elt

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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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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EAL presentation tasks

I’ve been teaching an intensive English course this term. It works out (online) at about 8 hours per week, would have been a lot more had we not been back in lockdown. Seven students, Japanese, between 12 and 14 years old. All were supposed to be ‘low level’ (like, A2 or below I guess), although I’m sure you’re aware of the nature of these things. Once they got a bit of speaking and listening confidence, well, there’s far more language there than they’d realised.

To be honest, it’s been an absolute pleasure so far. There was a public holiday last week, and by lunchtime I was missing them! I just haven’t had students like this for a while. Awesome.

Every week, I set them a presentation task. I thought it would be quite challenging for them at first, but they seem to love it.

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Timesaver: Conversation starters

Here’s a quick fix warmer while you’re waiting for all students to arrive in your online class.

I googled ‘conversation starters’ the other day and found this list of questions 225 starter questions on gifts.com. I pasted these questions into the random spinner on Wordwall (yes, Wordwall again) and… that’s it. Nothing special, but just a way to prompt a bit of a chat if needed. Here are 6 different question spinners, as I said all questions originally from the gifts.com site (I took out some less useful ones). These are all teen-friendly.

Link here
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Timesaver: Quickfire questions

Online learning again… Five weeks in. Need to keep things lively.

Starting the lesson with these quickfire questions for my A2 level students. Nothing special, but livens things up while we are waiting for everyone to arrive.

Here are the links, don’t know why I called them random challenges, was just lacking inspiration.

link here

Second one…

Link here.

and third one…

Link here.

These are embedding as games as I link them but probs just end up links 😦 soz.