Think Tank Submission Rules & Guidelines

We want interesting, engaging articles that will move our readers.  We hope they will tell their friends about them.  So, although we expect your ideas to be supported by science, we do not want academic papers or dry explanations.  This is your chance to fly!

Carefully read through the information on this page before you work on a submission for us. 

Submission Rules

1) All incoming pieces will be vetted by the anonymous Submissions Review Board, whose address is: [email protected]

2) All articles must fit two out of three of these requirements:

a) written to be read, so not overly academic or dense 

b) contains some information from brain sciences

c) connected to language teaching

3) Articles should be 700-2000 words long. Most are 1500, but we are also starting to include very short articles on one key topic each (under 700 words) in a multi-author combination article. Please watch the intro video first for the issue you plan to write for (or help us find a video if we don’t have one yet). Only up to 15 traditional references are allowed, but we prefer that references are included as hyperlinks in relevant words in the text wherever possible.

Hyperlinks can be linked to an online document, or to an online outlet where the document can be obtained. Only citations for which no hyperlink is available should be listed in the “Reference” section at the end. The reference list should follow APA 7 style.  Major claims & quotes should be cited/linked.  

4) Articles must be written in the template file, and submitted with headshot photo of the author, and a 50-word or less bio starting with the author’s name.  These paragraph styles should be set (TT Body Text, TT References). To do so, select the text, open the MS Word Styles menu and choose the style, such as “TT Body Text.”

5) Text copied from the Internet is likely to have a different (white) background than the tan one in the template.  Fix this by selecting the off-colored text and hitting Control + Space (on a Mac).

6) We encourage you to include photos, but they must be copyright free. 

The Editing Process

1) We will send the file back to you with numerous changes and comments. You have final say on the changes other than outright errors or those that fit our standards, such as Oxford commas.  Before you send the file back to the editors, accept/reject all the corrections and attend to the comments so that there are no comment boxes left.

2) Keep the same file title we sent you, but update the timestamp (for example: 11.24 for November 24) If returning revisions on the same day, and the time stamp is the same, please add a lowercase b~z to the end of the time stamp (for example: 11.24b or 11.24c). 

3) Mail exchanges with revisions should be sent to all the editors. This address will do so: [email protected]. Don’t forget to “reply all” in subsequent conversations with the editors.

Writing Guidelines

How to Write Memorable Articles

As the criteria show, we want something that is related to teaching, includes some brain science, and is interesting.  The last is the key point.  Our submission team is instructed to reject articles that look like journal papers or literature reviews, but at the same time, they will be hesitant to accept uninformed musings.

So how do you make your article interesting?  Avoid mere explaining.  As story reviewer Friedman tells us, what makes that one uncle you meet at Christmas so boring is that all his stories are about himself.  Make the story about you, not me.  Writing out a lecture on a topic, showing what you know, is about me.  Starting with a problem all teachers face, and providing information as a way to solve it, is about you

Other ways to make the article about you is to include stories, or narratives, about students, teachers, or yourself.  The magic of a good story is that anyone can relate to it in some way.  After all, as E.E. Wilson, wrote, stories are manuals on how to live life. And nothing makes a notion more understandable than a concrete example.

We are also fans of Malcolm Gladwell, so we like some of his techniques, such as taking readers down a logical road that he later points out is totally wrong, or ending with a surprise and something moving, that also usually links back to the beginning.

It all comes down to taking some time and thinking about what you want to say and how you can do it to interest readers.  Mull on that for a while before you start.  Then mull on it again after you finish.

Also keep in mind:

  • Most readers click out when the title and 1st paragraph don’t catch them. Hook them in paragraph one.
  • Keep in mind that at least a third of our readers are non-native speakers. Be interesting and research-based, but understandable.
  • A sentence that’s 3 lines long is probably too long. Mix mid-length and short sentences.

More tips on writing  here.

Writing Topics

You do not have to be an expert in the issue theme, just someone with something to contribute. Listen to the main videos first.  Do they inspire you in some way, make you think about your classes, wonder if something is left out?  Then take advantage of that.  Write a reaction, application to the classroom, or expansion.  Don’t give us a lecture.  As you read around to learn more about the topic, attach links to those articles in your text so that we can learn more, too. This periodical is digital, so embed hyperlinks for citations (or use the traditional APA style).

Photos and Formatting

Feel free to include photos in your article, your own or one from our favorite free photo sites:  /

As explained in the Submissions Guidelines section, you should write in the template file and choose the paragraph style TT Body Text for the main text. We are APA-ish, but you do not have to write everything perfectly in APA style (just your non-linked references need to follow APA guidelines). 


Please help us by making sure your article does not need too much editing.  Proof it yourself after a day of distance.  Ask a friend to read it.  Many great writers read their paper out loud, as glitches and poor wording are more likely to be found.  Then put it on the shelf for 24 hours before sending it and read it again.

ABSOLUTELY, run it through one of the free online grammar checkers, or both.  Don’t forget that these tools are not foolproof, and so they should not be your only method of proofreading.