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Rachael Roberts

Over twenty years ago now I set off on a plane for Cairo to take my CELTA (not that it was called that then) in preparation for a year abroad, teaching English. I quickly discovered how much I enjoyed it and a year in Portugal turned into two years, followed by two years in Brazil. A brief pause back in the UK to do my Masters in ELT and then four years in Poland before I finally came back to the UK.

Over this time I have taught young learners and adults, EAP, General English and ESOL and become a teacher trainer and materials writer. I have been lucky enough to write or co-write a number of coursebooks: IELTS Foundation, Premium B1 level, the new edition of Total English Intermediate and most recently, Real Life Advanced.

Now happily settled in the UK, with a young family, I don’t travel anywhere near as much as I used to, but increasingly find the internet a fantastic way to keep in touch with teachers around the world, on twitter @teflerinha https://twitter.com/#!/teflerinha  and giving webinars for Macmillan and Pearson.

I am excited to be starting a new blog on a subject very close to my heart..creating ELT and ESOL materials.

Close to my heart partly because these days I spend most of my time writing materials for publication. I love it and, obviously, I hope as many people as possible will enjoy using my materials too.

However, as a teacher and teacher trainer, I also know that people often want to create their own materials. The idea behind this blog is to share some tips and ideas for making materials which really work well, and which don’t take your entire weekend to put together!

I haven’t written a blog before, but think it’s going to be fun. Hope you enjoy it too.

22 Responses to About

  1. Hi Rachel, I have just discovered your blog and I really like the posts.
    Did you ever teach in Buenos Aires ? Your name seems familiar. I was in IH san Isidro with Celia Walker. Did you work there ?

    I look forward to reading more of your posts.

    irene Cros

    • Hi Irene,
      Glad you like the blog, thank you.
      I wasn’t in Argentina, though I did go there for a few days with colleagues from the Cultura Inglesa in Brazil. Also worked for IH later on in Poland and London. So maybe our paths have crossed. Recognise you from LinkedI
      n groups as well.

  2. Hi Again,
    I must have seen your name for IH London.

  3. sharon noseley

    It seems to me, you are soooo giving and this sounds like a great blog.
    Good luck and thanks for spending time helping those of us who work so many hours in the classroom with little time for ideas/adaptation of materials….you are invaluable!

  4. I like your blog and it inspires me so much to teach more when i read articles done straight from the heart.. I hope I can learn so much from you. More power to you..

  5. Hello Rachael,

    Thanks so much for the wonderful and wonderfully helpful posts over the last year.

    It is so nice to get a present like that nearly every week.
    I am so glad I stumbled across your blog during my twitter travels.
    I am grateful for that but also especially grateful for the chance to get to know you.

    Some random things:

    Someday I will manage to mention a new post of yours on twitter before you do (challenge)

    I think I will have to remember not to read your posts on my phone so as not to miss out on the lovely pictures that you use.
    (I always read the first time from my notifications)

    I just now realized that you used to work for IH London.
    (I am guessing that the timing might match up and you’d know Beth N. ..who is someone I really respect.)

    I loved your webinar and thought you shared some very interesting ideas. I am not quite ready to be a champion of textbooks but perhaps I will be less dogmatic (dogmetic?).

    OK, thanks again for everything and best of luck with everything in the new year.


    • Thanks so much, Mike. Your support and that of others has made a huge difference in motivating me to continue with the blog. I can’t believe now it is still less than a year old.
      I have also learnt so much from your blog and comments.
      Blogging on hold this week as I am still under the weather with a nasty virus (two weeks and counting), but in my first post back I really want to say more about some of the things I’ve learnt from you and other great PLNers.

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  7. Hi Rachael,
    lovely blog post and it has been very useful for a CELTA assignment. Just thought it worth a mention that it’s quite hard to find your name on the blog – I wanted to reference you and it was only once I got to the comments section here that I found it!
    Thanks again – Merryn

  8. I was just looking through your blog (I commented on another post here I believe) and came to this section and I realized why you quoted so much from IELTS foundation. I’m an IELTS teacher in Singapore and I’ve used that book to teach. But of course I don’t really remember the names of the authors. So now I know you’re one of the co-authors! Haha!

    I’ve been looking for blogs that touch on IELTS to improve my teaching so I’m glad to know you’re an author of an IELTS text and I hope you write more on this area! Cheers!

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  10. Verity Spice

    Hi Rachel

    I would just like to say thank you so much for the training you delivered (and I attended) at the Tuesday Teacher’s Club at St Giles. I not only enjoyed the session a lot, but also went away with lots of ideas to try! It was also wonderful to get some reassurance that the techniques I’ve been using (collaborative and creative) are ‘valid’ and backed up by research.

    Thanks again


  11. Laurence

    Hi again Rachael, could you answer these 4 student questions for me as it is not clear in the teacher material-
    for the IELTS speaking part 2 the examiner gives the candidate a booklet with a topic to discuss. I assume the candidate has no choice of topics?
    The session is video or audio recorded?
    Will there be a penalty if the candidate does not understand the examiner’s questions or the written task? Can they ask for clarification as often as they like?
    Thanks again.

    • Hi Laurence,

      No, the candidate doesn’t have a choice, the topics are assigned randomly.
      In the centre where I worked the session was audio recorded. I don’t know if other centres may use videos.
      There isn’t a penalty as such, but it may form part of the overall assessment of level if they can’t understand the question.
      The examiner can repeat a question, but in parts 1 and 2 they may not reword it- they have to follow the rubric exactly as written. If in part 1 it’s obvious the student doesn’t understand after repetition, the examiner will move onto a different question.

  12. Laurence

    Hi Rachael, firstly may I wish you Seasons Greetings and a successful 2015.
    Secondly, could you point me in the right direction for a clear and concise method to teach skimming and scanning. I don’t find anything in your own site but thought you may know somewhere.
    This will be to enable my Academic and General Training students to better understand the reading tasks.

    Many thanks,

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