ESL

Materials Development Task 7: Tomlinson’s principles

This is a new series of blog posts for teachers looking to become materials writers. It aims to help future writers explore topics and issues in writing, encourage deeper insight into the content of published materials, and promote a principled approach to materials development.

Think

Rank these features of materials development in order of importance. There is no correct answer, it’s just your opinion!

  • challenge
  • personalization
  • affective engagement
  • raising learners’ confidence
  • enjoyment

Do you feel that published material should address all these features as standard? Why/Why not?

Do feel that each stage of a lesson should address some if not all these features? Why/Why not?

Tomlinson                                                                   

Some of Brian Tomlinson’s key principles of materials writing (2011).

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Materials Development Task 6: Purpose and redundancy

This is a new series of blog posts for teachers looking to become materials writers. It aims to help future writers explore topics and issues in writing, encourage deeper insight into the content of published materials, and promote a principled approach to materials development.

Think…

  • How much/often do you evaluate the materials you create?
  • Do you ever take a step back and consider ‘flow’ in your own resources?
  • Have you ever taught or created a resource that you felt (on reflection) included redundant stages?
  • How often do you think about the ‘why?’ and ‘what for…?’ of lesson staging?
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Materials Development Task 2: Deficiency vs difference

This is a new series of blog posts for teachers looking to become materials writers. It aims to help future writers explore topics and issues in writing, encourage deeper insight into the content of published materials, and promote a principled approach to materials development.

Think…

How often do you share the materials you create with other teachers?

How accessible are the materials you share with others?

  • Could another teacher just ‘pick up and go’ with the resources?
  • Do you provide any support for teachers – e.g. notes, or a quick ‘walkthrough’ chat?
  • What is your rationale behind offering such support? [note – I am asking a leading Q here so don’t look ahead AHHHH YOU DID!]

How do you feel if teachers adapt the ideas you share? Would you expect this? Does it offend you sometimes?!

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Materials Development Task 1: absence and presence

This is a new series of blog posts for teachers looking to become materials writers. It aims to help future writers explore topics and issues in writing, encourage deeper insight into the content of published materials, and promote a principled approach to materials development.

Think…

To what extent do you agree with these statements?

  • The coursebooks I use/know reflect the realities of my learners.
  • The coursebooks I use/know include topics that may be considered controversial.
  • The images and stories in the coursebooks I use/know include members of underrepresented groups.

Think of a clear example to support each of your responses.

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Wordwall assignments

Yes, another Wordwall post. No, I’m not on commission. It’s just a great tool.

I forgot to mention the ‘Set Assignments’ feature in my previous posts. It’s a really useful diagnostic tool.

  • Make your game. Click to share it and you’ll see the option to set assignment
  • Fill in the details, like deadline, etc.
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Reading tasks for homework

Hiya, hope online learning is going well.

Here are some random reading tasks I set for homework. Each student chooses one of these to do a week. These are in a big folder on my desk, but they’ll be adapted for online learning now probs. Still, you might find them useful. Ten for fiction, six for non-fiction.

Most of these are well-known, so not all my ideas or anything. Examples:

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Lesson idea: Apollo 11

I wrote this lesson last year for the anniversary of the first moon landing. Decided to post it now for a few reasons:

  • It might still be useful to someone.
  • It’s an interesting topic.
  • I found it quite a useful diagnostic – which students could work well on these independent tasks, who was able to use what they’d explored as supporting evidence for the task… That type of stuff.
  • I thought about this lesson recently. It was a pretty good example of my preferred teaching approach. How would I sum that up? I don’t know, although I can confidently say it’s not very CELTA.

Procedure

Cut up each task and stick them around the room. If you can’t be bothered and you have more tech available, have it as a doc to work through on Google Classroom (at links instead of QRs maybe).

Students work through the activities (devices needed), taking notes where relevant, building to the final task. It’s best to do the activities in order.

The final task involves writing a speech. You could change this – I only used that as it connected with some ‘YL Speaking Challenge’ at my school.

Here’s the doc. Fully editable – check for spelling mistakes:

Cheers, feedback welcome as always.

Image by WikiImages from Pixabay 

Research in brief: Critique of BICS and CALP

BICS and CALP in a nutshell

BICS and CALP was an idea first proposed by Prof Jim Cummins in the early 1980s. BICS stands for Basic Interpersonal Communication Skills, and CALP is Cognitive Academic Language Proficiency. Here’s what they are:

‘BICS refers to conversational fluency in a language while CALP refers to students’ ability to understand and express, in both oral and written modes, concepts and ideas that are relevant to success in school’ (Cummins 2008: 108).

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Review: Work It Out with Phrasal Verbs

Phrasal verb resource books you’ve used… GO!

Okay, so there was a good one on the bookshelf at LTC called ‘Illustrated Phrasal Verbs’. Me and Sketch used it so often that the student’s book fell apart (only one copy – a conference freebie), then we had to photocopy pages from the teacher’s book and tipex out the answers to make gap-fills. When I think back, the illustrations were sometimes ambiguous, and we were all too often test-teach-testing it. Not always the most effective.

Apart from that, well… There was ‘Test Your Phrasal Verbs’ (so so) and Phrasal Verbs in Use. Although more of a self-study resource, its concise explanations were great for teachers too. All controlled practice though, not a classroom resource really. Well, sparingly.

Here’s a welcome addition to my (admittedly limited) phrasal verb teaching toolkit – Work It Out with Phrasal Verbs, from Prosperity Education. It’s a neat teaching resource (aimed at B2-C1 level students) written by Billie Jago and Monica Ruda-Peachey.

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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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