The language of teacher’s books

Like many ELT writers, my first piece of published writing wasn’t for students but for teachers.  I began by writing for teacher journals such as English Teaching Professional and Modern English Teacher. Then I wrote a teacher’s book to go with a course called ‘Quick Work’ (Oxford). And later on I started the teacher resource series ‘ETpedia’ (Pavilion ELT).

When writing for teachers, you obviously don’t have to control the language in the way you do for students, but it’s often like writing a recipe book in which you want to grab the reader’s interest but at the same time you need to use clear instructional language. Here’s a list of phrases I once compiled that comes from a. range of teacher resources. The list in not provided as something to copy (though I’m sure you have used some of these expressions in your own resource writing) but more as an indication of what resource tend to include. If you think I’ve missed some key expressions or other areas of language that are important for writing teacher resources, then please comment and add them!

Introducing the lesson/activities/exercises
By the end of this lesson, students will be able to …
The topic of this lesson is …
In this lesson, students practise the language of …
The aim of this activity is to …
This is a good exercise for …
Students will need to …
At this level, students should already know …
This controlled practice activity allows students to …
It gives students the opportunity to …
The reading describes a real company which …

Sequencing
Firstly …, Secondly …, Then …, Next …
Before starting …
Lead into the lesson by …
Before listening, check that …
As/While students …
During the exercise …
Afterwards…/After 10 minutes …
Follow up by …
When the students have …

Instructions
Write (on the board) …
Discuss (with the whole class) …
Monitor …
Explain …
Tell/Ask students to …
Encourage students to …
Check that …
Drill …
Listen for …
Say …
Point to …
Direct students’ attention to …
Give feedback on …
Put students in pairs/groups.
Play/Pause/Stop the audio/video …
Suggest that …
Stop the activity after …
Students take turns to …
Refer students to (page 000).
Set a time limit …
Allow time for … at the end.

Describing classroom activity
Students discuss the questions in groups.
Students walk around the class introducing themselves and their partner.
In pairs, students swap their writing and write a reply.

Extra activities and extension practice
For further/extra practice …
To add fun …
If your students need further practice …
If you have time, ask students to …
You could also ask students to …
In addition, you might want to …
At the end, students could vote …
For homework, students could research …

Alternatives
There is more than one answer to this …
You could also suggest that …
If you don’t think this question is relevant to your learners, write the following alternative …
For students with no work experience, you can adapt this activity so that …
If some students finish early, ask them to …
Students could swap their writing and give peer feedback.
During the presentations, ask other students to fill in the feedback form.
Students may also find it helpful to …

Points to note
Note also that …
Make sure that …
Remind students that …
Be careful when asking students about …
If you have managers in the same class as their employees, avoid …
If students need extra help, …
When discussing this question, note that the content might be sensitive with some …
Students whose first language is … might have difficulty with …
Be prepared to play the listening more than twice.

Different classroom contexts
With one-to-one students you could …
If you are teaching pre-work students, ask them to imagine …
With a larger class, you could …
With students from different departments, use students who know about (marketing) to explain …
Ask pre-work students to research a company they are interested in.
With a monolingual class, you could ask them to translate …
If you have a mixed ability class, put the stronger students with …
If you think students from certain cultures might not feel comfortable with …

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