Katherine Bilsborough

Creating ELT materials

Helping teachers make excellent classroom resources

Talking about writing

What I talk about when I talk about (ELT) writing

Last week I was going to write a writing about writing post. But then I found myself a bit busy talking about writing. So I thought I’d write about that instead.

The British Council invited me to do two Facebook Live events in one week, a mini-series, if you like. The first one was called Creating ELT materials: how to create the perfect materials for your learners. You can watch a recording [here]. The second one, a couple of days later was called Moving from teaching to writing ELT materials. You can watch a recording [here].

The great thing about a live event is that I get to connect with teachers in real time and they get to ask some questions. At first I thought that might be a bit scary. But then I reminded myself that I am a teacher and as such I am used to being asked questions. We shouldn’t feel we need to have all the answers. But it’s handy if we can suggest places where those asking can find the information they need. I think I managed OK.

My main five take-aways from doing these two events.

  • Context is everything

Doing stuff like this is a good idea. There really is nothing quite like connecting with teachers from all around the world. It gives me a big buzz and reminds me of why I do what I do. It also reminds me of the millions of different contexts that teachers are working in. Yes, millions.

  • Nerves are normal

I felt nervous beforehand, hyped up and excited during, and mentally exhausted afterwards. I realise this is the way I always feel before public speaking of any kind. I’ve stopped fighting the nerves because one thing I’ve learnt above anything else and that’s: teachers are really nice people and they’re always rooting for you.

  • Teachers want to write good materials

I learnt that I have plenty to say on the subject of materials-writing and, more importantly, I learnt that there are thousands of teachers who are interested in learning more about writing materials, for their own classes, to share with others or to sell so I have a raison d’être … and so does this blog.

  • Selling materials

Lots of teachers are anxious to sell their materials and they need help and advice about how and where to do this. Self-publishing is becoming easier and more common and there are lots of ways of doing things. This is a blog post for another day.

  • Questions need answers

Teachers ask really good questions but probably get frustrated if they don’t receive an answer. Although I had an opportunity to respond to some questions in the live events, others slipped under the radar. I haven’t forgotten them though.  I’ll go and find them and consider the best way of responding to them all.

A final thought

I partly wrote this post as an exercise in self-reflection. Unless you make time to sit down and think back over a ‘live’, a webinar or any other kind of presentation or training event, the important lessons you learn in the process aren’t as likely to stick.  Another thing I learnt as I was writing this blog post is that I need categorise my blog posts in a simpler way so that the blog is more user-friendly. I’ve added that to this week’s ‘to do’ list. I feel quite excited at the prospect of helping more and more teachers develop the skills they need to write excellent materials for their learners. I think I’ve found my ikigai.

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2 thoughts on “Talking about writing”

  1. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I’m so glad you started blogging, Kath. 🙂 I really enjoyed seeing your thoughts about materials writing, and you (and your blog) definitely have a raison d’etre!
    Sandy

  2. Thanks Sandy!
    What a lovely thing to say.
    Bloggers like you are a hard act to follow. But I really enjoy writing about writing. I don’t know why I didn’t start doing it years ago.
    Kath x

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