Sister and brother teachers, welcome to English Revolution!
This "Open Source English" website is your chance to change the way you teach, learn or use English. English Revolution! is a pioneering social media project that will give English teachers around the world access to free, high quality language resources - and allow them to capitalise on material produced collaboratively by themselves and others.
English Revolution! is not a company or a commercial activity. It is a platform for professional English language teachers to collectively create and share teaching materials they produce themselves under the Creative Commons (CC) Attribution-ShareAlike licence. (Click here to find out more about Creative Commons.)
By contributing to the materials on this site you will be helping to create a set of "professional", highly-usable language resources that will give full credit to the authors and demonstrate to the world your ability to develop outstanding material. Over time, the resources on this site will mature and grow into a unique body of work that any teacher can use in her or his lessons without worrying about infringing copyright, paying to use the material or just feeling bad because you know shouldn't really be using someone else's work.
All the content on this site is "free" in that it doesn't cost anything to download it and anyone can use it: but it belongs to its authors. However, as a contributor, you agree to allow other people to use, adapt and also make money from your work by incorporating it into their lessons. Publishers and commercial organisations are also able to benefit from the work on this site - but they are not allowed to claim ownership or sell it to other people "as is" (i.e. the rights belong to the authors but if an academic publisher, for example, decided to use or adapt some of the material in a course book they would be free to do so as long as they attribute the authors and English Revolution! as the source).
The model for English Revolution! is the Open Source Movement of computer programming languages (and the wider Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) movement). Some people are confused by the term "free" in this context, but basically it means "free to use". No-one can homestead or hijack material that is free - but it is still technically the property of its creators (i.e. it's not "in the public domain"; there are some limits as to what people can - and can't - do with it).
Why would you want to produce material other people can use to make money from? Isn't that just stupid? Well, no, actually. And here's why:
Most English teachers already produce material, either professionally as ELT authors or as part of their preparation for classes. However, the number of people who make a good living from writing material for ELT publishers is tiny. (Perhaps, after writing a really cool phrasal verbs exercise, you have wondered if you could be the next Raymond Murphy, author of the epically-bestselling "English Grammar in Use". Sadly, Mr Murphy is an exception: most ELT writers can make something from their work (a fraction of course of what the publishers make), but if you attend a convention of ELT authors there won't be many Ferraris or Porsches outside in the car-park).
|The Leveller Manifesto|
(from the first English Revolution).
By John Lilburne, William Walwyn,
Thomas Prince, Richard Overton.
[Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
But there is an alternative, my friends: English Revolution!
All the material on this site will be written and developed by people who have a vested interest in using high-quality materials: professional English teachers and their students. If you help to produce material here, you will be credited. People will know what you have done. You won't be hiding your light under a bushel (or on a badly-photocopied page where your "(c) John Smith 2007" line has been carefully tipp-exed out). You will be able to use English Revolution! as a reference point for what you have achieved: you can link to it, cite it and generally point your existing and future students towards it (as well as publishers, employers or anyone else you want to show what you can do). Instead of "burying" the material on a website with little traffic (the typical EFL freelancer site, for example) or locking it up behind an unattractive and forbidding pay-wall which will probably only yield minimal returns anyway, you will be able to say loud and proud "I worked on this brilliant resource on English Revolution!" and point to the sections, revisions or extension activities, etc that you contributed.
|The Linux Penguin|
by Larry Ewing. AlexPlank
at en.wikipedia [Attribution],
from Wikimedia Commons
The material on English Revolution! will be mainly of interest to people who already teach English for a living. As with OS code, a student is quite welcome to download and use the material to teach themselves - but as we know, eventually someone who is serious about learning English (especially if it's for their job) will contact a teacher. When a teacher visits this site they will initially see it as an Aladdin's cave, an unlocked treasure trove to be picked over and plundered - all for free! And without even the catch of getting some free goodies but being required to take out a premium subscription for the really cool stuff. No: everything on English Revolution! is there for the taking: freeloading teachers of the world, please note - you have nothing to lose but your subscriptions and recurring monthly payments! But the more that teachers come back to the site - and the more they use the material in their own classes - they will gradually realise that they can charge higher fees for lessons and boost their professional careers if they actually help to make the material itself better. This might just mean going online and adding some exercises for a particular business sector or industry (e.g. insurance or animal husbandry); or it could be a group of teachers operating in a particular country who realise that by localising some reading or writing material, they can all benefit from using this content by making it more relevant to their students' particular needs.
|Oliver Cromwell (1599 - 1658)|
Teaching English: "It's a professional career."
From Wikimedia Commons.
Take some of the knowledge, creativity, energy and enthusiasm that you already bring to your English classes and students - and bring it here: upload, rewrite, check, correct, adapt, and extend language material that you and other teachers can use to make money (but which would have little commercial value otherwise - and which few publishers would consider). Suggest an additional activity for a reading comprehension or speaking class that another teacher has posted. Find other professionals who are working in your sector and network with them. Check out opportunities for creating bespoke courses and making contact with teachers you have already collaborated with online by developing unique resources and materials.
Join the Revolution! Change the world of ELT materials for ever! Enjoy the fruit of your labours (and pick someone else's strawberries without feeling guilty!).
Our time has come. This is ENGLISH REVOLUTION! Be part of it!
Milan, July 2012
CC BY-SAunder a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.