The Edublog Awards are getting a lot of twitter air time at the moment, and several names are occurring time and time again in the nominations that tweeple are posting.
I’m more or less in favour of educational awards, because a world without awards would be like a world without competitive sport. Awards spread the word and generate interest in education, which is always a good thing.
For example, I think the ELTons, the British Council Innovations Awards, are brilliant. And the good news is that they don’t always go to the usual suspects. Earlier this year, the international ELTon award went to a course for Mongolian Secondary Schools, which was mainly written by local teachers.
The ELTons are good for ELT. Quite apart from anything else, for one night of the year, ELT people can really feel they are part of a very special and rather colourful industry. And I would STILL believe that even if I hadn’t been asked to present the awards next year. :P
Back to the Edublogs Awards.
If you read the blog roll on the left of this post, you will see the names of some famous bloggers, and they are there for a reason. They have something interesting to say and I visit their blogs regularly. I have no doubt the awards will recognise some or all of them for their important contributions to blog-world.
However, I now want to draw your attention to some of the other people on my blogroll, people who may be less well known than the Harmers and Clandfields and Sylvesters, but whose blogs have something individual and important to offer.
They are my unsung blog heroines and heroes. Here they are, in alphabetical order of first names.
Apologies in advance to any of the people below who ARE already famous household blog-names, and I didn’t realise. I really don’t get out enough these days.
Agata Zgarda – sabendoquasetudo.blogspot.com
Agata is Polish and works in Brazil. Her blog is jaunty, optimistic and has the advantage of looking at the life of a teacher through the eyes of an outsider in her own community, something she shares with a number of people in this list.
Anita Kwiatkowska – anita-kwiatkowska.blogspot.com
Anita, in common with her compatriot Agata, has a wonderful way of looking around her at life in the country where she now lives, Turkey, and gasping with surprise at what she sees. A lovely read.
Arjana Blazic – http://traveloteacher.blogspot.com/index.html
Arjana is Croatian and her blog-title subhead reads A blog about traveling, international student and teacher exchanges, field trips and educational projects. I like the extra dimension that this approach brings, which goes beyond classroom experience and aspects of teaching methodology.
Carlos Gontow – cgquiz.sites.uol.com.br
I have to declare a special interest here. Carlos and his wife Chris are, as far as I know, the only people in the world who interrupted their honeymoon to come and listen to one of my talks. It was sometime in the mid-90s. They were in blissful retreat up a mountain in up-state São Paulo, when they heard I was giving a talk at a conference in the city. They hi-tailed it down the mountain to attend and then (I hope) headed back up the mountain as soon as they could. I just hope the trip was worth it!
Carlos’s site isn’t really a blog, but he’s one of these very generous people like Sean Banville (www.breakingnewsenglish.com) who just want to help other teachers by providing extra material. Carlos has made lots of nice stuff available in quiz form on this site.
Cristiana Crivat bloggishinglyours.wordpress.com
Cristiana is one of two Romanians in this list. I have spent a lot of time in Romania, and have always marvelled at the talent of the teachers there, and the enthusiasm and creativity of the students (OK, not ALL the students, but lots of them. Sometime in the future, I may blog about the Romanian Teenplay Theatre Festival, where I was one of the judges). Cristiana’s is another quirky blog, with posts about on-line dating and cheating and other interesting matters.
Marisa Constantinides marisaconstantinides.edublogs.org
I’m not sure how long Marisa has been blogging but I do know that she’s long been an important and sometimes controversial voice in ELT in Greece, a place which presents unique challenges for anyone working as a teacher. I have to own up to being friends with her and I hope that her ideas get a new audience after this mention.
Melania Paduraru mellaniep.wordpress.com
Melania is my second Romanian and her blog is more oriented in classroom and teaching realities. I particularly like the way she unfolds her arguments and her reasons for doing things. A pleasant and informative read.
Orsi Nagy – nagyorsolya.blogspot.com
Orsi is a young teacher from neighbouring Hungary, and I think her enthusiasm for her work shines through in her writing. Again, her blog-subhead sums up the feel of her posts: “We prepare, we teach, we hope. This is a place where I can let my stream of consciousness flow. About teaching. About teaching English as a foreign language. If you’re interested, hop on the truck!”
