education and training

University of York, 1975-1979. BA Hons (II i) in Language with Linguistics

Central Institute of Hindi, New Delhi, 1981-1982. Diploma in Hindi Language Proficiency

University of Leeds, 1982-1983. Postgraduate Diploma in ESL (PGCE) with Distinction

Sandwell College, 1983-1985 (part-time). City & Guilds Certificate in CCTV Production

University of Edinburgh, 1986-1987. MSc in Applied Linguistics

1. Development and Analysis of Gaelic Placement Test (Distinction)

2. Phonological Study of English Loanwords in Japanese (Distinction)

3. Design of Hindi and Urdu Language Programme for TV (Distinction)

Dissertation: Concepts of Mother Tongue and Native Speaker in relation to the Teaching of Languages to Adults

current work


Lifelong Learning Department, Sabhal Mòr Ostaig Gaelic College, Isle of Skye

Duties include further development of the award-winning Guthan nan Eilean: Island Voices bilingual series of online language teaching materials, together with development of an associated training programme in collaboration with Uist-based community training group Cothrom.

Gordon also co-ordinates the college’s continuing contribution to the Leonardo POOLS-T project, the successor to the original POOLS project, which Gordon also managed.

The work won a 2009 European Award for Creativity and Innovation in Lifelong Learning.

He has also made a teaching contribution as a tutor on An Cùrsa Inntrigidh (Online Gaelic Access Course). This is a supported online course for beginners in Gaelic, recognised in 2004 with the CILT European Award for Languages and the Routledge Adult Education Language Prize.

Duties included weekly audio-conference lessons with student groups across Scotland, England, North America and Australia, plus periodic formative and summative assessment of students’ written and spoken work.

ipadio—voice of the web

ipadio logoipadio takes any phone call and streams it live on the web, makes phonecasts and phlogs simple and immediate. Phlog… Gordon air prògram Choinnich : interview extract for Gaelic online learning : Original broadcast, BBC Scotland’s programme Coinneach.

Gordon Wells : full phlog listings

previous positions


Development Officer/Senior Lecturer/Community Learning Networks Co-ordinator

Colaisde Bheinn na Faoghla, Lews Castle College Benbecula Campus, Liniclate, Isle of Benbecula

March 1996 to April 2004

duties included :
Develop rationale and funding proposals for construction of £866K FE/HE campus in Benbecula

Manage Lews Castle College’s Benbecula Campus, teaching and support staff

Research development needs and opportunities, and guide/develop course proposals, including unique FE Foundation and Level 1 HE programmes in Gaelic Language & Music, and Art & Design

Co-ordinate Lews Castle College learning centres in the Western Isles

Teach Gaelic, Communication, ESOL at FE and HE levels


Community Service Volunteer Assistant Teacher
Poole’s Park Primary School, Islington, London, 1974-1975
“Gap year” classroom assistant in multicultural inner-city primary school.

Language Assistant
Salwan Boys’ Upper Secondary School, New Delhi, 1976-1977 (part-time)
“Year abroad” section of Linguistics degree, learning Hindi and studying English-learning patterns of Indian students.

English Teacher/Instructor/Lecturer
Kaibara Senior High School, Hyogo-ken, Berlitz School of Languages, Osaka, and Tezukayama University, Nara, Japan, 1979-1981
First year working in government schools in rural Japan on what later became known as the JET programme, followed by commercial experience teaching in a business environment and in a private university.

Lecturer I/II (English for Speakers of Other Languages, Community Languages)
Birmingham Industrial Language Training Service, Handsworth Technical College, 1983-1988
Seminal experience in workplace-based ESOL and related training with a range of organisations including manufacturing industry, eg BSK Aluminium, Halladay Drop Forgings, as well as statutory agencies, eg Health Service, in the Birmingham area. Programmes were tailor-made, based on training needs analyses, and extended beyond English teaching to take into account intercultural issues, questions around motivation and equal opportunities, and general corporate ethos. Materials development was also a major component of the job, including video as well as text-based productions.

Lecturer in English for Speakers of Other Languages
Kilmarnock College, 1989-1991
In charge of broad-based ESOL programme for both locally based and some overseas students.

Principal Lecturer in Languages (including ESOL), with responsibility for Scottish International Foundation Programme students, Clydebank College, 1991-1996
Cross-college responsibility for all overseas students, plus academic leadership of all language provision in the college. Day-to-day course leadership of Scottish International Foundation Programme students. Developments during Gordon’s tenure included the introduction of both Gaelic and Japanese into the languages portfolio of the college, as well as South Asian language training for local authority staff and other service providers, a research partnership with Edinburgh University and materials development partnership with CLI.


External Moderator, RSA ESL Profile Certificate, Birmingham, Luton, Tower Hamlets 1984-1985

External Examiner, Institute of Linguists, Bilingual Skills Certificate, Rochdale 1988

Writer/Consultant, BBC Television, for “Hindi Urdu Bol Chaal” language series 1987-1989

Principal Researcher, Edinburgh University, research project on the validity of language learners’ self-reports of proficiency, 1995

Consultant, Scottish Examination Board, for Standard Grade Urdu Development Group 1995

Convener, Comunn an Luchd-Ionnsachaidh (CLI – Gaelic Learners’ Association) 1994-1997

Consultant, UHI Millennium Institute, researching Indian Higher Education opportunities, 2004-2005