Jayne Wildman has been involved in ELT for 30 years. She first started teaching children and teenagers in 1988. After teaching in Spain, Italy and the UK, Jayne spent several years in Oxford as an editor, before she began authoring her own books.
Her first book was published in 2002, and since then she has written successful courses for secondary students in countries all over the world. Her most recent publications include Oxford Discover Futures, GoGetter and Insight. Jayne is resident in Barcelona, Spain, with her husband and two children: Dexter and Conrad.
How did you start writing ELT materials?
I started getting a taste for writing ELT materials when I was in Spain in the 1980s, creating tailor-made activities for my classes. That said, I didn’t start writing ELT books until 2002. I lived in Paris at the time, and divided my time between teaching, and working on components such as Workbooks, Teacher’s Guides and Resource Packs. It was a useful introduction to the mechanics and complexity of coursebook writing.
What was the first thing that you ever had published?
A Teacher’s Resource Book for Spanish Bachillerato students. It was a slim collection of grammar and vocabulary activities, but it gave me the chance to write short texts about anything and everything: from sci-fi stories to sky diving, from disaster movies to detective dialogues!
When was the first time you thought of yourself as an ‘author’?
When I was 10 years old. I wrote a little book of stories and poems, which was edited by my grandfather. Sadly, it has never been published!
What’s your favourite part of the writing process?
The initial phase where you explore ideas for topics and texts and let your imagination roam. In ELT books the topics, grammar and vocabulary can be similar, so it’s great when you come up with an interesting or unusual angle on something.
What qualities / skills should an ELT writer have?
Creativity, curiosity, patience and tenacity. And never be afraid to revisit, revise and improve.
What advice would you give to aspiring ELT writers?
Just two things really:
- enjoy your writing. If you’re enthusiastic and interested, that will come through in the material you produce;
- always bring the same amount of commitment and creativity to your work, no matter what the project.
If you could have any other job, what would it be?
Film Critic. I like the idea of going to film festivals, and offering my opinion on the latest Oscar-winning blockbuster!