Behind the scenes at the IATEFL blog (Sandy Millin)

Now that the IATEFL blog has been running for a year, I thought it was high time to share a post about what happens behind the scenes.

Why does the blog exist?

The aim of the IATEFL blog is to showcase the diversity of our association, covering a range of topics which we think might interest our members. The IATEFL blog is designed to showcase the range of people involved in the association, and to help you find out more about what goes on behind the scenes. It is also our aim is to show the breadth of our profession – you will find information about associates in Africa and South America, teachers in Asia and Europe, SIGs covering business English, young learners and teenagers, global issues, and much more. Every post has links to something practical you might be able to use in your teaching and to further your knowledge of the TEFL profession.

How do we choose which posts are published?

The most important deciding factor is that everybody who writes on the IATEFL blog has to be a member of the association. If they’re eligible, then we work together to decide what might be particularly useful or interesting to our readers. After that, it’s first come, first served: as soon as a post is ready to be published, it goes into the next available slot. Posts are scheduled for every other Saturday, so the next post after this will be published on Saturday 11th November. The only exceptions are…

I’d like to write for the blog. How do I get involved?

Great! We’re always looking for new contributors and we’d love to hear from you. Just email blog (at) iatefl (dot) org. We’re looking for stories from our members, news about projects you’ve been involved in, and anything else you think those connected to English language teaching would be interested in reading.

We have a few guidelines to adhere to:

  • Posts should generally be no more than 1,000 words.
  • They should include a headshot and a short bio (see mine at the end of the post for an example).
  • Do not include images in the text. Instead, send the images separately, labelled e.g. Image 1, Image 2, Image 3. Indicate in the text where you would like them to be placed by writing [Image 1 here] [Image 2 here] in the correct place. If you would like captions for the images, include them in the text. Posts with images tend to be shared more, so if you have any relevant ones you’d like to include, please do, along with the source so that we can credit them appropriately.
  • Most importantly, each post should include an idea or link to a resource which readers can take away and use. Examples are the selected papers from the 41st FAAPI conference, or Julie Moore talking about HLT mag.

What if I don’t know what to write?

We are happy to help you come up with ideas for your post if you’re not entirely sure what to write about. You can also look at other posts on the blog for inspiration, or use some of the questions below to help you. They are designed to serve as prompts: there is no obligation to answer any of them, but they may help if you are suffering from writer’s block.

Individual members

  • Tell us a bit about you and your career.
  • What inspired you to join IATEFL initially?
  • (If you want to tell us!) How long have you been a member? How has the organisation changed over that time?
  • How would you summarise your experience of IATEFL in less than 100 words?
  • Are you a(n active) member of a SIG? What made you choose it? What do you get out of it?
  • Do you work with any other teaching associations or organisations? What makes IATEFL different?
  • Can you share one activity, tip or resource that you’ve learnt about thanks to IATEFL? Why did you choose it?
  • Do you have any interesting stories to tell related to IATEFL? For example, from an event you’ve attended, a person you’ve met, or an idea you’ve used in the classroom.
  • Why would you recommend joining IATEFL?

Associates

  • What should readers know about your country? Are there any stereotypes you want to break for us? 🙂
  • What is English teaching/training like for your members? Do you have a typical member? e.g. types of school/institution, class sizes, resources/support available
  • What are the biggest challenges for English teachers in your country?/What are the biggest/most common areas of discussion?
  • What kind of things does your organisation do? e.g. projects you are involved in, past and upcoming events, publishing resources, examples of ways you support members…
  • What have you got out of being a member of IATEFL (as an individual or as an organisation)?
  • Can you share one activity, tip or resource that you’ve learnt about thanks to being part of IATEFL? Why did you choose it? and/or Do you have an activity or resource connected to your country which readers could use?
  • Do you have any interesting stories to tell related to being a member of your organisation? For example, from an event you’ve attended, a person you’ve met, or an idea you’ve used in the classroom.
  • What plans does your organisation have for the future? Is there anything readers could get involved in?
  • How can people find out more? e.g. website, newsletter, social media, people to contact…

Special Interest Groups (SIGs)

  • How would you summarise your SIG in less than 100 words?
  • What kind of things does your SIG do? e.g. past and upcoming online and offline events, publishing resources, examples of PCE themes…
  • What made you choose this SIG? What have you got out of being a member?
  • Can you share one activity, tip or resource that you’ve learnt about thanks to your SIG? Why did you choose it?
  • Do you have any interesting stories to tell related to your SIG? For example, from a SIG event you’ve attended, a person you’ve met, or an idea you’ve used in the classroom.
  • Why would you recommend your SIG?
  • How can people find out more? e.g. website, newsletter, social media, people to contact…

Conference stories

  • Which conference are your writing about? It doesn’t have to be the main IATEFL conference – it could also be an Associate or SIG conference.
  • Why did you choose to go to the conference?
  • Can you summarise the main theme(s) in less than 200 words?
  • Did you present? If so, what about?
  • Do you have any interesting stories from the conference?
  • What ideas, resources or activities did you find most interesting or useful at the conference?
  • When is the next similar conference happening?

Scholarship winners

  • Which scholarship did you win?
  • Why did you decide to apply for it?
  • What were the requirements of the scholarship?
  • How did it help you?
  • What did you gain from winning a scholarship?
  • Can you share one resource or idea you picked up as a result of winning your scholarship, or tips for future scholarship applicants?

Behind the scenes at IATEFL

  • What does your job entail?/What does your committee do?
  • How did you get involved in IATEFL?
  • How has your role developed?
  • What are the upsides and downsides of your position?
  • How would you summarise your experience of IATEFL in less than 100 words?
  • What do you think blog readers would be particularly surprised to know about your position?

I have another idea…

Great! Please tell us about it. We’d love to know what you’d like to read about, and to hear your ideas for other categories we can include on the blog. The only restrictions are that you’re an IATEFL member, and that our readers would benefit from your post. Other than that, the floor is yours!

What happens next?

Once you have submitted your text, we will upload it to the blog and edit it to match the style of other posts in the same category. We’ll send you a link to a draft version of the post, including any questions we may have about the content, or letting you know if there’s anything missing. As soon as these areas have all been resolved, we line the post up to published, letting you know the date it will go live. As soon as it’s on the blog, we’ll let you know so that you can share it with anyone you think might be interested. It’s as easy as that! So what are you waiting for? Email blog (at) iatefl (dot) org to get involved.

Bio

Sandy Millin

Sandy Millin is a member of the IATEFL Membership and Marketing Committee (MMCom) and the curator of the IATEFL blog. When she’s not editing posts here, you can find her writing on her own blog, tweeting as @sandymillin, or writing ebooks. The rest of the time, she works as the Director of Studies at International House Bydgoszcz in Poland, and as a jobbing CELTA trainer in the summer.

Contribute to the blog

If you’re a member of IATEFL and would like to contribute to the blog, we’d love to hear from you at blog (at) iatefl (dot) org. We’re looking for stories from our members, news about projects you’ve been involved in, and anything else you think those connected to English language teaching would be interested in reading. We look forward to hearing from you! If you’re not a member, why not join us?

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