We are delighted to announce our line-up of expert authors, syllabus-creators, designers and editors for the 2020 pre-conference event at IATEFL in Manchester. We’ve organised a day packed with practical advice from experts in all areas of ELT materials writing. There really is something for everyone. 


Most materials writers, whether new or experienced, writing full-time or producing materials to supplement a coursebook, are continually developing skills and discovering new tools and innovative ways of working. But this is usually done in isolation with few, if any, opportunities for sharing what we know.

Imagine how useful it would be to get a bunch of us together with other colleagues from the field – editors, illustrators, designers and project managers – to talk about how we do things and to share the tricks and tools that help us do things better.  

MaWSIG’s 2020 PCE will do exactly that. Our line-up for the day offers a variety of practical sessions catering to all aspects of our work, from technical details to personal survival strategies.

Here are the abstracts for the seven sessions: 

Scope and sequence design: A top-down or grassroots approach?
Frances Amrani

How can we reflect the real world in our teaching materials in a prescriptive industry? This session explores two approaches to scope and sequence design:

  1. traditional top-down mapping to existing references and expectations
  2. grassroots exploitation of real-world material and linking to student needs.

Covert syllabuses: How to avoid them, how to include them
Jill Hadfield

Covert syllabuses – the unintentional messages that materials contain – usually have  negative associations. However, positive covert syllabuses can also be created within an overt language learning syllabus. We will look at both negative and positive covert syllabuses and consider some procedures for ensuring that negative syllabuses are eliminated and positive ones included.

Rejuvenate your manuscript submission toolkit
Helen Holwill & Jemma Hillyer

As an author, producing and submitting a solid, effectively presented manuscript is crucial to both your reputation and your efficiency. In this fast-moving and practical presentation, we will help you to hand over clear, complete, efficiently presented manuscripts. We will also help you to avoid unnecessary work!

50 ways to avoid gap-fill fatigue
John Hughes

A gap-fill is the first exercise a teacher ever learns to write. And as writers, we fill our materials with them. But why do we write them? Can we write them more effectively? And how do we avoid gap-fill fatigue? I’ll share some answers, plus 50 alternative ways to fill the gap.

Bring your ideas to life using mood boards
Colin Morton

A mood board is a quick and easy way to find inspiration, explore themes and organise ideas. In this session we’ll find out how to create one, helping you visualise your ideas for a project, spark new ones, or resolve a creative block.

Strategies to survive overwhelm
Rachael Roberts

Plenty of work is a nice problem to have, but not if you’re stressed out of your head. In this talk I will help you deal with stress by changing your mindset, and by giving practical tips that can help you to be more productive without sacrificing your personal life.

Starting with an image
Robert Campbell & Ben Goldstein

As materials writers, we often start with an idea and then try to find the right artwork or photo to enhance it. However, whether it’s an image to accompany an exercise or a high-impact visual, using the image as a starting point can take us in new, unexpected directions. Practical tips will be offered on how to do this.

Register here. Places are limited, so don’t miss out!