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Materials writing conversations #5: the recording

This is a completely imaginary conversation. No characters in the convo are based on real people – I’m just bored and imagining conversations I might have with editors…

Editor: We need to get all the listening texts finalised by early next week, as we’ll be in the studio on Wednesday and Thursday.

Me: Okay. Two full days in the studio. Sounds busy. I guess there’s a lot to record.

Editor: Yeah. It’s always a rigmarole booking studio time, making sure everything is ready and all that. Luckily, the two voice actors we used for the previous levels were both available again, so that saves some hassle.

Me: Wait. The same two voice actors? (more…)

Materials writing news and views, September 2019

September already? It’ll soon be Xmas…

New releases

Deborah Hobbs (author) mentioned the release of ‘Open World’ (CUP). This is from the Cambridge English website:

Open World is an exciting new course from Cambridge which takes you further. Embark on a journey beyond the traditional boundaries between exam preparation and real-world language.

The book looks a bit Life-y based on that front cover.

Paul Ashe announced the release of New Hello! for the market in Egypt. If you’re interested about the context that this book will be used in then here’s a summary of ELT in Egypt from the British Council.

There are inspection copies out for C21 from Garnet Education. If I manage to get a copy I’ll review it. There’s an uber-positive review on their site about it, which was published in the EL Gazette.

Every publisher seems to be marketing books as developing ‘21st Century Skills’ these days. I’ve just googled a list of core ‘21st Century Skills’… eeek. I’m a crap leader, fairly unproductive, sometimes inflexible and not that creative. Send me the book Garnet, I can learn from it…

Emily Bryson has just written ’50 Ways to Teach Life Skills’ for Wayzgoose Press.

MaWSIG webinar(s)

Don’t forget this IATEFL MaWSIG webinar on Friday. I’ll be at work but hopefully I’ll get it on catch-up…

There’s another talk on 11th October with the authors of Raise Up, which I’ve mentioned before. Link to MaWSIG upcoming events here.

Good reads

‘A five-minute history of script writing in ELT materials’ – a post from 2016 by John Hughes.

Book review: Activities for task-based learning (the two Neils) – review by Allison Lewis.

The Quizlet Quest – a good example of how to introduce a new tech tool to learners, from Katherine Martinkevich. Publishers should include stuff like this to orientate learners to their digital resources.

I’ve been dipping in and out of ‘Creativity and Innovations in ELT Materials Development’ (edited by Dat Bao, 2018). Most of the book is available on Google Books as a preview, NICE!

I know, I’m always harping on about Tomlinson. But…

What I really like about the guy is, as you’ll see in his chapter on ‘making typical coursebook activities more beneficial for the learner’, he never shirks giving clear, practical examples. Here’s some basic suggestions for how to tweak closed questions to make them more challenging and personalized:

Every time I read Tomlinson’s words I feel like I’m reading a real practitioner’s words. I don’t always agree, but I really value his voice in the industry.

Freeed

There’s a new online community at Freeed for ELT teachers. Freeed is a platform for sharing resources, collaborating, and discussing ELT-related topics. It’s just taking off. You need a login. There’s a giveaway on the platform this month of Sandy Millin’s ELT Playbook.

Jobs

The jobspots on ELT Publishing Professionals are getting more frequent. There is an excellent role available RIGHT NOW if you’re looking for your first materials writing gig. It’s with Wall Street English, and it will be live for another 2 days, so sign up and apply!!!

Other than that, standard stuff. Integra always seem to be after people. York Press Freelancers have just put a call out for a content editor. See Facebook group for details. I haven’t had many alerts from the big publishers this month about things like Development Editor roles.

This month I’ve mostly been…

  • celebrating! The coursebook will be out late October, and my other work is going really well.
  • worrying! There’s an editorial change on a project I’m working on. Will the new editor hate me?!
  • joking around! Here’s one of my imaginary materials writing conversations, which some of you have been positive about.
  • reviewing… new materials for an in-house product. I cannot believe it – I’ve not come across one pun in the materials yet. Rubbish.

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

The next course of TASK-BASED LANGUAGE TEACHING (TBLT): FROM THEORY TO PRACTICE from SLB Co-op is starting on November 8th. There’s an early bird price for now.

Game review: Play for the Planet (ELi Publishing)

Here’s another resource from the giant box I was sent from ELi publishing. I saved reviewing this one until I actually had a good reason to try it out. My teens are studying the natural world / the environment at the moment, so it’s perfect timing…

Play for the Planet is a ‘culture and CLIL’-focused board game. The language goal for the resource is to review and practice environment related vocabulary.

(more…)

IELTS: identifying attitudes and opinions

Another ‘making things up as I go along’. This time in my IELTS Teens class.

Topic: Environment and the natural world

Context: We’d just done some vocabulary review / building activities. We’d also dipped into the book for some listening practice – a few activities on ‘identifying attitudes/opinions’. So, we had tonnes of new vocab, plus loads of phrases in a table like this…

Cue Teacher Pete’s random fluency practice, with the aim(s) of developing students’ ability to…

  • think on their feet
  • see things from different perspectives (whether they agree or not!)
  • justify opinions
  • wake up a bit after coursebook activities

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Review: A-Z of ESOL (Emily Bryson)

This short review first appeared in IATEFL Voices magazine last month. Sharing here for general interest. This is a good resource: 4 stars from me.

A-Z of ESOL is a useful set of classroom-ready resources for TESOL contexts. Activities in the book are primarily aimed at equipping learners with the language (and life) skills they need to function communicatively in an English-speaking country. There are 26 activities in total, one for each letter of the alphabet (A = A school report, B = Building repairs, C = Covering letters, etc).

Activities in ‘A-Z…’ are based around social practices (related to education, employment, health, community, and so on), and expose learners to the functional language required in such real-life situations. The author states in a brief introduction that the resources follow a task-based approach. This is true in part. However, a weaker task-supported approach is used in some activities for lower-level learners (A1-A2), with more language input or structures introduced prior to students attempting the task. (more…)

Spoken Grammar: a Guide for English Language Teachers

I got offered free access to this course on Udemy. I’ve been meaning to do it for a while. Finally got around to it and… wow! It’s very impressive.

Course overview

Spoken Grammar is a teacher training course. It provides teachers with techniques and materials for teaching conversational grammar – typically to learners at intermediate level or above. There are about three hours of lectures on the course which highlight a wide range of spoken grammar, and give an insight into how these features could be taught in the classroom.

There are 6 sections on the course:

Section 1 Introduction.
Section 2 Word order and ellipsis: heads and tails; declarative questions; ellipsis.
Section 3 Emphasis: hyperbole; interjections; cleft structure and binominals.
Section 4 Vague language: vague categories; vague placeholders; lexical bundles.
Section 5 Marking spoken discourse: adverbials; discourse markers; using direct speech.
Section 6 Response language: tokens and questions; so and do; synonymous language; dependent clauses.

(more…)

Materials writing news and views, July 2019

Sorry, been busy!

Here’s some latest news with a Pearson-heavy start!

 

Pearson to phase out print textbooks

The big news announced yesterday (BBC article here).

In the pipeline…

Pearson are working on the higher levels (Int+) of Startup. Promo vid:

Expect some puns in the Level 8 book. They’ve signed off on my decision to name a librarian ‘Paige Turner’.

(more…)