Author: Pete

Teacher and Materials Writer

Review: English for Business Communication

This review originally appeared in IATEFL Voices 281. You’ll be pleased to know that Voices reviews have a 400 word limit, which saves you the pain of all my usual rambling in reviews! Haha.

Dr Mable Chan

Routledge Applied English Language introductions (Taylor and Francis)

2020, 267 Pages

This book is aimed at students and professionals learning English for business and workplace communication. It focuses on both written and spoken communication, providing a useful overview of the language needed to complete a range of workplace tasks. Cultural norms and appropriate types of interaction (e.g. when to be direct; non-verbal behaviour) are also explained throughout the book.

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Blogging tips for new ELT writers

I recently shared a tip on LinkedIn for materials writers who blog:

Here are a few more suggestions for using your blog to good effect as a newbie materials writer. 

Note: these tips are mostly about finding work, interacting with publishers, and adding value to ‘your brand’. I’ve chosen to focus on these things because lots of us teachers aren’t good at self-promo, don’t feel comfortable doing it, and don’t feel comfortable even talking about it sometimes! There are also a few tips on how to help other writers, which I think is really important.

So… using your blog as a writer, part 1.1

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Before I became a teacher

Tyson Seburn recently tweet-asked followers about their degrees prior to working in ELT. After seeing such varied responses, I feel quite embarrassed to admit that I know very little about anything other than the English language ☹. Not even much about that either! You certainly wouldn’t think it given my writing style or SPaG!

My BA was in English Language and Communication. Most of my tutors were/had been involved in ELT in some way/shape/form so I guess I was bound to fall into it. The foundation year of the course had modules on SLA, psycholing and sociolinguistics. The other two years were quite TEFLy, courses on grammar, lexis, phonology, and a CELTA equivalent. There were also courses on ‘the bigger picture’ as such – things like language policy and planning, language and culture, etc. Plus, we had to pass a language to intermediate level. Mine was Spanish (you’d be surprised if you heard me speak it now, seriously). My dissertation was on language learning strategies (metacognitive strategies mainly).

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International schools: the current state of play (EL Gazette)

The latest EL Gazette includes a feature article on international schools:

This article began with a focus on traditional international schools – those typically serving the interests of Western expatriates. It suggested that nations such as Singapore, India and China have tapped into/are tapping into this traditional model. An example was with China ‘looking to expand its network of Mandarin-medium schools overseas’. After a few stats about the number of (mainly state-assisted) international schools and the number of schools offering the Cambridge International curriculum, the article briefly mentioned some issues international schools face with regulation. The main issue mentioned was safeguarding.

The second article suggested that the goal posts are shifting for international schools. It reports that some countries are limiting international school enrolment for host nationals, as well as introducing host-national-only ownership of private schools, restricting the level of foreign investment.

You can read both articles here, pages 14-15.

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Materials writing news and views, July 2021

Euros over. Wimbledon over. Olympics coming up!

New releases

  • Some more Primary teacher books from Michelle Worgan:
  • Emily Bryson is running a course on engaging learners with simple drawings. See here.
  • This digital storytelling project from Vicky Saumell. See here.

New graded reader from Wayzgooze, click here.

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Poetry lesson: What do you hear?

Here’s a short poetry task that worked well with YLs and teens. It’s based on a poem from A Nest Full of Stars by James Berry.

Before you ask, no. I haven’t suddenly gone all NLP.  

Aims

  • Create a poem in the style of a famous poet
  • Review and practice adjectives to describe feelings
  • Practice mindfulness and ‘being present’

Optional lead-in, discuss poetry (might be dry for YLs but worked okay with the teens)

  • Do you like poetry? Why / Why not?
  • Do you know any famous poets from your country (or somewhere else)? If so, who?
  • Have you ever written a poem? If so, what was it about?
  • What are some typical features of poems?

More of a ‘hook’ lead-in for the YLS…

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Reflections on the DipTESOL

Here are some short video reflections on my DipTESOL experience. These are meant for candidates on the new DipTESOL course run through DublinTEFL. I’ve explained more in this intro vid…

Excuse the tiredness. And the lockdown hair! Barbers are shut here in Bangkok. The classroom is stripped back now, end of term and all. We’re still lucky though, IWB and whiteboard, plus looooads of resources out of shot.

So anyway, DublinTEFL asked quite a few questions. I’ve covered most of them. All the vids are only 90 seconds long.

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New ebook! 100+ Professional Development Tips for Post-CELTA Teachers

So, here it is, my first self-published ebook! Here’s the blurb:

This book is aimed at new teachers such as those who have recently completed a CELTA or Cert TESOL course. It offers a range of development tips and ideas to help teachers gain confidence in various areas of their practice. These areas include lesson planning, reviewing vocabulary, teaching pronunciation, classroom organization, and getting teens to talk.

This book is a result of my participation in Self-Publishing for ELT Professionals – a course run by iTDi.pro and hosted by Dorothy Zemach. I’ve just posted a bit about the course here.

Why did I write this book?

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Self-Publishing for ELT Professionals course (so far)

I’m taking this training course on self-publishing through ITDI.pro. It’s four weeks long, and we’re going into the final week of input. It’s not necessarily close to the end though. I’d imagine they’ll be plenty to discuss in the forum over the coming month at least.

In Week 1, our trainer Dorothy Zemach shared a good overview of publishing in ELT. She explained how/where self-publishing fits in and why we might choose to self-publish. To join this course you must have an idea for a self-published book in mind, and preferably have some content that is ‘ready’ to edit and play around with. Our homework for this week was to share an overview of our project, discussing target audience, purpose, progress and so on.

In Week 2 we learnt loads about the different tools you can use to create epubs, and where you might upload your book for sale. Dorothy did a live demo of some tools. One particular tool called Draft2Digital looked really cool! I opted to use that to make my own content into an ebook. We spoke a bit about formatting too. The homework was to share our work for commenting (which was pretty scary). Lots of useful comments from participants!

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Towards building a whole-school approach to EAL

I enjoyed Adri’s post on EAL vs ESL the other day. It’s great to read so many positives regarding EAL culture at her school: teamwork, addressing individual needs, building a whole-school EAL approach, etc.

Based on Adri’s comments, I feel like she’s a few steps ahead of my school in her context. As an EAL teacher, I’m still trying to work out how best I can promote EAL support to other teachers at my school, and explain how our approach can benefit the students. Adri seems to have made progress with that already so I’ll be reaching out to her for ideas, that’s for sure!

I do have one idea for building a whole-school approach to EAL. It’s basically to put the EAL dept out there – make it clear what we are doing, why we are doing it, and prompt other teachers to collaborate more with us. I’m putting together a series of videos to explain what we do both during in-class support and in our EAL lessons.

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