Unsung blog-heroines and heroes…

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. 😛

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.

Tweeting Bloggers Reunited: at back, Gavin Dudeney, Burcu Akyol; at front, Ozge Karaoğlu, Jamie Keddie and me; Istanbul, September 2009

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. 

Andrew Wright and Mrs Wilson, IATEFL Cardiff, April 2009

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.


22 thoughts on “Unsung blog-heroines and heroes…

  1. I’m not a big fan of awards, but love the way you’ve honoured so many (anonymous) people out there in the ELT world. I have a huge admiration for their generosity as they share with us so many great ideas & materials. Kudos to them & to you, Ken! 🙂

  2. Well, I originally came here to thank you for this honorable mention, Ken, and I do thank you for including my relatively new blog – I only started blogging at the end of July – in your unsung heroines and one hero list.

    I must say I got truly engrossed in these great blogs you have listed and have bookmarked them all – what a great collection of blogs! Thank you for that, too!

    I guess now I am a “sung” heroine and quite “chalant” about it 🙂 and I thank you for my song; it’s the sweetest tune and I wish I could hum it all day long…. but I won’t, don’t worry!


  3. Thank you everyone for your positive response. Please link me to the blogs of other working teachers who aren’t so well known, and who have something individual to say about their life and work 🙂

  4. As soon as I saw your message I ‘run’ to open your blog. And there it was: my name and a nice description. I’m flattered. Flattered and at the same time motivated to write more. I stopped for a while (just look at the date of my last post!) and got carried away from my graphomania into different direction. I abandoned writing but didn’t forget about you:-) Just a few of days ago I was suggesting two of your drama activities to my colleague who was desperate and out of interesting ideas for a conversation class.

  5. Hi Ken! 🙂

    Tomorrow is my birthday!

    I’ve just come back from a wonderful trip to Rome which was a gift I gave myself 😉

    What you’ve done is a total surprise and you can’t imagine how flattered I feel!

    It’s the first and the best birthday present ever!
    Thank you :*


  6. Thanks for including me on this list, and thanks for the kind words. You know how much I admire your work. You’ve been and inspiration for me and I always say that “when I grow up I want to be Ken Wilson.”

    I haven’t worked on my site for a while, but now that you’ve advertised it, I’ll try to write some more.

    Thanks again,

  7. Hi Ken,
    Thank you for your kind words. I am new to blogging too, just started in September and I’m flattered to be read by ELT I admire and respect so much.

    Thank you for the honorary mention, you’ve made my day!
    All the best to you (and dearest Dede),


    1. Thank you for the thank yous! 🙂

      As you all know, I want these unsung heroines and heroes to write a guest blog here. Guest Blog Week will be an early Christmas gift to the blogosphere.

  8. Nice collection of blogs Ken! Congrats on being selected for ELTons to be awards presenter. Is that the same as MC? Can we start calling you MC Ken?

    Where will people be able to see the ELTons?

    1. Hi Kenny!

      a lot of the usual ELT suspects will be at the ELTons, so I’m sure someone will film it on their phone and it will be on youtube within minutes. 🙂

  9. Finally got round to looking at your ‘unsung heroines’ and absolutely loved it. Where on earth do you find the time to read all these people I wonder?
    Well I guess I’ll have to find out, because I must go and have a look at them now. But how did you come across them?
    And as for numbers who visit…how do you (a) get that information and (b) publish it?
    Still a newbie, me!

    1. Jeremy,

      as I said to Jason Renshaw, when it comes to writing time v blog/tweet time, I adopt a strict 90%/10% system. And it’s amazing how much writing you can do in 10% of your time. 🙂

      re finding these people, in almost all cases, they found me, or I was linked to their sites by someone else.

      re having a visit-counter: There should be a wordpress widget called ‘Blog stats’.

      ¡hasta jueves!

  10. Thank you so much Ken!
    I am truly honored to be among the unsung heroes and heroines and as I also mentioned in my e-mail you give me encouragement to keep on writing and teaching! I appreciate it and you have made me very happy!
    Thank you again,

    1. It’s a symbiotic thing, Vicky. All the websites mentioned have inspired me and made me feel very optimistic.

  11. Great post Ken. I follow many of those blogs but there are quite a few new ones that I will now go and check out. I would also like to put in a good word for Melania Paduraru and Marisa Constatinides, and Tamas Lorincz all three I think are great.
    And congratulations on being MC for the next Eltons! Following in the footsteps of Neil Kinnock!

  12. Hi Ken!

    I don’t really know how I missed this post when it came out…
    I feel honoured and flattered to have been mentioned in this select list, especially because I have had the joy of meeting many of these bloggers personally and I know how amazing they are!

    Recognition from someone like you is fuel to my wanting to write more and better!

    Thanks again!
    Vicky S.

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