An Old Friend and a New

Like you, I have many gurus, mentors, and models to whom I look up in my language teaching and learning, and I’m always excited to discover a new one. Today I want to share with you one person whose common-sense approach I have long found refreshing and worth imitating, and another of whose expertise I recently learned.

Steve Kaufmann (@lingosteve) is a polyglot who posts many short videos in which he reflects on language learning in a manner approaching stream of consciousness. (You may have heard of the online language learning platform LingQ, which Steve founded.) Here is a sample in which Steve shares what he considers the three main myths about language learning. If you open the video in YouTube rather than on this page, you’ll find lots of his other videos, including a fascinating half-hour interview with Stephen Krashen.


I heard just last week of Gianfranco Conti (@gianfrancocont9), an Italian-born, UK-trained teacher of French and Spanish in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. That combination alone makes his site(s) worth a visit. Oh, he’s also a competitive bodybuilder.

Dr. Conti wrote his dissertation on “Meta-cognitive strategies as applied to L2 writing enhancement” and his posts refer deftly to research in second language education. I don’t mind saying that the language-teaching tradition of which he is a part emphasizes skill-building practice far more than I do, and more than I think the research calls for (one of his sites is called The Language Gym, features “Workouts” and a “Verb Trainer,” and encourages visitors to “get language fit!”–and this is not just a play on bodybuilding), but I still find his articles thought-provoking and practical. Here is a recent sample that I particularly enjoyed:

“Why reading comprehension tasks can be detrimental to L2-reading skills development”


Who are some of your go-to mentors or pundits on language learning and teaching?

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