About me > Introduction

The author of this website is in love! …Crazy in love with languages, learning and teaching. By making his hobby his work, he is leading an easy life. So easy that his mother doesn’t quite understand what he does for a living.

Hayo developed a love for languages at an early age. At four his favourite TV show was the German version of Sesame Street (he’s Dutch) and at age 7 he began to speak backwards, to the exasperation of his parents. At 11, he got himself removed from a restaurant in Holland for correcting the French spelling mistakes on the menu (with a permanent marker pen).

Formal studies in applied linguistics were unable to dampen his enthusiasm for the subject and did not dissuade him from wasting three years, in the prime of his life, on a PhD topic so obscure that even his supervisor (Professor Rod Ellis) had to read the glossary to understand it.

Over the years he has taken on a cornucopia of jobs and projects – anything with a promise of something new to learn (or a bit of cash). Volunteer tutor to refugees, teaching-assistant, research assistant, language counsellor, company director, TOEFL test researcher, manager, materials developer, drummer-for-hire (in times of need), educational designer, supervisor, language tester, professor, researcher, teacher educator, and the universally-dreaded ‘consultant’.

Hayo regularly roams the world to work on projects in the areas of learner autonomy, self-access, and technology. He designed several online learning environments for language learning, which are currently supporting thousands of students in their language studies. The cherries on the cake are the invited and plenary speeches at conferences where he loves the interaction with participants from around the world.

hayo-in-vogueIn his spare time (ha!) he looks after his goats in New Zealand, his health in Bali, and his students around the globe, and writes books for learners, teachers, teacher educators and academics. The latter cost so much time and pay so little that he has to maintain a vegetable garden and small orchard to grow his own food. He does research on anything that moves and will sign a consent form (pawprints are okay too). In particular, he feels strongly about the old hegemony of the traditional (language) classroom, stuck in a time long since gone. Instead, he is excited about the potential of out-of-class learning and sees the main role of the teacher as preparing learners and supporting them in their own learning. The learner as the starting point, with classrooms, tandem learning, self-access centres, other learners, corpora, support staff, and online language materials available on-demand as situated and dynamic affordances. Learning, in other words, as an integral part of life. Relevant, engaging, here & now.

Hayo is also excited about the potential of technology as an agent of change in the way education is delivered. He is an active supporter of open education initiatives and aims to make most of his own work available for free to others, thus avoiding to pay taxes. Technology will enable developing countries, and individuals within them, to empower themselves and to become truly autonomous, in all the meanings of that word.

Hayo is a busy chap, but does set aside a small amount of time to supervise PhD students, teach graduate or staff development courses, either face-to-face or at a distance. He is sometimes available for projects in the area of (development/implementation/staff training) of technology in education, and will coordinate or participate in research that promises to excite him. Check out the ‘hire me’ pages for more information.

Now if only he could get his mother to understand what he does for a living. Sigh…

Hayo would love to hear from you! Your questions, feedback, ideas, raves and rants (well, not so much the rants…) are welcome. Please use the contact page.

“Give a man a fish, and you’ll feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and he’ll buy a funny hat. Talk to a hungry man about fish, and you’re a consultant.” – Scott Adams



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Below is a video from a Pakistani breakfast show where we discussed language learning and teaching.