MaWSIG blog

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Latest posts

Joining the MaWSIG Committee

Joining the MaWSIG Committee

In this series of three posts, we ask our new committee members to share their thoughts about why they chose to join the MaWSIG committee. The second post comes in the form of an interview with Heather Buchanan, Joint Events Coordinator (and soon-to-be MaWSIG...

Joining the MaWSIG Committee

Joining the MaWSIG Committee

In this series of three posts, we ask our new committee members to share their thoughts about why they chose to join the MaWSIG committee. The first post comes from Sandy Millin, Deputy Tech Coordinator. I've been a member of MaWSIG on and off since it first started...

MaWSIG PCE: 50 ways to avoid gap-fill fatigue

MaWSIG PCE: 50 ways to avoid gap-fill fatigue

The second session of the day was a practical presentation by John Hughes on why we write gap-fill exercises, how we can write them more effectively, and how we can make them more interesting. Here’s a brief summary of John’s presentation with links at the end to...

MaWSIG PCE: Strategies to survive overwhelm

MaWSIG PCE: Strategies to survive overwhelm

This is the third of our summaries from the IATEFL MaWSIG Pre-Conference Event, which was held online on Friday, 18 June 2021. In her talk, Rachael Roberts gave us some tips to avoid and deal with overwhelm – that feeling you can get when you’ve taken on too much....

MaWSIG PCE: Covert syllabuses

MaWSIG PCE: Covert syllabuses

On Friday, 18 June 2021, MaWSIG held its 2021 IATEFL Pre-Conference Event online. We were very happy to be able to offer a great line-up of presentations and networking events, and to welcome participants from around the world. The first session of the day was a...

Meet MaWSIG webinars: To be or not to be (tokenistic)

Meet MaWSIG webinars: To be or not to be (tokenistic)

In this post, MaWSIG Coordinator Aleksandra Popowski summarises the talk she gave at the first in the series of our Meet MaWSIG webinars. According to the Cambridge Learner’s Dictionary, tokenism refers to ‘actions that are the result of pretending to give advantage...

Meet MaWSIG: Behind the scenes – Events Coordinator

Meet MaWSIG: Behind the scenes – Events Coordinator

In our latest post in the Meet MaWSIG series, Katherine Bilsborough, one of the three Joint Events Coordinators, tells us how she came to join the SIG. Why did you take the plunge? I joined the MaWSIG committee as one of three Joint Events Coordinators in May, 2018....

Meet MaWSIG: Behind the scenes – Technology and Social Media

Meet MaWSIG: Behind the scenes – Technology and Social Media

In our latest post in the Meet MaWSIG series, Jen Dobson, the Technology and Social Media Coordinator of MaWSIG, tells how she came to join the SIG. It's an honour to be a volunteer as part of the MaWSIG team. From university days, I've always been active on...

Dealing with distractions

Dealing with distractions

In this guest post, Rachael Roberts looks at the reasons why it's so easy to get distracted, and offers some possible solutions. How easy do you find it to focus on your writing work? The answer to that question probably depends on two main factors: first, what...

Meet MaWSIG: Behind the scenes – Publications Coordinator

Meet MaWSIG: Behind the scenes – Publications Coordinator

As the newest member of the MaWSIG committee, I still feel I’m very much a newbie – and really enjoying it. I joined the committee in September last year, when James Styring stood down from the role of Publications Coordinator, and I joined Penny Hands and Nick Tims...

Meet MaWSIG: Behind the scenes – SIG Coordinator

Meet MaWSIG: Behind the scenes – SIG Coordinator

In our second post in the Meet MaWSIG series, Aleksandra Popovski, the coordinator of MaWSIG, tells how she came to join the SIG. When I first joined MaWSIG in 2016, it never occurred to me that I would one day be the Coordinator. I decided to join MaWSIG after...

Meet MaWSIG: Behind the scenes – Online Events

Meet MaWSIG: Behind the scenes – Online Events

This is the first post in a new series of blog posts, Meet MaWSIG, where members of our committee will introduce themselves and talk about their work and experiences on the committee. We start with Clare Maas, Joint Events Coordinator.   Our MaWSIG coordinator,...

Ideas for ‘Raising our Game’

Ideas for ‘Raising our Game’

In our second post of three reporting on sessions at the ELT Freelancers' Awayday conference held in Oxford in January, David Baker and Fiona MacKenzie share some insights from a survey they recently conducted. The theme of the conference was ‘Raising our Game’, and...

