IATEFL 2017 - Day Two: How to Write for IATEFL Voices

posted in: Uncategorized | 0

I was in two minds this morning – do I make it in early enough to get the best seat in the house for Sara Mercer’s plenary OR get up early to attend Alison Schwetlick’s (Editor of IATEFL Voices Magazine) session ‘How to Write for IATEFL Voices and other English teaching magazines.’? I chose the latter and am soooo glad I did.  It proved highly informative and encouraging to budding writers who are keen to get published (and I still got a great seat for the plenary….double win!!)

Just to give you a note of encouragement to begin with, Alison told us that 95% of the submissions she receives are published!!  She makes a great effort with writers, supporting them and offering feedback and ideas to improve the article because VOICES is ‘by members for members’ and she strongly believes in sharing as many diverse contexts from writers as possible.  If that doesn’t get you writing, what will??  Here’s some of my notes from the session:

What to Write About:

  • Meaningful and interesting topic
  • Current and relevant content
  • A new twist on a proven method
  • Base is on a presentation, workshop or blog
  • From another field – i.e, psychology, management

Who to Write For:

Here are some of the publications that are always on the lookout for fresh and innovative ideas from around the world.  (Despite doing my best to find a seat with a ‘non-back-of-the-head’ view of the screen, there’s always one that sneaks in to add a little extra depth to my photos) 🙂










How to Write it?

  • Embed your idea with your context (write about your school, share your situation with your readers)
  • Link it to ideas and work of others (it will hold more weight and encourage readers to continue reading elsewhere on the subject….)
  • Provide practical, real-life application (so that your readers can do the same)
  • Create a bridge to a wider general context (don’t forget your readers may well have extremely diverse contexts and so make it relevant to a general audience.)
  • Work with the editor – get information on deadlines, guidelines etc and follow them.
  • Edit and proofread carefully and ask a colleague to read it and give you feedback before submitting anything.



Alison handed out this submission to us and asked us to ‘make it shorter’.  We had to task of reading it through an editor’s eyes (or a reader’s) and striping it back, omitting the uneccessary to make it more reader-friendly.























After we all paired up with our recently acquired editors’ hats and discussed what we felt was overdone, repetitive or long-winded, Alison provided us with this solution below.


 Rules of Thumb:


A fantastic session with lots of practical tips to come away with….I may now be in competition with all the other delegates in the room to get published and Alison no doubt will have many articles coming her way after that inspiring talk.

Leave a Reply