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Gordon Wells

Project Manager

Gordon Wells


MSc Applied Linguistics, University of Edinburgh, 1986-1987
PDESL (incl PGCE), University of Leeds, 1982-1983
BA (Hons), Language with Linguistics, University of York, 1975-1979


Gordon Wells taught in India and Japan before starting his UK career with Birmingham Industrial Language Training Services in the Eighties. After completing an Edinburgh University MSc in Applied Linguistics, he taught at Kilmarnock and Clydebank Colleges, before settling on the Isle of Benbecula. Working for Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, but based in the Western Isles, he was then involved in various local and international language development and research projects. The local relevance of this work is brought into focus through the Island Voices community project and website. This is still a live project at a voluntary level, although Gordon is now working as the Project Manager for Soillse. He has worked as writer or consultant for the Institute of Linguists, SCOTVEC, the BBC and the British Council, among other bodies. He has been the local co-ordinator, since 2005, of the POOLS/TOOLS series of European-funded projects which seek to develop and disseminate technology-assisted language teaching tools, techniques and materials. He has also undertaken local community-based research projects through the Soillse research network.

Research interests

His research interests are in language learning, bi/multilingualism and new media.


“Saoghal Thormoid – Norman’s World: Synopses and Transcripts”, Soillse 2017. (Foreword by Conchúr Ó Giollagáin.)

“Sharing Gaelic Voices: Peat-cutting in Polish, or Surfing in Sindhi?”, in Language Issues 27.1 Summer, NATECLA, 2016.

“CALL Support in Context: Contrasting Approaches in Irish and Scottish Gaelic”, with Caoimhín Ó Dónaill. TOOLS, 2014.

“Gaelic Digital Literacies in a Bilingual Community: a Sampling of Practices and Preferences”. Soillse, 2013.

ESOL in the Hebrides and Island Voices – ‘Hey, hang on a minute, tha mise bilingual’. In D. Mallows (ed) “Innovations in English language teaching for migrants and refugees”, British Council, London, 2012.

“Perceptions of Gaelic Learning and Use in a Bilingual Island Community: an Exploratory Study”. Soillse, 2011.

Island Voices Videos (Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, 2010, author). YouTube Channel, 150+ video clips for learners of Gaelic and English,

Guthan nan Eilean Air-loidhne: Island Voices Online (Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, 2010, author). Multimedia blog/portal for Series One and Two,

Guthan nan Eilean: Island Voices (Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, 2008, author). DVD/CD-Rom package of 40 short films with transcripts/translations for learners of Gaelic and English.

Teach Yourself Gaelic Conversation (Hodder Education, 2008, co-writer with Boyd Robertson). 3-CD package with accompanying booklet.

Thugam agus Bhuam (Grimsay Community Association, 2007, audio editor). Accompanying CDs for 2nd edition of Pàdruig Moireasdan’s song and story collection.

“The Validity of Language Learners’ Self-reports of ProficiencyA Study of Scottish Gaelic”, in “Language Issues”, journal of NATECLA, Vol. 9 No. 1, 1997.

“Working with the Gaelic Learners’ Association; a case study of learner-led initiatives in Heritage Language Teaching”, in “Language Issues”, Journal of the National Association for Teaching English and Other Community Languages to Adults (NATECLA), Vol. 7 No. 2 1995/6.

Karaoke Cèilidh (Clydebank College/CLI, 1994, Producer). Song-based book and tape package for Gaelic learners.

“The Teaching of Hindi and Urdu in Britain: A Community Language Approach”, in J. Wagner & H. L. Nielsen (eds), “Teaching Remote Foreign Languages”, Odense Working Papers in Language and Communication No. 7, 1994.

“A Placement Test in Gaelic Reading Skills for Adult Learners: Development, Administration, and Analysis”, Proceedings of FASGNAG II, Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, Isle of Skye, 1993.

SCOTVEC National Certificate Urdu 1 Open Learning Pack, (Strathclyde Region, 1992, Co-writer and Editor).

“Adult Learners and Native Speakers: Shall the Twain Ne’er Meet?”, Proceedings of FASGNAG Conference on Social and Related Research on Gaelic Language and Community, Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, Isle of Skye, 1991.

Hindi Urdu Bol Chaal (BBC Enterprises, 1989, Co-writer). 215-page course book and audio tapes to accompany BBC Television series.