Ozge Karaoğlu ozgekaraoglu.edublogs.org
I guess I’m a little too late to include Ozge in my list of unsung heroines, as she is rapidly gaining a well-deserved international reputation for the content of her blog, including the amazing cartoon films she made with her primary school students. I’m just dazzled by the creativity shown in this material and it reflects the enthusiasm that Ozge brings to her work.
Mentioning her here also gives me the excuse of including this photo of Ozge and Burcu Akyol and some foreign blokes, which was taken in Istanbul in September.
By the way, Burcu Akyol isn’t in this list simply because she is ALREADY an international blog-star. If for any reason, you aren’t familiar with her ground-breaking blog, check her out at www.burcuakyol.com
Sheetal Makhan – sheetalmakhan.blogspot.com
Sheetal is a South African who is living and working in Korea, and I was linked to her blog last week for the first time. I found it a really riveting read. The first post I encountered was her very public and honest admission that she has suffered panic attacks. In 40 years in ELT, I don’t think I’ve ever seen this subject being dealt with. I think panic attacks, or other extreme forms of anxiety and stress, are probably part of many teachers’ daily lives, and I hope reading what Sheetal has to say will help others feel that they are not alone in suffering for their work.
Tamás Lőrincz – http://tamaslorincz.edublogs.org/
I’ve known Tamás for more than 10 years now. I first met him at a drama workshop he gave in Budapest, and our paths have criss-crossed a lot since then. On one occasion, Tamás waited dutifully at the end of a station platform to meet my wife Dede when she arrived in Budapest by train. He was holding a copy of one of my books so she would know who he was.
Now happily settled with a new family in the United Arab Emirates, Tamás blogs vividly about real-life teaching situations, amongst other things. I think he’s pretty well known in the ELT world already, but now it’s time to visit his blog!
Vicky Loras – vickyloras.wordpress.com
Vicky is a Greek Canadian living in Switzerland, so another one with a chance to look at her surroundings with an outside and possibly critical eye. Her special interest is multiculturalism, and she has good ideas about how to include this sensitive topic in her classes. She hasn’t blogged much yet, but I think if we give her some encouragement, we will hear lots more from her.
Vicky Saumell http://educationaltechnologyinelt.blogspot.com/
Vicky blogs from Argentina. I like Vicky because she writes interesting and accessible stuff about technology in a way that a techno-dunce like me can understand.
Finally, a quick mention for another old friend…
Janet Olearski lassenoras.wordpress.com
I hope that Janet, who nowadays lives in the United Arab Emirates, won’t mind me saying that I’ve known her forever. The name of her blog means ‘women’ in Spanish of course, and the subtitle is An amazing weblog about books, reading, creativity, women writing in the Gulf, intelligent gossip and life. What the site provides first and foremost is a forum for women to talk about literature.
Las Señoras comes across as a light-hearted read, but I think Janet probably has some deeper motive for providing this forum. So … fun, but serious!
And ABSOLUTELY finally… a confession…. When I started this blog, I sort of hoped a few people would visit it, but had absolutely no idea the kind of numbers to expect. So I had a sneaky look at some of the more famous existing blogs to see what their visit numbers were. I was surprised to discover that a number of them kept this information secret.
Then I arrived at Andrew Wright’s blog. Andrew is another special friend, and someone who has been in ELT even longer than I have. I saw, back in August, that Andrew had had about 14,000 visits to his story-telling blog, so I set myself that as a target. At first, I made it a target for the first year, then for the end of THIS year..
I got closer to Andrew’s total (it kept rising, of course, but not enough to de-motivate me), and eventually, a couple of weeks ago, my number of visits passed his. That was when I thought: “NOT ENOUGH PEOPLE ARE VISITING ANDREW’S STORY-TELLING BLOG, ONE OF THE BEST ELT BLOG-RESOURCES ON THE PLANET!!!!”
If you know anything about ELT, you know who Andrew Wright is, so he doesn’t need any introduction from me. But you DO need to know that some of Andrew’s best stories are up there, ready for you to use. Go visit: http://andrewarticlesandstories.wordpress.com/
If you want to add the names of any other blogging heroes and heroines, please feel free to do so in a comment. if you want me to visit your blog, please leave a comment about that.
LATE BREAKING NEWS: I’ve asked all the unsung heroes and heroines listed above if they would like to write a guest-blogpost. Some of them have already agreed, and two have already sent their post. I will publish them all at the same time in GUEST POST WEEK. Coming soon. Watch this space.