35 Reasons To Write TEFL articles

By Alex Case

1. For most people, writing things down is the best way of reflecting on their teaching and their beliefs.

2. It can also make you reflect on your experiences as a language learner, improving your own language learning and helping you think about how you can share that experience with your students.

3. Having written articles looks great on your CV because it shows that you can reflect on your teaching and that you are keen. This is true even if they are published somewhere obscure like your own school’s newsletter.

4. It’s fairly easy to get published, even in well-known magazines like English Teaching Professional and Modern English Teacher.

5. Writing will help you improve your own knowledge of English such as awareness of your own common spelling mistakes, especially (but not only) if your piece will be edited.

6. Writing will also boost your knowledge of the process of writing. This will help when talking about writing in English with your students, especially for academic writing and exam classes.

7. Trying to explain your own ideas in comparatively few words will help develop your ability to give clear classroom explanations, especially if you are a teacher trainer or want to get into that area.

8. You will often come up with new ideas for your own classes or teacher training sessions as you are writing.

9. Writing things down will help you find weaknesses in your ideas before you use them in class or share them with other teachers in a workshop.

10. Writing TEFL articles will make writing essays for academic qualifications like TEFL diplomas and MAs easier.

11. If you have taught something once or spent an hour or two researching something that is already more than most people, so every teacher has at least some knowledge worth sharing.

12. There are always people who are new to teaching and/ or reading about teaching who won’t have seen any of your ideas before, even if you borrowed most or all of those ideas from elsewhere.

13. Your favourite ideas from other people are also useful to write about (as long as you credit those people, of course).

14. People want short articles with practical ideas, and they are easiest to write.

15. Ditto with lists like this one.

16. Even people who already write blog posts on TEFL matters find that the different format and process of writing articles stretch them more. Articles are also easier to list on your CV and look more impressive there.

17. It’s the best way into ELT publishing and the best way of making sure you have the right experience should an opportunity to get into ELT publishing arise.

18. There’s a small but very real chance that important people will notice your article.

19. Articles don’t have to be about teaching. You could also write about finding a job, choosing a course, living abroad, tips for students, or how the industry should change.

20. You can also write tips for students, e.g. FCE exam tips or self-study tips, and these articles can then be given to your students to reinforce what you tell them in class.

21. If you think people should be teaching differently, writing articles about the right way to do it is one of the best ways of helping make that happen.

22. It’s a good way of polishing up the content of a workshop or presentation, and of making the ideas in your teaching training sessions accessible to people who couldn’t attend and for much longer.

23. It will also be something for you to refer back to if you want to give a similar workshop again (much) later.

24. Writing thing down is a good way of making sure you can remember your own best ideas and ideas you have found elsewhere when you have to teach the same thing again. This is true even if you only get to the notes stage with some of your article ideas.

25. It’s a good way of publicising your workshop, presentation, blog, website, school, TEFL course etc, as many sites and magazines let you include a biog with a link at the end of your article.

26. It may help put you in touch with people with similar ideas, especially useful if you feel like you are the only person who thinks that way!

27. Feedback you get on your writing, e.g. from an editor or in the comments section online, can help you polish up your ideas, introduce you to other ideas, and help you come up with new ones.

28. Writing gives you motivation to read up about something, e.g. looking for the best grammar explanation in several books before teaching.

29. It can also motivate you to read the publications or websites you want to get published by more.

30. Planning to write something can motivate you to try new things.

31. It’s a good way of polishing up your ideas before you suggest a change in how things are done in your school, plus the fact that your ideas have been published might make them look more impressive.

32. Most publications don’t have a particular house style, and most of those that do will be happy to help you adjust your writing to match it.

33. Most articles don’t need any references, let alone lots.

34. It’s very difficult to be certain about anything when talking about learning and teaching languages, so there is no need to be sure about your ideas before you publish them – just be honest about your level of certainty.

35. Most publications are actively looking for first-time writers.

Written by Alex Case for TEFL.net February 2012
Alex Case is the author of TEFLtastic.

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