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, students, friends or family members 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 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: 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. I then decided to create a word cloud with the content I uploaded on the site in order to check what words I used more frequently. I excluded quotes by other people and testimonials in that process.
Overall I liked the word cloud generated by the content I uploaded. Granted, my name may too central and too frequent– but then again this is the content of my personal site and my name does appear too often in publication references, details about talks I’ve given and so on. In any case, I’m pleased to see my main areas of interest being highlighted around my name. I’m really happy to see that my main co-authors’ names are clearly visible in the word cloud.
I end these introductory words with a suggestion: maybe the process I’ve gone through here could inspire my readers to carry out similar reflections about themselves. If you are a teacher, you may consider developing classroom activities in which your pupils are encouraged to think about the words they tend to use when talking about themselves.
How this blog will work: frequency and categories
I’ll aim to have a new post in this blog weekly, tentatively on Saturdays. The main, weekly, categories I envisage at this stage are:
- Bilingualism Matters
Here I will present and discuss some thoughts about theoretical and anecdotal issues on what is to be a bilingual, the challenges surrounding bilingual development, and the wonders that communication in more than one language can bring to the individual and society. I’ll try to incorporate practical suggestions (on pedagogy, on materials development) systematically in these posts.
- Classroom Practice
Under this category readers can find ideas to be implemented in language (English and Portuguese) classes. I’m yet to decide whether I’ll follow the same format (e.g. a more conventional lesson plan) or whether I’ll write these posts more freely. I’ll probably do a bit of both.
- Guest Post
These posts will contain contributions from a wide range of writers: colleagues, friends or family members. What these posts have in common is that they will touch upon some aspect of applied linguistics or educational theory. I will include a short introduction to these posts, where I will introduce my guest writer and say a few words about how the post relates to my current thinking.
- Memory Lane
The purpose of this category is twofold: here I intend to revisit some things I have written in the past (published and unpublished), and discuss them in light of my current thinking. Some of these writings are not yet digitalised – and that is my second aim here. In a broader, personal attempt at discarding printed materials currently occupying precious space on my shelves, these posts will allow me to free up space in my office.
I also envisage a fifth category, English Around Me, which will appear with no systematic frequency: posts in this category may be predominantly visual, showing billboards or signs or graffiti that I encounter in my everyday life, in my hometown or elsewhere. They may also be transcriptions and comments of what I hear here and there. They may be a combination of photos, comments and transcriptions. We’ll see.
What language will be used in this blog
This welcome post will contain both an English and a Portuguese version, but subsequent posts will be written in one of the two languages. I won’t try to translate all the subsequent posts due to time constraints and also because I’m not a qualified translator and I find translations an incredibly complex (and sometimes impossible) task. I may provide both a Portuguese and an English version to the introductory words I outline accompanying each of these posts.
Thanks for visiting my blog and I’m looking forward to receiving your comments!