Author: Pete

Teacher and Materials Writer

MA, PGCEi or Diploma?

Question from a reader:

I’m after some advice. I can’t decide which professional development course to do. I have a CELTA plus five years’ teaching experience and I’ve been thinking for a while about doing a DELTA or Dip. Then again, I’ve heard that for university jobs like teaching pre-sessional courses it’s good to have an MA. But recently I’ve heard people mention the PGCEi as a future-proofing qualification and I’m like… aargh! Which course should I do?

My comments:

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Guest post: Student and teacher reflection journals

It’s been a while since a guest post on ELT Planning. Michael Walker is a PGCEi-qualified teacher who has spent a while teaching EAP at a university in the Republic of Korea. In this cool post, Michael describes the impact of using reflection journals on his practice and on student learning.

I may be a bit of an anomaly in the EAL field, truth be told, teaching English doesn’t excite me, never has. What does get me up in the morning and into the classroom is developing a student’s interest in learning.

Like many EAL teachers, I fell into language teaching. Spending a year in a foreign clime teaching well-behaved children was and probably still is a cushy option for a recent graduate. However, my interest in learning never left me. In fact, after several years teaching elementary students I found myself voluntarily searching for pedagogical literature, having discussions with other staff members on how to excite and inspire students, and spending hours developing materials that will appeal to a diverse bunch of learners. Not because I was overly passionate about instilling an understanding of comparative adjectives into my students, but just because I wanted the students to develop a love of learning. (more…)

Finding work as a writer

I haven’t shared any tips for new writers for a while, not since my post on how to find commissioning editors. So, here it goes.

There’s nothing wrong with building connections at big publishers like Pearson, Macmillan, CUP, OUP, NGL (Cengage, whatever). It’s good to aim high and you might well get lucky. However, there are loads of other companies/organisations you can write for in ELT. If you aren’t getting much luck with the bigger publishers then why not look elsewhere?

Here’s a list of possible avenues for you to explore. Note:

  • this is not a list of endorsements
  • this is not comprehensive, it’s just some ideas to get you started

If you’d like to add any more ideas for fellow newbie writers then please do so in the comments.

The Content Station

‘Your trusted educational publishing team…’. This lot are easy to find on LinkedIn and active enough. The couple of times they’ve contacted me has been for editing rather than writing so if that’s your bag then maybe drop them a line.

Yeehoo Corporation

They produce a magazine called Phoenix English. They are often looking for copy – mostly churning out graded texts. The mag looks okay so this could be a good portfolio builder.

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Review: Teacher Tapp

Teacher Tapp (TT) is a survey app for teachers. Every day at 3.30pm (UK time) teachers are asked three multiple-choice questions related to their professional life, practice, wellbeing, etc. Once answered, users can then see the results from the previous day’s questions. Users are also given a link to a useful site/blog for CPD. Occasionally the app also provides links to edu-related special offers as a reward for answering questions.

App users are usually educators, and TT questions are often commissioned by businesses, organizations, researchers, etc, in order to gain insights from those at the chalkface. The TT site says…

‘Whether you’re a business seeking insight into the products and services that teachers want and need, a researcher looking to recruit teachers or a policy specialist who needs to boost your advocacy position with teacher opinions, the Teacher Tapp app is for you.’

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Free lessons on Onestopenglish

Onestopenglish is still free at the moment. This is a great opportunity to make the most of their awesome resources. There’s so much available on the site: lesson plans, articles related to methodology, resources created by the Onestopenglish community… they’ve also been teaming up with institutions like NILE recently to provide tips for teachers.

I’ve written a few resources for site over the past year which I hope you will find interesting and useful. Most of them are for the Everyday Life series. They’re print-and-go adult General English resources, complete with teacher notes and student worksheets. These are often task-led and typically suit 1 – 1.5 hour lessons.

Everyday Life Lesson Topics:

Exercise

Minor illnesses

Typical dishes

Fake news

Superstitions

Star signs

Getting to work

Describing your neighbourhood

Article /resource for the Online Education series:

Parents as Temporary Teachers

Lesson Share Winning Resource:

Instant Coffee, a Black Mirror inspired short story with resources (for approximately three hours of class time)

Feedback on any of these resources is most welcome! I hope they come in handy for your own lessons.

One million visitors!

This blog is about to reach a milestone. By, I guess, Friday it will have had 1 million visitors.

Thanks to my awesome PLN for all your support, comments, and interest! When Martin Sketchley persuaded me to start blogging a while ago I never imagined that…

  • people would read it!
  • trainee teachers would find it useful! So many awesome comments from CELTA/Dip trainees. It means a lot, cheers.
  • blogging would lead to professional writing! Trust me – publishers do read ELT blogs.
  • I would enjoy blogging!

A few random blog facts/stats… (more…)

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. (more…)

Review: Barry Reinvents Himself

Barry Reinvents Himself is a TEFL-lit novel by C.Cotterill (aka Twitter’s @ContinuouslyT).

After being kicked out of a minor prog-metal band, Birmingham-based Barry looks to shake his old image and bounce back. Lured by images of an old college mate living it up in SE Asia, Barry opts to take a CELTA, dragging fellow band reject Russel along for the ride. Shady schools, dodgy colleagues, frustrating students and a series of bad decisions follow. Barry dabbles in/with politics, spirituality and live listening lessons. Russel’s development as a teacher is stifled by long hours and habitual drinking. The pair have no idea where they’re going or what they’re doing. Will the duo’s bond remain intact? Will Barry find himself? Will either of them find love? (more…)

Review: Silly Shakespeare for Students

Silly Shakespeare for Students is a new series from Alphabet Publishing. It offers simplified versions of well-known Shakespeare plays, making them accessible and fun for English language learners. You can read the blurb from the publisher here.

A few key points about the resources…

  • Each play in the series has been cut to about an hour
  • They’re all done in rhyming couplets – short, sharp and engaging
  • They include lots of humour throughout, regardless of the original genre
  • Plays include stage directions, some production notes, plus an explanation of how the play has been adapted.

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Should I do a PGCEi?

I’m currently doing a PGCEi through the University of Nottingham. The course is specifically designed for international educators with a focus on improving professional practice. It is an 11-month course which is mostly distance learning, although there is a short face-to-face component.

The course seems popular with teachers who are working at ‘lower-tier’ international schools and who do not hold a teaching certificate from their country of origin. It also seems popular with EFL teachers hoping to transition to international school teaching. However, that’s just a snapshot – my cohort on the course is extremely varied and includes edtech business owners, state-school teachers in Thailand, educational materials writers, and unknown bloggers (*waves*).

Here’s a Q+A style chat I had with a friend on the pros and cons of taking this course. For context, we are based in Thailand, and I currently teach at an international school. (more…)