Reconnecting with your inner teacher

Reconnecting with your inner teacher

In this post, James Styring summarises a talk he gave at the ELT Freelancers’ Awayday, an annual conference for editors of ELT materials held in Oxford, UK, on 25 January 2020. The theme of the conference was ‘Raising your Game’, and in the first of three reports from...

MaWSIG in Malta: The Three Es of Materials Writing

MaWSIG in Malta: The Three Es of Materials Writing

In our third post from the Malta ELT conference in October 2019, Aleksandra Popovski discusses the purpose of ELT materials.     In my plenary at the 8th ELT Council Malta Conference, I talked about the purpose of ELT materials, i.e. the three Es of...

MaWSIG in Malta:  Where do you get your ideas from?

MaWSIG in Malta: Where do you get your ideas from?

In the first of our mini-series of blog posts from the 8th Malta ELT conference, Rachael Roberts explores where materials writers find inspiration. The Malta ELT conference was held over the weekend of 18–20 October 2019. The author Neil Gaiman once said: Doctors are...

Introducing the Malta MaWSIG mini-series

Introducing the Malta MaWSIG mini-series

Over the weekend of the 18–20 October, two members of the MaWSIG committee, Aleksandra Popovski and Jen Dobson, took part in the 8th ELT Malta conference, where both the Materials Writing SIG (MaWSIG) and the Inclusive Practices and Special Educational Needs SIG...

So many Englishes webinar: Q&A

In this blog post, Karen Spiller follows up on some of the questions that were left unanswered in the Q&A section at the end of the recent joint TESOL Association MWIS and MaWSIG webinar: So many Englishes! What does this mean for writers and publishers? The...

Writing in Japan

Writing in Japan

In the third and final blog in our mini-series of posts from ELT writers based in non-Anglophone countries, Marcos Benevides shares his perspective as an EFL teacher, writer and innovator based in Tokyo. As an economically developed nation that invests heavily in...

Writing in Portugal

Writing in Portugal

In the second of our mini-series of posts from ELT writers based in non-Anglophone countries, Vanessa Reis Esteves shares her perspective as an EFL coursebook writer based in Portugal. The Portuguese are generally thought to love football, ‘fado’ (a typical...

Writing in the Middle East

Writing in the Middle East

In the first of a series of posts from ELT writers based in non-Anglophone countries, Gary Pathare lifts the lid on writing for the most elusive of markets. What makes the region unique? The fact that this series of blog posts (about writing in specific regions)...

How to create interactive online tasks

How to create interactive online tasks

The last of our summaries from the MaWSIG Showcase at IATEFL in Liverpool 2019 comes from Jill Hadfield. In this post, Jill outlines the principles behind creating effective and motivating online tasks and proposes a six-step procedure for teachers to follow when...

Corpus and CLIL: a possible integration?

Corpus and CLIL: a possible integration?

Our posts this week all come from the Forum on Research informing materials writing at the MaWSIG Showcase at IATEFL in Liverpool 2019. In today’s post, Andréa Geroldo dos Santos shares her research findings about the extent to which corpora should be used in the...

IMAGINE

In our second post written by speakers at the MaWSIG Showcase at the annual IATEFL Conference on 4 April in Liverpool, Rob Howard encourages us to put dreams into practice by becoming successful independent authors. Using the old philosophical question of ‘If a tree...

Ali and the Long Journey to Australia

Ali and the Long Journey to Australia

To start our second week of blogs covering the MaWSIG-LitSIG joint Pre-Conference Event in Liverpool on 1 April 2019, we’re publishing a poster designed by Michelle Worgan. Michelle was the winner of a competition organised by MaWSIG and GISIG (the Global Issues SIG)....

Listening materials: training, not testing

Listening materials: training, not testing

In our first blog of 2019, Sheila Thorn addresses the challenges of writing ELT classroom materials to accompany authentic recordings. I have been writing classroom materials to accompany authentic recordings for most of my ELT career and I am delighted to share some...

The art of task construction

Following Brian Tomlinson’s recent blog post about principles in materials development, Fiona Aish and Jo Tomlinson (no relation), set out the principles that they follow in designing and creating a task. Of all the myriad things that we teachers do, one is that we...

