By now it’s been a long day and, truth be told, I’m getting tired! I did however manage to jot down a few things for each of the remaining talks, so for what they are worth (my notes, that is, clearly the talks are worth plenty!) here they are:
Tailor-making materials from an ESP author perspective – Evan Frendo
How are tailor-made materials in a corporate context different?
- Very specific. PARSNIPS aren’t an issue e.g. PIG in industry usage.
- Corporate culture – e.g. a training culture
- Needs – corporation needs as well as the individual.
- Learning centred not learner centred.
- Training rather than education.
It’s all about finding the gap – the training gap – between where they are now and where they need to be. Very specific, focused on aspects of the job that needs to be done. You can use corpora to do this (very specific texts and wordsmith tools).
- Vocabulary profilers don’t apply e.g. hose package is an “A1 word” if you work in the relevant trade.
- Record a phonecall, discuss with participant. What does it tell me? Need to analyse…
- Company insider definition of good presentation may differ from ours but is according to their context and needs. We need to learn what those are.
- Materials need to be based on evidence not intuition.
- Not “English for Engineers” – Engineers speak to other people too! Priorities and issues may not be obvious to whoever wrote English for Engineers.
- Check your insights with other stakeholders.
- Use experts to tell you what counts as “successful” communication. It can be wrong in one context but right in another i.e. if they get the contract, get the product delivered etc.
(Mis) Adventures in Self-Publishing – Christien Lee
What should I self-publish?
An important question. Big sales, not much competition, in your comfort zone.
Why should I self-publish?
Traditional publishers give more cachet and better production values, no upfront costs, you get a commission or an advance.
But…no guarantee that a traditional ELT publisher will accept it, especially for niche market books; takes a long time before publication. (Self-publishing is quicker.) Less money and delayed payment from publishers.
Benefits of self-publishing:
- Guaranteed publication
- short time to publication
- potential return of up to 70%.
- Regular and timely income
- No guarantee of making money
- Potential to lose time and money. Costs – e.g. paying freelance audio creators; setting up website; more work before publication (Editing, layout, formatting etc)
- More work after publication – marketing, social media etc.
How should I handle editing, book layout, audio and so on?
- Use crowdsourcing/freelancers
For audio there is for example Voice Bunny – post a project and people audition for it…
Where should I publish it?
- Print on demand with CreateSpace (Amazon)
- Book distribution service e.g. Draft2Digital or Smashwords
- Wayzgoose Press – a cross between self-publishing and ELT publishers; 40% on print and 50% on e-books.
- The Round – teacher development books
Ensuring quality content
For test preparation materials, match for length, genre, register, difficulty, complexity, topic/subject, testing point, distractor patterns
Tools to ensure material is at the right level:
- Cambridge Vocabulary Profile (Profile a text and then use that as a template)
- Academic Word List Highlighter
- Lexile Analyzer – gives you a lexile score which is a number e.g. 1200 for a reading text. Put in the text and it’s 1300, then you need to simplify it to make it closer.
Developing the online content
- Use a platform like WordPress with premium plugins e.g. shopping cart
- Paying for a custom-designed site
Interactive service – Articulate Storyline, like powerpoint on steroids, can be used online and include quizzes etc.
What a day! So much quality content, so much take away. And only my poor little brain to process it all, oh dear…! Thank you MaW SIG for a brilliant day. And to all presenters for their fantastic talks and best efforts to keep to time so that we actually stayed exactly on schedule all day – must be a first for any SIG?! 😉