Materials Development

In addition to my many publications, I have written, edited and managed the creation of a wide range of English language, teacher development and general educational materials, in both print and digital form. Much of this work has taken place with the British Council and Cambridge University. Overviews of these projects and links to relevant materials are presented below.

Sub-Saharan Africa

Materials Editor Teaching English Africa website, British Council Worldwide

I managed and edited the work of three writers creating content for a major new website aimed at upgrading the knowledge and skills of teachers working across sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). The website, which is due for release in April 2021, has been specifically designed with the needs and digitial landscape of teachers in SSA in mind. The website contains a wide range of teaching tips to help teachers be as effective as possible in the classroom - e.g. making the classroom more creative, allowing thinking time and ways to recycle vocabulary. It also includes step-by-step guides to activities such as jigsaw reading, musical dictation and word tennis. Support is also provided for teaching high-frequency grammar and pronunciation items effectively (and inductively). A separate section for teacher educators focuses on teaching teachers, adopting inclusive practices and supporting teachers remotely. 

Thailand

Academic Consultant: The Inclusion, Mobility and Multilingual Education Conference

As academic consultant at the Inclusion, Mobility and Multilingual Education Conference in Bangkok (organised by partners including UNESCO, the British Council and SIL International), one of my main roles was to prepare a pre-conference booklet which provided key academic information for delegates ahead of the conference. This booklet, which provides a useful summary and overview of the three key strands, can be accessed here. Following the conference, I was also the editor and main writer of the post-conference proceedings, an interactive, digital-first document which can be accessed here

MENA / Worldwide

Materials Writer: 'Language for Resilience' Teacher Trainer and Manager Courses

As the next step of their Language for Resilience initiatives, I was commissioned to write development materials for both teacher trainers and institutional managers. The overall purpose of these modules was to support professionals working in marginalised and post-conflict societies, primarily with refugees, and upskill them more effectively for the challenges of working in these environments.

 

The first module area is focused on how to make the classrooms a safe space for learners. The module explores a range of common practices which contribute to learners not feeling safe in their learning environment, and looks at how teachers can change these practices so that all learners feel included in the learning process. The second module area looks at the different ways that progress can be measured in an educational context. The module explores how the term is currently understood, and how it can be understood in different ‘non-academic’ terms. It also develops the participants’ understanding of key ideas such as ‘distance travelled’ and ‘self-assessment’, and provides them with the opportunity to apply this knowledge with their own learners in their own classrooms and schools.

Bangladesh, India and Nepal

Team Leader, EDGE extension phase materials development, British Council India

The British Council’s English and Digital for Girls’ Education (EDGE) programme involves the development of skills in peer-led after-school clubs for adolescent girls in India, Bangladesh and Nepal. The programme runs across three phases of input and activity, with outcomes focused on:

  • Confidence and skills in English

  • Digital skills and confidence

  • 21st-century skills and awareness of social issues

  • leadership and facilitation skills to run peer-led clubs

 

As team leader of the third 'extension' phrase of the programme, my role was to lead a team of Indian writers (and write content myself) totalling 120 hours of integrated English, digital and socially-aware A2 materials.

India / United Kingdom

Writer, British Council '70 Words' Project

As part of the 70th anniversary celebrations of the British Council in India in 2018, I was commissioned to create 'The 70 Words Project'. The aim of this project was to bring to light how India and its languages have influenced and inspired the English language over the years by presenting 70 words of Indian origin that have found their way into the mainstream English lexicon. Spanning across a wide range of categories from food (e.g. curry, kedgeree mulligatawny) to clothing (e.g. pyjamas, cummerbund, bandana) to spirituality (nirvana, yoga, avatar) and much more, the words highlight the relationship between the UK and India over the past seven decades. As well as looking at major languages such as Hindi, Urdu and Bengali, the project looked at less well-known ones including Marathi, Maldivian and Tibetan. All 70 entries (plus a few bonus words) can be found here. As part of the project, I also completed this resource pack for teachers.

Sudan

Materials writer and editor: British Council Sudan

I edited, standardise and create materials for a series of new government-authorised English language textbooks in Sudan.

India

Lead Materials Writer and Editor: Andhra Pradesh HE English Communication Skills

I wrote a large-scale B1 blended-learning programme which aims to improve the English language, employability and digital skills of higher education students in the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh. I produced the 100-hour B1 course for the Andhra Pradesh Higher Education English Communication Skills Project, and supported/edited the A1 and A2 writers. I also helped to develop the curriculum and assessment materials.

Turkey

Materials Writer: Communicative English for Syrian Refugees in Turkey (British Council)

I created intermediate / upper intermediate level materials for a major speaking skills programme for Syrian refugees in Turkey with the British Council. My role in this programme was to create high-quality and visually engaging learning materials that met the users’ complex range of needs. Syrian refugees themselves were responsible for delivering the material, so detailed (but straightforward) teachers’ notes were also required. Given the users’ personal histories, the brief also called for sensitivity and creating materials which were directly relevant to the lives of the users.

United Kingdom

Writer: English at Your Fingertips & CUTE (Cambridge University)

I was the main writer on two major online English language projects with the University of Cambridge Language Centre (URL). One course, English at your Fingertips, was a self-access, online EAP course which supported B1/B2 students to develop the language and skills necessary for academic work. The other was "Chinese University Teacher Training in English" (CUTE), as well as its follow-up programme CUTE2. These projects were part of the eChina-UK initiative, a suite of general online English language learning materials for specific use by Chinese English teachers.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

©2019 by Chris Sowton