The ‘What about …’ webinars Q&A: Brian Tomlinson

The ‘What about …’ webinars Q&A: Brian Tomlinson

In this post, Brian Tomlinson follows up on some of the questions that participants asked during his recent webinar, What about principles in materials development? You can watch a recording of the webinar here. The questions and answers are thought-provoking and...

Motivation and the freelance writer/editor

Motivation and the freelance writer/editor

In the third of a series of summer blogposts on the MaWSIG website, we have a post by writer and editor Tania Pattison about staying motivated. It’s almost 4 p.m., and I haven’t done any work yet today. I’m sitting at my computer trying to motivate myself to work on a...

Adventures in self-publishing

Adventures in self-publishing

In the first of a series of summer blogposts on the MaWSIG website, teachers Lucy Holmes and Sharlene Matharu describe how they identified and filled a gap in the market. Who are you? Sharlene: We’re both teachers at the Lake School of English in Oxford. I’ve worked...

Writing for learners with special educational needs

The MaWSIG PCE in Brighton features five talks on Writing for the World. Here, Romulo Neves introduces his talk on materials writing for learners with special educational needs. Writing for the ELT world is such a demanding task, especially if we take into account the...

Can resources meet all learner needs?

Can resources meet all learner needs?

The MaWSIG PCE, to be held on 9 April in Brighton, features five writers speaking on different aspects of Writing for the World. Here, Julie Day previews her talk on materials writing for ESOL classes. More information about the PCE is available here. The ideal of...

Living and writing in Spain

Living and writing in Spain

Our series on writing ELT materials for different markets around the world now takes us to Spain, where Amanda McLoughlin shares her experiences. I came to Spain almost 20 years ago as a recently qualified and very naïve EFL teacher and settled in the cold and rainy...

Making the most of distraction

Making the most of distraction

Our last post of the year is by Nick Beare, who discusses the use of distractor activities to help with problem-solving in writing. Most of us feel that getting distracted when we work is not a good thing. A quick search on Google throws up dozens of articles on the...

Pronunciation in coursebooks

In this blog post, Jonathan Marks explores the writing of materials designed to teach pronunciation. Coursebooks are a powerful influence on teachers’ professional awareness and practice – even, perhaps, for a lot of teachers, the most powerful agent of teacher...

And what about the research?

And what about the research?

Our latest blog post is by Penny Ur, who discusses the need for materials writers to pay attention to research on language learning. I’ve just read Katherine Bilsborough’s blog entry ‘ELT materials writing: More on emerging principles’. I really enjoyed it and learned...

Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes

Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes

In this blog post, Jill Florent details her extensive experience of the evolution of ELT publishing – from process to product and working relationships. Manuscripts, typewriters and paste-ups Since my publishing career began in the late 1970s, I’ve seen a lot of...

Designing undergraduate course materials collaboratively

Designing undergraduate course materials collaboratively

This is the latest of several previews of talks to be given at the upcoming ELTAM−MaWSIG conference in Skopje, Macedonia, on 30 September, 2017. Here, Mira Bekar introduces her talk. For more details about the event, click here. When I heard about the ELTAM−MaWSIG...

Designing teaching materials to confront modern-day slavery

Designing teaching materials to confront modern-day slavery

This is the next of several previews of talks to be given at the upcoming ELTAM−MaWSIG conference in Skopje, Macedonia, on 30 September, 2017. Here, Margarita Kosior and Despoina Sarantidou introduce their talk. For more details about the event, click here. According...

Shortcuts to effective materials writing

Shortcuts to effective materials writing

This is the first of several previews of talks to be given at the upcoming ELTAM−MaWSIG conference in Skopje, Macedonia, on 30 September, 2017. Here, MaWSIG Publications Coordinator James Styring talks to author John Hughes talks about his presentation. For more...

Optimising the author–editor relationship

Optimising the author–editor relationship

This week’s blog post is the second in our series of posts based on talks given at the MaWSIG PCE in Glasgow. Here, Penny Hands shares the results of her research into the relationship between authors and editors. The MaWSIG blog features guest posts by members –...

How to be a lean, mean writing machine

How to be a lean, mean writing machine

The 2017 MaWSIG Pre-Conference Event was held in Glasgow on 3 April. This post, by Daniel Barber, is the first write-up of several talks given in the PCE. Here, Dan talks about the process of writing and describes his experience of working with a coach to increase his...

