materials writing

Writing and full-time teaching

I wrote this in 2019. Just came across it again. My loose thoughts on a random post-writing, pre-COVID evening…

Balancing writing alongside teaching (and other) commitments isn’t always easy. I try to be realistic about the amount of time I can give to writing. My general rule is that I never take on writing projects which require over 20 hours a week – that’s when things start to get stressful. Having said that, sometimes you just can’t turn the work down, especially when it’s a gamechanger for your career.

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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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Free lessons on Onestopenglish

Onestopenglish is still free at the moment. This is a great opportunity to make the most of their awesome resources. There’s so much available on the site: lesson plans, articles related to methodology, resources created by the Onestopenglish community… they’ve also been teaming up with institutions like NILE recently to provide tips for teachers.

I’ve written a few resources for site over the past year which I hope you will find interesting and useful. Most of them are for the Everyday Life series. They’re print-and-go adult General English resources, complete with teacher notes and student worksheets. These are often task-led and typically suit 1 – 1.5 hour lessons.

Everyday Life Lesson Topics:

Exercise

Minor illnesses

Typical dishes

Fake news

Superstitions

Star signs

Getting to work

Describing your neighbourhood

Article /resource for the Online Education series:

Parents as Temporary Teachers

Lesson Share Winning Resource:

Instant Coffee, a Black Mirror inspired short story with resources (for approximately three hours of class time)

Feedback on any of these resources is most welcome! I hope they come in handy for your own lessons.

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…)

Materials writing news and views, August 2020

*Opens hands expressively* Hello everyone, and welcome to this month’s update.

*Does cup holding/triangle hand thingy in front near belly* My name’s Pete, and today …

Ahhh you’ll get what I’m going on about in a minute.

New releases

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Finding work as a writer

I haven’t shared any tips for new writers for a while, not since my post on how to find commissioning editors. So, here it goes.

There’s nothing wrong with building connections at big publishers like Pearson, Macmillan, CUP, OUP, NGL (Cengage, whatever). It’s good to aim high and you might well get lucky. However, there are loads of other companies/organisations you can write for in ELT. If you aren’t getting much luck with the bigger publishers then why not look elsewhere?

Here’s a list of possible avenues for you to explore. Note:

  • this is not a list of endorsements
  • this is not comprehensive, it’s just some ideas to get you started

If you’d like to add any more ideas for fellow newbie writers then please do so in the comments.

The Content Station

‘Your trusted educational publishing team…’. This lot are easy to find on LinkedIn and active enough. The couple of times they’ve contacted me has been for editing rather than writing so if that’s your bag then maybe drop them a line.

Yeehoo Corporation

They produce a magazine called Phoenix English. They are often looking for copy – mostly churning out graded texts. The mag looks okay so this could be a good portfolio builder.

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Materials writing news and views, July 2020

Last update before a nice break, woohoo!

New releases

Another one for Paul Ashe (with Jeremy Bowell) – Prospects.

I’ve seen Paul’s name around a bit recently. IH are running a course in online tutoring, he’s listed as a tutor on it.

Peter Fullagar/Jenny Dooley have a new book out through Express Publishing. Exam prep.

Silly Shakespeare for Students (Murray, Alphabet Publishing) has been getting some rave reviews. Walton Burns shared this on LinkedIn:

You can read my review of the series here. (more…)

Materials writing news and views, June 2020

Rushed off my feet. No time to put any news and views together in recent months. This one will be more views than news, and a bit loose.

So, what’s going on?

Work
I expected loads more cancelled projects due to COVID-19. There’s been talk of some, but it also seems like there are plenty of contracts around. My usual ‘bug all my connections on LinkedIn until someone caves in and offers me writing’ has reaped the usual rewards. Having said that, I’ve been too busy to take most things on. New teaching role (see here), lots to learn.

Change?

There’s understandably a lot of worry at the moment for writers. The question on everyone’s lips seems to be…

Will pay remain this low?

Yeah, probably. Experienced writers love to reminisce about when royalties and other perquisites came as standard. When publishers’ demands were reasonable, when writers really did retire to the Cayman Islands… We’re talking back when Babylon Zoo topped the charts with Spaceman. (more…)

Materials writing conversations #6: the packager

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: Thanks so much for this work. You’ve clearly put a lot of effort into it.

Me: But…

Editor: There are just a few amendments. The activity where we asked for a Cambridge PET style speaking task… actually, we meant KET. The client has decided that odd number lessons should be KET, not PET, so sorry for telling you that so late…

Me:

Editor: And there are the dialogues… Although they previously said that the dialogues could be 300 words, the client has now decided they should be 200 words.

Me:(more…)

Materials writing news and views, February 2020

I’ll hopefully keep this update going this year. Bit busy at the moment so here are a few very quick updates and some useful links.

New releases

Express Publishing are promoting a new book English for 21st Century Skills (Mavridi and Xerri), which comes out Spring 2020. Lots of different contributors, looks good. No link on site yet.

All levels of Language Hub (Macmillan) are out and promo in full swing by the look of things on social media.

Shout out to Jen Dobson, who has written the course ‘Getting Started with Early Childhood English Teaching’ on Language Fuel.

The new global product for teens from the British Council, Secondary Plus, will be rolled out here in Thailand in May. Project-based approach, academic/exam skills add-ons. Looks pretty polished for a first version. It’s already being used in Europe. I’ve had a sneaky peak. Thumbs up. Info here. Disclaimer – had a bit part to play in these, that’s it. (more…)