Whom are you listening to? It’s a critical question. Whom you’re listening to in the long-term can have a significant impact on your practice in the classroom, and that’s a big deal. Here’s my annual post about whom I’m listening to on new(ish) websites.
I’m not having a “YOU MUST READ THESE BLOGS!” feeling for this post like I had in the past, but I do have some wholehearted recommendations of blogs that I really learned from in 2015.
Read these. Yesterday.
When Gianfranco Conti’s blog came on the scene in May 2015, it made a bigger splash than any blog launch I have ever seen, and for good reason. The blog was getting hundreds of hits a day almost immediately.
You may get the impression from the Language Gym icon that Gianfranco is some nerdy superhuman, and you’d be on the right track. I told him not long after he started blogging that I could tell a couple of things about him right away: 1) he really knows what he’s talking about, and 2) he’s not the primary caretaker of three small children. Wow, this guy is prolific. And brilliant. Two things you need to know: Gianfranco has a strong background in Second Language Acquisition research and theory – really strong – and sometimes you have to know some of that lingo to really understand what he’s getting at. Second, he’s Italian and teaches in Southeast Asia, so he comes at the issues with a perspective based in European frameworks. He and Steve Smith are almost finished with a book that’s a practical guide to language teaching (thanks guys for giving me a sneak peek) but while you’re waiting for it, definitely catch up with Gianfranco on The Language Gym.
At first I was frustrated that my subscription to Gianfranco’s blog didn’t work; his posts didn’t arrive in my email, my preferred way to read posts. Then I discovered Bloglovin’, the tool that delivers blog posts to my email in a nice digest with or without signing up on the individual blogs (though Weebly still will not let me add blogs there to Bloglovin’, and some of the latest blogs I’m most eager to follow have showed up on Weebly!). So if you can’t get a subscription to work, sign up for Bloglovin’ (and do it anyway for all those other blogs that don’t have subscription options). (Follow my blog with Bloglovin)
Okay, yes, I know this blog appeared technically in 2014, but it was the second half of 2014, and I didn’t find it until the beginning of 2015, so it was new to me. Absolutely every French teacher anywhere who wants to pursue proficiency-based teaching ought to be following what Lisa Shepard has to say and taking advantage of the vast amount of work she puts into the resources she freely shares at Madame’s Musings, especially the IPA offerings. And the rest of us can find a whole lot of gold nuggets there too. I’m always excited to get these in my email (and I’m super excited that I get to meet Lisa at the upcoming CSCTFL ’16.)
Read these too.
This is more than an honorable mention section: I truly recommend these blogs as well but didn’t put them above for reasons that will be apparent. First, can it be true that I have never included in one of these posts my esteemed colleague and friend Colleen Lee-Hayes? She’s been blogging at Language Sensei since at least 2013 but I want to take this opportunity to tell you to follow her everywhere. A more clear-headed, friendly, respectful, reflective teacher you will not find. If we didn’t live thousands of miles apart I promise I’d be after her to pretty please be one of my best friends.
I want to mention a few others I’m excited about that didn’t produce a lot of content in 2015 but have me hopeful: Another Japanese-teaching colleague, John, began blogging and Journey Toward Proficiency in 2015 and I love getting his posts when he’s able to write. Sticking on the Japanese theme, I’m so grateful that Iya turned the taco talk and sushi talk into such beautiful documents and I’m looking forward to seeing her post more on her new blog in 2016. I was excited to see Maestra Schemmer start blogging after I’d long followed her on Twitter, and the same for Sarah Bolaños, for whose collaboration I am always thankful and a better teacher. It won’t take you long to see why Nicole Naditz is one of the most respected world language teachers in the country (and ACTFL TOY ’14) and how much her reflections can inform your practice. And some of the best language teachers and professionals I’ve ever met started blogging together at Path 2 Proficiency. I wanted to include this above, but the blog really just went live and hasn’t accumulated many posts yet. I know it’ll be a superstar resource, though, because of the people behind it (talking about you, Thomas, Alyssa, Paulo).
Have I missed a great blog you can recommend?