Tuesday, November 8, 2016

First steps.

A year ago I was writing my first post for a "wolweek", I entitled it "La Vie Active" .

It speaks of my work as a English language teacher in higher education in France and my attempts to open up the classroom and to connect learners to people with whom they can share an affinity.

This year again, a few of the students are taking up the challenge and making first steps in blogging in a foreign language.  For some of them this requires considerable courage. Writing in English, blogging, connecting over social networks with people they have never met in countries they have never visited, is not easy.

So this is my purpose during this week, to see if I can help students like Mael, Antoine and Maxime to engage in a process of learning out loud, of working out loud.

They are already doing this here in Clermont Ferrand in their associative work with Manastaps, creating events in the community - The Bougnat Street Festival for urban sports/music, a Salon to connect students with professionals working in the Sports field in companies like Modugames, Oxytis, in banks, in shops like IKEA, in humanitarian action, in education, in high level sport, with people in disability.  I have taken great pleasure seeing how ex-students adapt, create, innovate, manage, care in their communities.

I collect their stories in interviews and share them on Youtube for future generations:


I develop networks of people who can help students with their English, with their professional development.

This is my purpose again  this year for the #wolweek to give encouragement and to attempt to connect students to communities of practice, to a way of working openly, to be generous, to network widely, to realise that if they think their ideas are obvious to them, they perhaps underestimate how amazing they can be to others.

I have myself benefited amazingly from learning, working outloud.

I would like to share with the #wol community here the work of Alan Levine @cogdog who has constituted a truly amazing collection of stories of connection.


So let me introduce one or two of my amazing students:

Maxime  Otmani
who is blogging here http://maxmyfourseasons.blogspot.fr/

Mael Troutouin
who is blogging for the first time here http://maeltrotouin.blogspot.fr

Antoine Ratinier
who is blogging for the first time here http://antoinesblogger.blogspot.fr/

I will add to this list as they open up to this community...

Charlène Duquet

who is blogging here: http://charlenestrategy.blogspot.com/

Gregoire Billouet

who is blogging for the first time here: http://gb423006.wixsite.com/gregoire-billouet/blog-1

Nicolas Souques

who blogs here: https://rahjinswarriorspath.wordpress.com

Here is a bundle of RSS feeds from their blogs:


I think back to my first steps in this blog, entitled "To boldy go."

"I was 19, I was happy,  wasn't sure where I was going.  Not much has changed in thirty years!

This is the first and perhaps the last entry in this log."

I have greatly benefited from meeting people along the way who have helped me out.

We are never quite sure where our paths will lead. 

I am convinced that the more we give the more we may receive. That is my interest in the #wol movement.

Have a thought for those who are just stepping out and offer them a friendly sign, a comment of encouragement, a piece of advice, an article they might find of interest.

You never know how being attentive to another person may change that person's day, year, life.


  1. Hi Simon. I enjoyed reading the blogs of your three students. Between 2005 and 2015 I encouraged interns who worked with me to write blogs and create videos and other visualizations to share what they were learning. I created a page that you can browse to see their work. http://www.tutormentorexchange.net/defining-a-terms/215-interns-at-tmc

    In 2014 I asked interns to look at work done by previous interns and find ways to showcase that work. This article includes two presentations that do this. http://michaelcnt.blogspot.com/2014/05/see-work-done-by-past-interns-duplicate.html

    I share this for two reasons.

    1) your students could be doing the same work, for the same purpose, but focusing on French cities, not Chicago;

    2) your students could also be looking at work done by my interns, or past students working with you, and could create their own highlight videos, Prezi's and blog stories.

    Good luck. I'll try to look at future student blogs as you post them.