Materials writing news and views, August 2019

It’s been a whole month since I’ve punned in a published resource! Crazy.

New releases

Tyson Seburn has a put together a sample unit of an ELT LGBTQIA2 inclusive coursebook unit, based on a normalisation approach. He’s done a great job of producing his own materials – as well as the inclusive approach to content, the overall design and flow of the resource is nice too. This is well worth reading about and hopefully will gain more recognition from publishers. See here for more details.

Express Publishing have released an interesting (?) new title – Brain Friendly Grammar. It’s written by Rachel Paling, a proponent of ‘Neurolanguage Coaching’. I initially thought this approach related to NLP but I’ve been informed otherwise. Anyway, this is a supplementary resource for grammar coaching, to be used alongside traditional grammar books. You can find out more about the book here, although there are no samples provided ☹

Update: I’ve been offered the chance to review this book so watch this space…

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Wordwall for ELT vocabulary games

Wordwall is a recent find for me. I heard about it during this webinar on gamifying learning, which was quite interesting. I’ve since mentioned it to various colleagues, and the typical response has been ‘oh yeah, Wordwall, that’s pretty good’. So I guess I’m behind the times!

Basically, Wordwall allows you to create interactive resources online for use in class or at home. Activities are often games, but you can use it to bring more standard coursebook activities to life such as matching tasks. It’s very straightforward to create a resource – there are a variety of templates available, most of which are intuitive and require no more than 10 minutes to set up.  You can create five activities with the free membership, then unlimited activities (including a multiplayer quiz) when you sign up (costs me 120 baht per month which isn’t bad). (more…)

Review: A-Z of ESOL (Emily Bryson)

This short review first appeared in IATEFL Voices magazine last month. Sharing here for general interest. This is a good resource: 4 stars from me.

A-Z of ESOL is a useful set of classroom-ready resources for TESOL contexts. Activities in the book are primarily aimed at equipping learners with the language (and life) skills they need to function communicatively in an English-speaking country. There are 26 activities in total, one for each letter of the alphabet (A = A school report, B = Building repairs, C = Covering letters, etc).

Activities in ‘A-Z…’ are based around social practices (related to education, employment, health, community, and so on), and expose learners to the functional language required in such real-life situations. The author states in a brief introduction that the resources follow a task-based approach. This is true in part. However, a weaker task-supported approach is used in some activities for lower-level learners (A1-A2), with more language input or structures introduced prior to students attempting the task. (more…)

Spoken Grammar: a Guide for English Language Teachers

I got offered free access to this course on Udemy. I’ve been meaning to do it for a while. Finally got around to it and… wow! It’s very impressive.

Course overview

Spoken Grammar is a teacher training course. It provides teachers with techniques and materials for teaching conversational grammar – typically to learners at intermediate level or above. There are about three hours of lectures on the course which highlight a wide range of spoken grammar, and give an insight into how these features could be taught in the classroom.

There are 6 sections on the course:

Section 1 Introduction.
Section 2 Word order and ellipsis: heads and tails; declarative questions; ellipsis.
Section 3 Emphasis: hyperbole; interjections; cleft structure and binominals.
Section 4 Vague language: vague categories; vague placeholders; lexical bundles.
Section 5 Marking spoken discourse: adverbials; discourse markers; using direct speech.
Section 6 Response language: tokens and questions; so and do; synonymous language; dependent clauses.

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Materials writing news and views, July 2019

Sorry, been busy!

Here’s some latest news with a Pearson-heavy start!

 

Pearson to phase out print textbooks

The big news announced yesterday (BBC article here).

In the pipeline…

Pearson are working on the higher levels (Int+) of Startup. Promo vid:

Expect some puns in the Level 8 book. They’ve signed off on my decision to name a librarian ‘Paige Turner’.

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Course review: Evaluating Digital Materials (iTDi)

I recently took the iTDi course on Evaluating Digital Materials, delivered by Pete Sharma.

If you can’t be bothered with the whole review – here’s a summary in, er… wait… 17 words:

Excellent input, great delivery, very active forum, useful take-home resources, real value for money, well worth it!

Overview

The course lasts four weeks. Each week there is a weekend webinar with Pete, and then various follow-up activities such as reading and exploratory tasks related to digital tools. Most tasks involve sharing reflections in the course forum which, I have to say, was really active and thoughts were interesting to read.

In Week 1, Pete orientated us to the topic of Computer Assisted Language Learning with an informative webinar and follow-up resources. The main task after input was for us to choose the tool we were interested in evaluating. With so many participants on the course it meant that the tools selected were extremely varied, and some very topical for my context (such as Kahoot). I chose to evaluate Genially after coming across this on Owain Llewelyn’s blog (ELT Sustainable). (more…)

Book review: Teaching English as a Lingua Franca

I’ve finally got my hands on a copy of this book! Woohoo!

What can I say? I’ve a keen interest in the topic of English as a Lingua Franca. ELF was a buzzword during my BA, well before I entered teaching, as my tutors included Jennifer Jenkins and Martin Dewey. This topic also relates to my recent MA dissertation, so I’ve been very eager to see how the authors puts a practical spin on the topic.

As far as I’m concerned, a comprehensive resource that deals with the practical application on ELF is long overdue. The authors, Marek Kiczkowiak and Robert Lowe, mention that “ELF researchers have either been very cautious, or perhaps even neglectful, of the practical applications of their studies” (pg 13). I agree, hence I instantly recognise the value of this resource and what it sets out to achieve. (more…)