writing

Materials Writing: Samples

Question from a reader: Can you give me some advice on how to write a sample?

Ummm…

The free ‘No Nonsense Guide to Writing’ from ELT Writers Connected includes a good overview on this topic (see page 27, written by Damian Williams). That covers the basics tbh – it’s well worth a read.

 I’m not sure what more I can add really, apart from just what works / has worked for me.

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Why I work for free (sometimes)

I take on materials development work for free sometimes. I appreciate that not everyone has time to do that, can afford to, or might want to. I choose to do it for different reasons.

  • It might be for a good cause – I don’t get many requests like that, but it has happened in the past.
  • It might lead to paid writing work.
  • It might help my professional development.
  • It’s good for networking.
  • I don’t have any contracts on and just fancy keeping my hand in with something.

Here are some (TRUE!) examples of how offering my materials development services for free has been worthwhile:

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Materials Development Task 3: Images

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…

As a writer you might need to provide artwork briefs. These are descriptions of an image you’d like an editor to source or commission. Describing images in detail can be part of the writing process. Let’s practice.

Describe the image below in as much detail as you can. I’ll start you off:

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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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Materials writing and pub quizzes

Before lockdown I was an avid pub quizzer. It’s the perfect hobby for a materials writer because we accumulate tons of useless facts when researching articles. Here’s a list of some random topics I’ve written texts on in the last, pfff, 18 months maybe? I’ve discussed this with Clare Maas before – I’d love to see your updated list of writes, Clare!

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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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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.

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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