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.
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).
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.