A Guest Post by Walton Burns
Walton Burns has taught English for 13 years, starting in the Peace Corps in Vanuautu. Since then, he’s worked around the world. His students have been Kazakh oil executives, Afghan high school students, and Chinese video game champions. As a writer, he was on the author team for Inside Writing, a genre-based writing course book for Oxford University Press. He currently writes ESL materials and blogs at englishadvantage.info.
I originally wrote this after getting back from Portland, as I watched it rain outside my window. Now a month after the TESOL 2014 convention, I’m revisiting it, and, of course, it’s raining again! At the convention, I met many new people, saw many new books, and got many new ideas for teaching. In short, I have a huge new to-do list!
So I’m putting up my to-read list of books and articles and blogs that I discovered at TESOL 2014. Fair warning: I dug pretty heavily into the materials writing side of things. I’d also like to note that this is a DREAM list. I may not actually have time to get to all of this or to read every single article in the edited volumes!
Materials Writing Stuff
Materials Development in Language Teaching, edited by Brian Tomlinson. I like this one because it seems to emphasize the process of materials writing.
Developing Materials for Language Teaching, by Brian Tomlinson. This appears to cover teaching theory and methodology as it applies to materials.
Self-Publishing Textbooks and Instructional Materials, by Franklin Silverman, was recommended by Eric Roth in his discussion session on self-publishing. Very comprehensive guide to all the steps to self-publishing.
English Language Teaching Materials: Theory and Practice, edited by Nigel Harwood. This volume includes articles on a pretty broad range of topics.
English Language Teaching Textbooks: Content, Consumption, Production, editedby Nigel Harwood, apparently has a really interesting study on how experienced and novice materials writers differ in their process.
The Non-Designer’s Design Book, by Robin Williams. I attended a nice workshop on visual design. I think the aesthetics of materials is a neglected area.
Complex Systems and Applied Linguistics, by Dianne Larsen-Freeman. The keynote address really inspired me. Language is very complex and sometimes in teaching we forget that as we try to scaffold and make concrete lesson plans and meet curriculum standards. I definitely want to look up some of her articles.
Systematic Plan for Vocabulary Teaching, by Kelly Marie Johnson, is an impressive and rigorous outline of a program informed by research for 4th and 5th graders.
Teacher Resources and References
Translation and Own-language Activities, by Philip Kerr. It makes me happy that this exists as more and more I believe the English-only movement to be misguided, and letting students use L1 in the classroom to be beneficial. A lot of great ways to do it here.
Go To Strategies, by Linda New Levine, Laura Lukens, and Betty Ansin Smallwood. A great, free, online collection of general, highly adaptable strategies and activities. I think being a teacher is all about collecting these and knowing when to apply them.
I hope you find this list useful. If you’ve read any of these, and/or have your own to-read titles from convention, please feel free to share with us in the comments section!
*Note: A version of this post first appeared on englishadvantage.info.