Writing to promote gender equality

Writing to promote gender equality

This blog post is the first of two pieces on the topic of gender equality in materials writing. Here, Emily Hird discusses the need for awareness of gender issues in materials writing and gives some advice to writers. The MaWSIG blog features guest posts by members –...

Questions from the MaWSIG Meetup in Trier, Germany

Questions from the MaWSIG Meetup in Trier, Germany

Our latest blog post is a piece by Clare Maas, in which she describes the MaWSIG Meetup she hosted in Trier, Germany. The MaWSIG blog features guest posts by members – please get in touch if you would like to write for us. Please also contact us if you are interested...

How not to write … ‘really rotten materials’

How not to write … ‘really rotten materials’

This post is an abridged version of an article by Peter Viney. It first appeared in Modern English Teacher in July 2006 and was subsequently posted on Peter’s own website. It was a reply to an article in MET by Neil McBeath, ‘How to Write Really Rotten Materials’, in...

Meet the panelists

Meet the panelists

The online event on 18th February at 1600 GMT is a chance for you to ask a panel your materials development questions. You can add your questions here. Here are details of the four panelists: Vanessa Reis Esteves Vanessa Reis Esteves has been teaching EFL in Portugal...

The MaWSIG PCE, Glasgow, Monday 3rd April 2017

We're pleased to announce the speakers and sessions for our pre-conference event in Glasgow in April. You can register for the PCE and conference here: http://conference.iatefl.org/my_conference.html Nuts and bolts: practical considerations for the ELT materials...

The MaWSIG eBook 2016 is coming soon to all members!

The MaWSIG eBook 2016 is coming soon to all members!

Members will be receiving a copy of our annual eBook compendium in the next few weeks. It brings together 2016’s guest blogs from this website in one smart volume. So you know what to expect, here’s an extract from the foreword to the book by James Styring, our...

MaWSIG at BESIG on Storify

MaWSIG at BESIG on Storify

Whether you missed the MaWSIG strand at BESIG Munich conference, or you want to relive every moment once again, MaWSIG's events co-ordinator Rachel Daw has compiled every tweet here for you to enjoy:...

A massively different way of writing: making a MOOC

A massively different way of writing: making a MOOC

This post is by Genevieve White, who describes her experience writing a Massive Open Online Course, or MOOC, for the British Council. The MaWSIG blog features guest posts by members – please get in touch if you would like to write for us.  Since setting out as an ELT...

Writing for a regional market

Writing for a regional market

In this post, Canada-based writer Tania Pattison describes her experiences writing an EAP coursebook for a specific regional market. The MaWSIG blog features guest posts by members – please get in touch if you would like to write for us.   Three years ago I received...

The learners that publishers forgot

The learners that publishers forgot

This month Kathryn Aldridge-Morris outlines the specific language-learning needs of refugees and asylum seekers. The MaWSIG blog features guest posts by members – please get in touch if you would like to write for us.  Around June, online ESOL forums start buzzing...

New Journal

MaWSIG is planning to publish an annual peer-reviewed academic journal entitled ELT Materials Review. The journal will seek to publish fair, well-researched, pedagogically informed reviews of English Language Teaching materials and empirical or theoretical articles on...

Where to start writing ELT materials

Where to start writing ELT materials

In this post, Moundir Al Amrani, a writer from Morocco and OUP/MaWSIG scholarship winner, shares his thoughts about getting started in materials writing. The MaWSIG blog features guest posts by members – please get in touch if you would like to write for us.  As a...

An authoring tool wishlist

An authoring tool wishlist

This month’s post is by Phil Bird, who imagines the perfect authoring tool for digital content. The MaWSIG blog features guest posts by members – please get in touch if you would like to write for us. An authoring tool wishlist It takes a skilful writer to produce...

The voice of the teacher’s notes

The voice of the teacher’s notes

This month we're pleased to publish a second guest post from John Hughes, who looks at ways to help teachers to use your materials. The MaWSIG blog features guest posts by members – please get in touch if you would like to write for us. The voice of the teacher’s...

MaWSIG at BESIG, November 2016

MaWSIG at BESIG, November 2016

This year's BESIG Conference in Munich, Germany, will include a MaWSIG thread. Thank you for all the proposals we have received. The conference runs from Friday 4 November to Sunday 6 November and there will be a Materials Writing workshop or talk during every...