ELT author, teacher trainer & series editor

John Hughes is an award-winning ELT author. With over 50 titles, he has been an author on course series including ‘Life’ and ‘World English’ (National Geographic Learning’ and ‘Business Result’ (Oxford University Press). He also originated the teacher’s resource series ‘ETpedia’ (Pavilion ELT) and is now the series editor. He has trained teachers from all over the world and has lectured on materials writing and critical thinking at Oxford University. He still teaches and pilots his materials in Oxford and online.

Why did you decide to include your sessions in the programme of the academy?

The first of my two sessions on the Authors Academy course is a general introduction to the key principles of materials writing. Throughout my writing career, I have often come across basic principles which I’d wished someone had told me from the beginning. So in this session, I present the principles which any writer should apply to their materials. By dealing with these points, it frees up more time for thinking creatively. The second session looks at how most materials include exercises which are useful for lower order thinking but they lack challenge and don’t make use of higher order thinking; I suggest some writing techniques to achieve this.

What advice would you give to aspiring authors?

My first question to any aspiring author is do you already write on a regular basis for your own lessons and do you enjoy doing it? When I started teaching, I had a course book but I really wanted to create my own materials. I’d stay up late or write at weekends to make materials for my lessons. I did it because I enjoyed writing. Even if I didn’t make a living from it now, I’d still be writing for my students. If that doesn’t describe you, then maybe materials writing isn’t for you.