Materials writing news and views, July 2020

Last update before a nice break, woohoo!

New releases

Another one for Paul Ashe (with Jeremy Bowell) – Prospects.

I’ve seen Paul’s name around a bit recently. IH are running a course in online tutoring, he’s listed as a tutor on it.

Peter Fullagar/Jenny Dooley have a new book out through Express Publishing. Exam prep.

Silly Shakespeare for Students (Murray, Alphabet Publishing) has been getting some rave reviews. Walton Burns shared this on LinkedIn:

You can read my review of the series here.

Publisher/Writer Promo

  • The Raise Up! launch party has been followed up with an interview with Ilá Coimbra – Diversity in ELT Materials. Only watched half so far tbh…
  • Onestopenglish free access extended for a month. Good chance to get interesting CLIL resources, and to download any of the resources you might have written for them for your portfolio!
  • NGL In Focus blog been pretty good lately. A double John Hughes and a Claire Venables in there.
  • Random shoutout here, but Jason Anderson! The guy seems to be some kinda PPP pantomime villain on Twitter sometimes. I looked at his site the other day and wow – loads of free resources on there for teaching/teacher training, etc. Great stuff.

Small publisher showcase

Chimayo Press

Check them out. Here’s their 2019 catalogue, can’t see a 2020 one on the site. That was it, free promo. Why not.


We need to talk about coursebooks

New podcast from SLB Coop discusses pros and cons of coursebooks. Great to hear Nick White’s views – an awesome blogger (well, don’t know where his content has gone?). Matthew Ellman as well, who gave some interesting insights. Strange that he said he trains for CUP yet the teachers he trains use other publishers’ books.

Useful links in show notes (click here).

A few things that were mentioned reminded me of this old post from the Sandy Millin archive (‘What do I think about coursebooks?’). Worth a read.

(Other) Blog posts

  • Dorothy Zemach’s self-publishing course has started. She shared a few thoughts on self-publishing recently via Atena’s blog.
  • Robin Walker’s A-Z of pronunciation has been interesting recently. Lingua Franca Core stuff interesting to read (both parts) and another hint to an upcoming coursebook with ELF leanings.

Incidentally, Robin Walker has posted a bit about coursebooks too, via OUP. While back though.



I’ve just bought…

Looks alright. Anyone read it? Probs won’t be my summer reading – I’ve been reading non-ELT stuff recently (shock horror). The Vegetarian by Han Kang (didn’t really get it), Man Without a Country by Vonnegut (good suggestion Matthew Noble, who is back blogging!!!), and about to read Kitchen Confidential.

Research-wise, I’ve come across various interesting articles lately:

TEFL-Lit. Ever read any? Did you know it exists? Nor did I, until I read Barry Reinvents Himself. Gave me a chuckle.




Mad, huh. CLIL and China. It’s just relentless. So much CLIL writing for China market around. All the big publishers are at it. I’m lucky I guess as things are all very CLILly in my context so that’s a leg up.


I’ve decided – I like the WIDA scale. Be nice to see this used more by publishers. I haven’t come across an EAL book yet that uses WIDA. Anyone else?

PDFs, branding, etc.

Tough one for publishers. When I was a materials writer and teacher at the British Council I used to (kinda) campaign to get resources shared as editable docs. Teachers were always selecting/rejecting/adapting, and the fixed format was a bit of a faff for this. However, branding didn’t allow it. Things needed to be standardised and on point branding-wise, so all the lesson handouts were locked PDF format. Now I’m teaching online, and I’m using far more things like Google Docs for collaborative tasks, and I’m thinking ‘I wish publishers would provide resources using more editable formats’. I get why they don’t, it’s just a lot of my resources aren’t totally suited to online teaching/learning. Of course there are workarounds, and it’s not too much of a hardship. But…

Random. Wow, that really was a boring topic! I’d be so much fun to meet at a publishing party. Not.

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

Check out I really like this blog, great ideas. If I were a publisher, especially one after CLIL resources, I’d get in contact with this guy, Miguel Miguez. There are lots of good teacher-bloggers around who perhaps should be doing more on the materials writing circuit. For me, this is one of them.

Happy holidays 😊

Categories: General, materials writing

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