used more frequently. At first this was a personal plan by means of which I meant to identify the main themes and emphases in all that writing-about-myself, a ‘bragging-meter’ if you like. But soon after I decided that I would make those thoughts the very content of the first instalment in this blog.

And, voilà! Below you can see what this website (excluding the bibliography and this post) looked like when I asked Wordle™ to produce a word cloud of its content.

blog_001

I must confess I was quite pleased with the result: not surprisingly, ‘English’ and ‘book’ are the most frequently used words, followed by ‘Portuguese’, ‘language’, ‘learning’ and ‘Brazil’. Those words do reflect my main interests and areas I currently work with. The third most frequently used group of words also includes items which I recognise as central to my current work such as ‘listening’, ‘reading’, ‘development’ and ‘strategies’. But there are some curiosities about the words in that group: I find it a bit embarrassing to find my surname in it (am I talking too much about myself?); the presence of ‘click’ makes me wonder if I’m exaggerating in the use of hyperlinks in this site; the inclusion of ‘São’ and ‘Paulo’ indicates that the location of some of my publishers is a central topic in this site…

Anyway, moving on to smaller, hence less frequently used words, I’m pleased to see that words such as ‘teaching’ and ‘learners’ have an important presence in this site, and I’m also pleased to see the names of my dearest co-authors in ‘my’ word cloud. I’ll spare you further comments about the ‘small print’ in that word cloud, but I must confess that I’ve spent a lot of time looking at it and thinking about what I feel should have had a larger – or a smaller – presence in my text, what those frequencies mean to me and how they relate to my own appreciation of my work and what I want to achieve with it. Overall it’s been an exercise of thinking about the present and reflecting about what I want to do and where I want to go in the future.

I hope those thoughts trigger further reflections on your side. Thanks for visiting my site and I’m looking forward to receiving your comments!

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