Writer Training Courses

We offer face-to-face writer training courses that can be tailored to meet the specific aims of your organisation or writing team. The modules described below are some of the most commonly requested. We deliver the courses with John Hughes, and call on our other module writers to provide any additional expertise required for bespoke training packages. You can see how these might fit together into a two-day training course here. Please contact us for further details.

An introduction to writing ELT materials

In this workshop, we introduce the key skills you will need in order to write effective ELT materials. The session includes practical input from a published ELT writer-trainer and plenty of opportunity for discussion, questions and reflection on the materials you already use and create in your own teaching. The techniques presented in this session can be applied to writing materials for your own lessons, for other teachers, or with a view to publishing your own ELT materials. The key aims of the session are:

  • How to write materials at the right level and grade your exercises.
  • Writing a series of tasks and exercises that flow into a complete lesson.
  • Producing materials for both specific and general contexts.

Length of workshop: 90 minutes

How to write teacher’s notes for ELT materials

If you write classroom materials which will be used by other teachers in their lessons, then you will need to provide teacher’s notes. Like a published teacher’s book which accompanies a student’s book, teacher’s notes need to include the basic essentials of answer keys and audio or video scripts. In addition, teacher’s notes should help to navigate the user through the classroom materials with additional ideas and resources. This workshop will consider how to write:

  • Instructions to teachers on using the materials in different classroom contexts (e.g. large groups, one-to-one, monolingual groups, etc.)
  • Teaching tips and ideas for additional classroom activities to supplement the materials
  • Supplementary resources for teachers, such as photocopiable activities.   

Length of workshop: 90 minutes

How to source and adapt authentic texts

There are many advantages to using authentic texts in class – the more real the material, the more motivated the learners are. Authentic texts show language as it is really used and prepare students for the real world. In this workshop, we consider how teachers might set about selecting suitable authentic texts for learners. We then suggest ways of adapting the texts so that they are accessible and useful as language input, but without losing any of the freshness and appeal of the original. This workshop will consider:

  • Criteria for choosing an authentic text.
  • How to identify difficult or unsuitable content and how to deal with it.
  • How to increase exposure to high-frequency vocabulary and why it’s important to do so.

Length of workshop: 90 minutes

How to write reading activities

Following on from the session on sourcing and adapting texts, we will demonstrate practice activities that direct the learners’ attention to features of the text that they are likely to find in any text. The workshop will cover a range of activity types, but our main focus will be on activities that have a dual purpose of getting students to notice language features in the text, and then double up as Comprehension tasks. This workshop will consider how to write activities that:

  • Highlight and practise high frequency items, strong collocations and other set phrases.
  • Focus on grammatical and cohesive features.
  • Get a personal response from the learners to the material.

Length of workshop: 90 minutes

How to write critical thinking activities

Critical thinking is an essential 21st century skill that prepares us to deal with the information overload that characterises the times we live in. However the critical thinking label is often wrongly attributed to any activity that asks students to voice an opinion or have a discussion. This workshop will consider:

  • The difference between general comprehension activities and critical thinking activities
  • A possible framework for writing critical thinking activities

Length of workshop: 45 minutes

How to write audio scripts with listening activities

Many audio scripts are written and recorded to use with classroom materials, and self-study components including workbooks and online materials. ELT writers need to produce scripts which develop listening skills and model new language such as functional expressions or features of pronunciation.  This workshop will look at ways of approaching the development of audio scripts with a particular focus on written dialogues and the activity types that accompany them. In particular, participants will consider:

  • How to write dialogue which is at the correct level and includes features of real speech
  • Factors affecting script writing with specific focus on the recording process
  • Writing listening exercises to accompany recorded dialogues

Length of workshop: 90 minutes

How to write for exam preparation

Sessions on reading and listening activities include some exam-type activities, but teachers who are preparing students for exams may benefit from a session focusing specifically on writing exam preparation activities. The content can be targeted to address students’ specific needs based on the exams you are preparing them for. The session will include general advice on how to write exam tasks and the accompanying texts and listening scripts, as well as time-saving tips to help make the writing process smoother. In this workshop we will focus on how to write:

  • Cloze activities
  • Multiple choice for listening and reading
  • Multiple matching
  • Writing tasks
  • Speaking tasks

Length of workshop: 90 minutes to 2 hours, depending on the number of exam tasks covered.

How to write writing activities

Often, teachers set writing tasks for homework. In this workshop we’ll focus on creating writing activities which are engaging and interactive enough to do in class. We’ll discuss difference approaches to writing (Process, Product and Genre) and demonstrate activities to develop different aspects of the writing skill. In this workshop, we’ll consider how to write tasks that focus on:

  • Content/audience/purpose
  • Layout
  • Paragraph organisation
  • Register
  • Syntax and grammar
  • Vocabulary
  • Spelling and punctuation
  • Discrete skills such as gap-fill, ordering etc.

Length of workshop: 90 minutes

How to understand copyright laws

Using authentic texts and third party photos in your materials has clear pedagogic benefits, but the related permissions issues can be a minefield. This workshop will look at how to adapt authentic texts to avoid the permissions issue entirely. Where this isn’t possible – or desirable – guidelines will be offered on how to identify the rights you need and contact the copyright holder. This workshop will consider:

  • When you need to request permission and when you don’t
  • What Creative Commons is and how to use it
  • A list of recommended sources that currently give permission to use their copyrighted material

Length of workshop: 90 minutes

How to develop a writing and publishing action plan

If you are part of a writing team, you will need to work together to create and agree on a writing brief and an action plan for the steps following the training sessions. This workshop takes a look at the writing and editing process and asks you to consider issues that you may not have had to consider before, but which are all essential stages of the materials-writing process. This workshop will consider:

  • The writing schedule
  • Giving and receiving feedback
  • Creating a writing template and a style sheet

Length of workshop: 90 minutes