April update has got a bit long, sorry. It’s mainly because of IATEFL and ELTONS.
There were some interesting talks related to materials writing. Equality, diversity and inclusion was certainly a theme.
Two interesting points from John Gray’s talk, Gender and sexuality in ELT…
Gray notes from his analysis of 10 top-selling ELT textbooks that there was ‘a blanket avoidance of any LGBT representation’
He promotes ‘… a collective effort on behalf of teachers, teacher trainers, materials writers, textbook reviewers, etc to come together to create learning environments that address gender and sexual diversity.’
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…
This is a new blog post from Atena Juszko, ELT Editor. It has some really useful ideas and some good links. The ones for publisher blogs might be of interest to some. I do/have done most of the stuff on the list, but I shy away from presenting at conferences. I might do more in the future, who knows. Anyway, useful post. Atena mentioned an old post of mine about writing for ELT magazines – I saw a tweeter share this recent post from Tim Thompson on the same topic, which may be useful for those looking to build their presence in the industry.
I have an article coming up in ETPro about the benefits of having a LinkedIn account for materials writers. While that won’t sound particularly riveting to most, I had a useful ‘LinkedInteraction’ (see what I did there…?) last week. A new contact had some work with ‘Digital Learning Associates’ listed on their work history. I did some research on these guys and some speculative emailing. Turns out…
they are keen to hear from video narrators/editors in the industry, so get in touch if this is your thing
they have an online platform of video-based resources, which sounds good. They’re going to let me review it, so watch this space if interested
they produce quite a bit of video-based content for big publishers. I wondered where a lot of that came from…
Anyway, they look like a company worth checking out. (more…)
Here is Brian Tomlinson’s recent webinar in written form: ‘What about principles for materials development?’ The session was delivered as part of the MaWSIG ‘What about…? Webinar series. It was full of take home points so this post is pretty long! (more…)
I always feel embarrassed when I speak up for coursebooks. I think I’m supposed to hate them. Everybody else seems to, so I guess that’s the right thing to do. According to Steve Brown’s latest post (well worth a read), even coursebook writers themselves are getting bold enough to criticise the practices of big publishers. Steve reckons that, in the grand scheme of things, such criticism is pointless. I say that the writers should keep doing it. The more they bite the hand that feeds, the more likely that publishers get annoyed and look for writers elsewhere. I’d love to get a message in my LinkedIn mailbox one day that reads: (more…)
I sat down to plan a General English class for our adult learners to the other day. I say plan, more like adapt. We have an in-house set of lessons so there’s already a plan in place, but the lesson needs tweaking to suit the learners. Anyway, I opened up my lesson schedule and there it was – ‘Lesson 93 – English around the World’. Just another lesson for other teachers, but really significant for me. It was the first time ever I’d taught published materials that I’d actually wrote!
I’m teaching my own materials week in, week out. Sometimes a coursebook or other materials are dry so I either just adapt them or scrap them and write something else. Most of my colleagues do the same, it’s standard procedure. I’m happy to share the resources I make with other teachers, if they turn out to be any good that is! But this time it’s different. I was actually paid to write these materials, they are formally published as part of a regional syllabus across 15 countries, and teachers across the region are using them daily.
My first thought – pride. It’s so cool. It’s a real sense of achievement to see something you wrote looking all organised on a handout. It’s funny to read teachers notes with your inner voice and remember the actual voice who wrote it was you…! Sure, it’s also a bit of an ego boost I guess, but that happens.
My second thought – relief. Phew! It’s Lesson 93! It’s one of the 50 or so lessons I wrote that I was fairly pleased with.
Third – confusion. Man, what are all these documents?! There’s like a handout and teachers notes, that’s standard, plus a few cut-ups. Then there’s a sort of jigsaw reading task, a running dictation, some more cut ups or something. Blimey. I went overboard for sure. A lot of this must be optional. I better read my own notes. (more…)
I picked up some interesting throw-outs from the British Council library here in Thailand. I’ve been flicking through Teaching Reading Skills in a Foreign Language by Christine Nuttall (1996) this week. It’s clear, well-organised and has lots of practical activities for teachers to help them understand the skills or strategies they are teaching learners. But there’s something else you can’t miss in the book, especially in Chapter 1 – the illustrations.
This is a great illustration of a passive reader (see paragraph below image). For some reason it seems to induce post-nasal drip whenever I see it… (more…)