Materials writing news and views, March 2019

A longer post this month – some overspill from the last post and then happenings over the last few weeks…

What’s new out recently?

Here are some recent coursebooks from publishers that I’ve clocked mainly on LinkedIn…

  • Oxford Uni Press have a new Pre-Primary series out – Archie’s World (shared by Jen Dobson). That link suggests it’s for the Spanish market, but I’m not sure.
  • Macmillan released Language Hub earlier in the year, and were promoting this at the English UK Academic Conference. I was involved in the digital content for the product so it’s great to see it on the market…

  • Pearson’s new eight-level General English, Roadmap, is out. Hugh Dellar has been promoting it on LinkedIn and answering some questions about it. I asked what the unique selling points were, and what it was like to use Pearson GSE instead of CEFR for leveling

It’s always nice to see a coursebook writer sharing their views on what they’ve written. Speaking of which, the recent Lexical Lab post (Grammar Nonsense part 7: the syllabus for Beginners) is well worth a read. Refreshing honesty from Andrew Walkley, and some actionable points for publishers. Also, it draws attention to another recent release, Outcomes Beginner.

  • Regarding resources for teachers, Marek Kiczkowiak and Robert Lowe have just bought out Teaching English as a Lingua Franca via Delta Publishing. I’ll grab a copy of this in the not-too-distant future and post a review.

Also a heads-up on another Delta Publishing book – a TBL resource that will be out in April:

Recent research…

Improving pronunciation resources – research from Levis and Silpachai (2018)

There’s an interesting and recent paper from Levis and Silpachai (2018) available on (free signup): Prominence and Information Structure in Pronunciation Teaching Materials. They discuss prominence mainly in the context of new/given information, and share some interesting examples of prominence in teaching materials. After some fair critiques of existing resources, they share some practical suggestions for how this feature of pronunciation can be better addressed in teaching materials:

It’s a short article but well worth a read, and relevant for those of us writing teaching materials on pronunciation.


Other posts worth reading…

Hancock – ELF: Beyond Dogma and Denial

Mark Hancock recently shared his article from the IATEFL Pronunciation SIG magazine on his own blog Another interesting read. You can access it here.

Ken Wilson on how materials writing has changed

IATEFL MaWSIG reshared this interesting insight into the publishing industry from Ken Wilson (originally published in 2017). Access it here.

Writing graded readers

A short intro post promoting a talk by Helen Holwill and Nicola Prentis at the upcoming IATEFL Conference: How to Write Graded Readers (a.k.a. Get Paid to Write Fiction)

In defence of coursebooks

The freebie article from Modern English Teacher this month was a 2016 offering from Alistair Lane, ‘In defence of coursebooks’. Read it here.


PronPack reflections

I’ve started trying out activities from Hancock’s PronPack in class. You can find ideas for adapting the resources here and also here.


This month I’ve mostly been working on…

I’m still writing video lessons for British Council. Other than that, it’s been samples, samples, samples. Hopefully I’ll reap the rewards down the line.

I’ve also had some interviews recently for Development Editor roles with the larger publishers. If you are considering similar roles and you’d like an insight into what these interviews involve then feel free to get in touch.



There aren’t many roles advertised at the big publishers (UK-based) at the moment. If you are really experienced in the industry, and you’re unlikely to be reading my humble blog if you are, then there’s a Senior Project Manager position going at Pearson.

One interesting avenue for freelancers I’ve come across recently is the Facebook group for York Press.

There haven’t been as many job spots around over the last few weeks. The ones shared by ELT Freelancers Community have mainly been working on Secondary Plus, the new British Council product. However, I’ve come across plenty of publishers/agencies willing to accept speculative CVs for work in the future. York Press was one, also Integra and many others. I won’t share too many here as Atena Juszko and I will hopefully compile a long list of work possibilities in the not too distant future!


If you only read one materials writing-related thing this month…

Check out this course with Peter Sharma through Link here.

Categories: General, materials writing

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