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Materials Writing news and views, October 2020

Just a few things this time. I’m out the loop at the moment, enjoying my teaching too much!

Facebook groups for writers

There are a lot of Facebook groups for ELT writers these days. If you would like to share a link to your group then please let me know (or do so yourself in the comments). I don’t know which groups are open to new members/restricted/etc.

ELTon results

Congrats to all ELTons winners, which you can find here.

ELT Footprint – probably the most odds-on victory since the awards started I’d imagine.

Taking nothing away from winners past/present with this comment: I think there are aspects of the ELTons nomination process that could be tightened – BC please get in touch if you’d like to hear my suggestions 🙂

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New teacher induction

I had to induct a new teacher at school once. They were fairly new to teaching and unfamiliar with our in-house product at the time (called myClass). I thought that listening to me ramble on for half an hour about how to approach the planning would be boring. So, I decided a one-page ‘try it like this’ would be better. And a tad less condescending*. Here was that one page.

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Research in brief: Alderfer ESL Program Assessment Tool

What might be optimal ESL provision in international schools?

Alderfer and Alderfer (2011) state that there is no unifying set of criteria to assess ESL programs in international school contexts. Their research sets out to provide one.

The authors outline four categories through which ESL programs can be assessed:

  • Program conditions
  • Student learning conditions
  • Teaching conditions
  • Home culture conditions
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PGCEi Module 2: Understanding Learning and Teaching in International Contexts

Module 2 of the PGCEi (though Nottingham) is in two parts.

Part A starts with framing unit. It introduces various theories of learning such as behaviourism, cognitive constructivism, and social constructivism. Unit 2 then delves deeper into learning theories/approaches with a social focus, exploring dialogic talk, oracy, scaffolding and contingent teaching, and the spiral curriculum. ZPD is only mentioned about 8 billion times during Unit 2.

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Free access to Twinkl

Just a quick one! Twinkl ESL are currently offering free access to users in South America in response to school closures. Miranda’s doing a great job at Twinkl and offering loads of awesome resources, many of which can be adapted for (or are even best suited to) online learning.

I found Twinkl really useful during online learning. I made various guided reading sequences on Seesaw using their resources and my learners responded well to these. I’ve since found other Twinkl resources useful for EAL classes with my Year 4 students (fronted adverbials for the win!).

Here are the access codes:

Colombia: educarjuntosCO

Mexico: educarjuntosMX

Peru: educarjuntosPE

Brazil: educarjuntosBR

Argentina: educarjuntosAR

For other locations just get in touch with Miranda via the Facebook group or via Twitter @Mirandacrowhur1

Hope you find it useful!

Here’s a recent post from Miranda at Twinkl on ELT Planning.

Teacher development and coursebooks

Prompted by a tweet from @michaelegriffin, here are some thoughts on how coursebooks/published materials/in-house resources can aid teacher development.

Michael asked this:

I shared some examples of how I provide development tips in published resources, such as these two from One Stop English: (more…)

PGCEi Module 1: Educational Aims and Values

I’ve written a bit about why you should do a PGCEi but not much about the course content. So, here it goes…

The first module of the PGCEi (Nottingham) was on the aims and values of education in international contexts. The module covered some fairly broad topics like ‘the purpose of education, the nature of knowledge, the concept of a curriculum’ and so on.

The module was assessed based on process work and an essay. After you’ve done all the reading and module tasks, you write a 1000-word piece of process work outlining your own educational beliefs and values. Then you complete a 4000-word assignment in which you critique a model of schooling based on those values. (more…)

Review: Rosenshine’s Principles in Action

Barak Rosenshine’s Principles of Instruction (POI) is a list of research-based strategies which teachers can apply in their practice. The list of 10 principles (whittled-down over time) could be considered ‘core skills’ for teachers. They’ll no doubt be familiar to CELTA/Dip grads, although Rosenshine’s POI itself might be new for you. Here are the principles (actually the longer list of 17, from Rosenshine 2010):


I’ve just read a book by @teacherhead (Tom Sherrington) on Rosenshine’s ‘Principles in Action’ (John Catt Publications). It’s a pretty good resource, the first half is Sherrington’s take on Rosenshine’s principles and how to apply them. The second part is the original pamphlet that outlines those principles. (more…)

15 ELT educators to follow on LinkedIn

If you’re fairly new to LinkedIn as a teacher/writer then here are a few suggestions for who to follow. Some of these people are on Twitter too, but I come across them more on LinkedIn as my feed isn’t as busy. Note: this is not a ‘Top 15…’ but it’s people I find insightful and I hope you will too!

I have not linked to any profiles without permission but these people should be easy enough to find through the search bar. If you are one of these people and you are happy for me to link to you just get in touch.

ELT professionals group
This is probably the biggest group on LinkedIn for ELT teachers. Is a good feed of useful posts set up (I think?) by David Deubelbeiss, who is also worth following.

Tasha Fletcher
Tasha has just started a new blog at handsonlearninginesl, sharing tips and lesson ideas for ESL teachers. She’s present on both Twitter and LinkedIn and is doing a good job promoting her resources so far.

Karl Millsom
Karl works for JLA TESOL in Indonesia. He prompts some good discussion with his #ThursdayThoughts and ‘controversial views’. He’s been sharing interviews with prominent ELTers on his YouTube channel. (more…)

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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