Hi there… after an extended break in which I have been putting together an ebook of some re-worked past blog posts (should be available in February from The Round), I’m resuming blogging as of Sunday January 6th and hope to post weekly thereafter. I hope you’ll join me!
On a sadder note, I was shocked to learn of the death of Leo van Lier last month. Those of you who have followed this blog, or have read books of mine like Teaching Unplugged, or have been students on my MA TESOL courses, will know that Leo was a kind of spirit guide for me. I think I have every one of his books, all heavily underlined and annotated, and I know whole extracts practically by heart. He introduced me to such concepts as ecolinguistics (see the blog post E is for Ecology, for instance), emergence, affordances, sociocultural learning theory, scaffolding, and a lot more. His capacity to move beyond the relatively narrow confines of TESOL and explore parallel universes was astounding. And yet he always came back to the language classroom. This brief for an action research project (on page 1 of Interaction in the Language Curriculum [Longman, 1996]) captures something of the spirit of his intellectual endeavor – his vision, even:
Standing with both feet firmly planted on the classroom floor, what are the theoretical issues in linguistics, education, and other fields, that are relevant, here and now, to the teaching job and the learning job?
His untimely death will undoubtedly diminish the intellectual vitality of our field.
The last time we connected was in Northern Cyprus in May 2010, where this photo was taken. Rest in peace, Leo.