Volume XXIV Number 1 (2016) Preview

Hello everyone. Welcome to the first issue of Between the Keys for 2016. This time around, it really was a team effort and many of the officers and members were involved in the proofing, editing, and publication process. As always, if you have an idea for an article, please feel free to contact the MW SIG via our web-site and discuss your ideas with us.

The 2016 PanSIG in Okinawa is just around the corner and to kick off the festivities, we worked hard to get this issue out so we hope you enjoy it. In addition to the Coordinator’s Column and the Program Chair’s Column, we have two wonderful articles.

Our first article is a “teaser” from Marcos Benevides and previews his upcoming presentation at the PanSIG in Okinawa. In it he discusses an alternative to generalized grammar syllabi, one with which the instructor and students focus on a theme, and through that theme, encounter and address grammar forms. In this way, content is allowed to remain in a more natural state, allowing materials writers and instructors to avoide that frustrating feeling one gets when they realize they are de-authenticating some lovely content for the sake of addressing forms.

The second article, by Geoffry Hinton, is the first installment of his philosophical approach to materials writing for a neo-liberal arts program. In it, he describes how he takes ideas from classical philosophy in light of newer translations, puts these concepts into models, and adapts the models to meet the needs of his students and teaching. From these models he has developed materials that have generated a good deal of success for his classroom practice and, for us, demonstrates how a sound philosophical foundation can go a long way in the creation of materials.

In addition to the wonderful articles in this issue, we already have a few lined up for our next issue! We will also be starting a new regular interview column that will include interviews with some of the biggest names in the commercial and academic publishing industry here in Japan. Until then, happy materials writing!

Message from the Coordinator (May 2016)

Dear MW-SIG members,
I hope that everyone had a nice Golden Week and is ready to go for the next part of the semester. Although it is still in the planning stages, it looks like the MW Forum at JALT2016 will be an excellent event. I am happy to report that a lot of our members will be involved. Of course, there are plenty of opportunities for you to get involved in your SIG. Please feel free to contact me!

Yours in Service,
Adam Murray
(coordinator @ materialswriters.org)
Contents of this message:
1. PanSIG 2016
2. Links/Articles of Interest

1. PanSIG 2016
The conference is just around the corner! It will be held May 20-23, 2016 at Meio University in Okinawa. Here are some presentations that you won’t want to miss. First, the MW SIG sponsored speaker, Marcos Benevides will be giving a talk, “Text and Context: Innovating the Coursebook” Here’s the abstract:
Language learning courses have long been organized according to a grammar syllabus; that is, to a series of language forms meant to be taught sequentially from a text, often regardless of learners' specific contexts. Authentic meaning-making and the presentation of interesting content is of secondary importance, shoehorned in simply to illustrate a grammar point. Yet, despite the occasional flare-up of anti-textbook indignation, teachers overwhelmingly do choose traditional texts, and publishing companies are only too happy to oblige. Is there a way to escape the grammar syllabus textbook? Or is language teaching doomed to always be trapped between text and context?

In addition to Marcos’ talk, several of our members are also giving presentations. Here are their abstracts:
Ever Thought of Writing a Textbook? - Simon Capper
Ever thought of transforming those great ideas into materials that others can benefit from? This presentation follows the journey of an author/co-author of more than a dozen commercially published textbooks. The talk covers 10 stages of the book-birthing process, from conception to delivery, with suggestions, guidelines and warnings to help less experienced writers enhance their chances of success. These stages include: getting your foot in the door; finding your ‘gap’; establishing your principles; designing a scope and sequence; understanding your market; the best ways to fail; ensuring quality; the final push, and post-publication.

Enhancing Teacher-Created Language Learning Materials with Images - Cameron Romney
In this presentation, the presenter will offer suggestions and advice for adding images and other visual media to teacher-made language learning materials. He will begin by discussing the benefits for using visual media, the three main ways that images are used in language learning materials: instructive, supportive and decorative. Next, issues related to copyright, fair use, creative commons and suggestions for finding images on the Internet will be discussed. Finally, the presenter will showcase some examples of teacher-created language learning materials enhanced with images.

Designing Materials That Work - Barbara Hoskins Sakamoto
I've spent much of the past 25 years rewriting the same books. While I'm no expert on the subject of creating materials, I have learned a few things that I think make a difference in whether or not materials are successful. Whether you're evaluating or creating materials for your own learners, or working on the next big course book bestseller, I believe these guidelines can make a difference for you, too.

2. Links/Articles of Interest
From the IATEFL 2016 conference, here’s a link to John Hughes’ talk, “Visual Literacy in Creating Classroom Materials.” You can watch the video and download his PowerPoint slideshow.

Here is an excellent series of blog postings written by Lizzie Pinard documenting the IATEFL 2016 Materials Writing SIG PCE – Print VS. Digital; is it really a competition? Which was recently held in Birmingham, England.

静岡県・静岡コンベンションアーツセンター グランシップ
November 15 - 18, 2024 • Shizuoka Granship, Shizuoka, Japan