Earlier today I submitted my thesis for examination, and I think that this is a good time to reflect on the all the invaluable help I was kindly offered throughout the many years it took me to plan, conduct and write up my PhD. It would have been impossible to thank everybody in writing, not least because many of the research participants who helped me most must remain anonymous. I hope that such omissions and oversights are not read as signs that I have been less than appreciative of any help I received. With that in mind, here are the acknowledgements from the thesis:
There are many people to whom I feel grateful for their support throughout the preparation of this thesis. First and foremost, I want to acknowledge my supervisor and friend, Juup Stelma. I am not sure I have conveyed my appreciation for his insightful contributions to my thinking, and I am certain that I cannot adequately convey my gratitude for his unfailing support throughout my studies.
Many thanks also extend to Julian Edge, for his confidence in me, which provided impetus to my work, for his critical reminders, which reined my enthusiasm; and for setting an inspiring example, which guided my efforts. Susan Brown, who joined the supervisory team in 2010, has enriched my thinking with her own invaluable perspective and has been an unwavering source of support, for all of which I am sincerely grateful.
I am indebted to Magdalena De Stefani, who tirelessly read many parts of this thesis as it developed over the years, and never failed to provide feedback that was both useful and tactful; to Sarah Mercer, for generously sharing her time and expertise, and for constantly stirring up enthusiasm about Complex Systems Theory, English Language Teaching and the academe; to Mariam Attia, for her unfailing encouragement and for keeping a watchful eye over me during the darker periods of writing; and to Paul Breen, Lou Harvey and Eljee Javier, for continual help throughout my studies, along with continuing friendship.
This thesis would not have been possible without the help of many teachers and learners who volunteered their time and their views. With regard to the teachers, I can only hope that my work accurately conveys their professionalism, enthusiasm and dedication. For the, hopefully few, instances where I failed to do so, I can only offer my apologies. As for the learners, I cannot imagine that any researcher has had the privilege of a working with such perceptive, welcoming and remarkable people.
For material and affective support throughout my studies I owe a debt of gratitude to my parents. For her patience and understanding throughout the period when I was preparing this thesis and in spite of my consuming interest in it, to my wife. For her love, to Natalia, who was always in my mind, even though I could not always be with her as I wrote.
Image credit: Fractal flame (Wikipedia | CC BY-SA)