tefl

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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Reflection: Steps towards materials-light teaching

Me, Matt and Tiago chatted about lots of topics at the first Bangkok ELT Books n’ Beer session last night. Great fun!
The topic of materials-light teaching and dealing with emergent needs came up. Tiago is on a Celta to Delta journey at the moment and mentioned how he would like to try out techniques like Dogme ELT, although there are those fears…

What if I’m not skilled enough to elicit content from learners or prompt interaction?
What if I miss those triggers from the learners that should guide the lesson?
What if the whole thing just falls on its head?

Not Tiago’s words, just what I think we were getting at. We talked about how Dogme ELT must require so much teacher skill and experience, and that got me thinking:

How did I develop the confidence to do things like…

  • deal with having only a loose idea of where things might lead?
  • go with the flow?
  • let the learners lead?
  • enter class without books or handouts?!

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MA, PGCEi or Diploma?

Question from a reader:

I’m after some advice. I can’t decide which professional development course to do. I have a CELTA plus five years’ teaching experience and I’ve been thinking for a while about doing a DELTA or Dip. Then again, I’ve heard that for university jobs like teaching pre-sessional courses it’s good to have an MA. But recently I’ve heard people mention the PGCEi as a future-proofing qualification and I’m like… aargh! Which course should I do?

My comments:

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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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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.

One million visitors!

This blog is about to reach a milestone. By, I guess, Friday it will have had 1 million visitors.

Thanks to my awesome PLN for all your support, comments, and interest! When Martin Sketchley persuaded me to start blogging a while ago I never imagined that…

  • people would read it!
  • trainee teachers would find it useful! So many awesome comments from CELTA/Dip trainees. It means a lot, cheers.
  • blogging would lead to professional writing! Trust me – publishers do read ELT blogs.
  • I would enjoy blogging!

A few random blog facts/stats… (more…)

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…)

Review: Barry Reinvents Himself

Barry Reinvents Himself is a TEFL-lit novel by C.Cotterill (aka Twitter’s @ContinuouslyT).

After being kicked out of a minor prog-metal band, Birmingham-based Barry looks to shake his old image and bounce back. Lured by images of an old college mate living it up in SE Asia, Barry opts to take a CELTA, dragging fellow band reject Russel along for the ride. Shady schools, dodgy colleagues, frustrating students and a series of bad decisions follow. Barry dabbles in/with politics, spirituality and live listening lessons. Russel’s development as a teacher is stifled by long hours and habitual drinking. The pair have no idea where they’re going or what they’re doing. Will the duo’s bond remain intact? Will Barry find himself? Will either of them find love? (more…)

Review: Silly Shakespeare for Students

Silly Shakespeare for Students is a new series from Alphabet Publishing. It offers simplified versions of well-known Shakespeare plays, making them accessible and fun for English language learners. You can read the blurb from the publisher here.

A few key points about the resources…

  • Each play in the series has been cut to about an hour
  • They’re all done in rhyming couplets – short, sharp and engaging
  • They include lots of humour throughout, regardless of the original genre
  • Plays include stage directions, some production notes, plus an explanation of how the play has been adapted.

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Should I do a PGCEi?

I’m currently doing a PGCEi through the University of Nottingham. The course is specifically designed for international educators with a focus on improving professional practice. It is an 11-month course which is mostly distance learning, although there is a short face-to-face component.

The course seems popular with teachers who are working at ‘lower-tier’ international schools and who do not hold a teaching certificate from their country of origin. It also seems popular with EFL teachers hoping to transition to international school teaching. However, that’s just a snapshot – my cohort on the course is extremely varied and includes edtech business owners, state-school teachers in Thailand, educational materials writers, and unknown bloggers (*waves*).

Here’s a Q+A style chat I had with a friend on the pros and cons of taking this course. For context, we are based in Thailand, and I currently teach at an international school. (more…)