Writing teacher resource materials

JH picture

In preparation for the MaWSIG strand of talks at the next BESIG conference (click here for full details and registration), we’ve invited each of the speakers to give us a preview of their session. These previews will be appearing here until the Conference. John Hughes is speaking at the BESIG Munich conference on Saturday 5 November at 10.45.

The official title of my workshop at BESIG is ‘Writing Business English Teacher Resource Materials’. While I will be referring to Business English materials in the session, much of what we will look at is true for writing any kind of resources for teachers.

Writing materials for teachers, unlike writing for students, is a skill area that is overlooked. And yet many materials writers first get published by writing articles and resources for teaching magazines such as English Teaching Professional. In addition, publishers are often looking for writers of teacher’s books and extra online resources to accompany mainstream courses.

In my session I’ll be setting participants some workshop activities to explore this area of writing. In particular, I will look at the type of language and expressions used by writers of teacher resources, and I’ll provide a handout of this language. If you are unable to attend the workshop then here is the list I compiled. The lists in not provided as something to copy (though I’m sure you have used some of these expressions in your own resource writing) but more as an indication of what resource tend to include. If you think I’ve missed some key expressions or other areas of language that are important for writing teacher resources, then please comment and add them!

Introducing the lesson/activities/exercises
By the end of this lesson, students will be able to …
The topic of this lesson is …
In this lesson, students practise the language of …
The aim of this activity is to …
This is a good exercise for …
Students will need to …
At this level, students should already know …
This controlled practice activity allows students to …
It gives students the opportunity to …
The reading describes a real company which …

Sequencing
Firstly …, Secondly …, Then …, Next …
Before starting …
Lead into the lesson by …
Before listening, check that …
As/While students …
During the exercise …
Afterwards…/After 10 minutes …
Follow up by …
When the students have …

Instructions
Write (on the board) …
Discuss (with the whole class) …
Monitor …
Explain …
Tell/Ask students to …
Encourage students to …
Check that …
Drill …
Listen for …
Say …
Point to …
Direct students’ attention to …
Give feedback on …
Put students in pairs/groups.
Play/Pause/Stop the audio/video …
Suggest that …
Stop the activity after …
Students take turns to …
Refer students to (page 000).
Set a time limit …
Allow time for … at the end.

Describing classroom activity
Students discuss the questions in groups.
Students walk around the class introducing themselves and their partner.
In pairs, students swap their writing and write a reply.

Extra activities and extension practice
For further/extra practice …
To add fun …
If your students need further practice …
If you have time, ask students to …
You could also ask students to …
In addition, you might want to …
At the end, students could vote …
For homework, students could research …

Alternatives
There is more than one answer to this …
You could also suggest that …
If you don’t think this question is relevant to your learners, write the following alternative …
For students with no work experience, you can adapt this activity so that …
If some students finish early, ask them to …
Students could swap their writing and give peer feedback.
During the presentations, ask other students to fill in the feedback form.
Students may also find it helpful to …

Points to note
Note also that …
Make sure that …
Remind students that …
Be careful when asking students about …
If you have managers in the same class as their employees, avoid …
If students need extra help, …
When discussing this question, note that the content might be sensitive with some …
Students whose first language is … might have difficulty with …
Be prepared to play the listening more than twice.

Different classroom contexts
With one-to-one students you could …
If you are teaching pre-work students, ask them to imagine …
With a larger class, you could …
With students from different departments, use students who know about (marketing) to explain …
Ask pre-work students to research a company they are interested in.
With a monolingual class, you could ask them to translate …
If you have a mixed ability class, put the stronger students with …
If you think students from certain cultures might not feel comfortable with …

John Hughes is a coursebook and teacher’s book author. He is a series author on Business Result (Oxford) and Life (National Geographic Learning). He is also the series editor for the ETpedia teacher resource books (www.myetpedia.com). His blog is www.elteachertrainer.com. Read his other MaWSIG blog post on the topic of teacher resource writing at http://mawsig.iatefl.org/mawsig-blog-guest-post-the-voice-of-the-teachers-notes/

 

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3 responses to Writing teacher resource materials

  1. Ellen Dubois 14 December 2016 at 11:01 am #

    Thanks John for listing the phraseology and sequencing used in writing teacher resources. Standard phraseology is so important for editors and publishers as well as for clarity. I write a blog for teacher materials and plan to look back over previously published blogs to see if they couldn’t use some of your ‘clarity’. Keep posting! We’re reading.

  2. Ellen Dubois 14 December 2016 at 11:26 am #

    Sorry I missed your presentation at the BeSIG conference in November. Anyway to find a video of it on Youtub?

  3. John Hughes 14 December 2016 at 4:32 pm #

    Hi Ellen. Thanks for your positive feedback. I’m afraid it wasn’t recorded at BESIG so I can’t help. However, I have book coming out next year on Materials Writing with more on this area plus other topics so I’ll let you know!
    Thanks again.

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