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 also accept very short articles on one key topic each (under 700 words) as part of 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, and we prefer (but do not require) that references are included as hyperlinks in relevant words in the text wherever possible.

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 can be submitted as a Google Doc or Microsoft Word file.

Please include with your submission…

  •  a high-resolution headshot photo of the author(s)
  • a 50-word or less biography starting with the author’s name
  • a 35-word or less teaser for the table of contents

    Here are two examples:

Sample Biography

Afon (Mohammad) Khari is a master’s student in Brain and Cognitive Sciences at the University of Amsterdam. He holds a BA in English Literature, an MA in Philosophy of Art, and a CELTA. Afon has been reading and researching on the integration of neuroscience into pedagogy.

Sample Teaser

Curtis Kelly peers into our relationship with grammar, how we have learned to live with it, and why it can lead to choking (literally, not figuratively).

5) We encourage you to include photos, graphics, and other images, but they must be available for use in the public domain or licensed under Creative Commons. (This guide offers a particularly helpful explanation on the different kind of fair-use images and how you can use them.) Our team may add to or replace your suggested graphics during the editing process, so please indicate if you feel a particular image is essential to your article.

For images you include yourself, please add alt-text that describes the image clearly for visually-impaired readers. Refer to this guide for best practices on writing alt-text.

The Editing Process

1) An editor will put your article in a Google Doc and make changes and comments. You have final say on the changes other than outright errors or those that are necessary to fit our standards, such as Oxford commas. Go to the Doc and accept/reject all the corrections (by hitting the checkmark or X buttons) and attend to the comments so that there are no comment boxes left.

2) Our comments usually go beyond just correcting. We also make suggestions on ways to make the article more readable, more powerful, or more moving. The article is still yours. So take these as just suggestions and don’t feel obligated to follow them. Some contributors like this kind of advice and some don’t. Feel free to tell us your preference.

3) Other editors will go through the article again and might leave new sets of corrections and comments. Because of this extensive editing, we need the article about two weeks before the publishing date (typically by the 15th of the month prior to publication.) For example, if the issue is set to be published on March 1st, you should submit your draft no late than February 15th.

4) Email exchanges should usually be done with all the editors. This address works for that: Don’t forget to “reply all” in subsequent conversations with the editors.

5) Please understand that this is a work of love for us.  We are unfunded and unpaid. Being language teachers ourselves, we just want to make the world better for other teachers and learners.

Writing Guidelines

How to Write Memorable Articles

As the criteria above 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 say it in a way that will 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 also 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 we encourage embedding sources as hyperlinks (and where hyperlinks are unavailable, you can reference them using APA style). 

Photos and Formatting

Feel free to include photos in your article, and place them where you think they best belong. You can find your own or ones from some of our favorite free photo sites:  /

Otherwise, keep your draft’s formatting simple. Feel free to add headers and sub-headers where needed. Make sure you write with a readable font. If you want to add bulleted or numbered lists, you can! You can bold or italicize words as you feel its necessary to do so.

As we prepare your draft for publication, we will incorporate it into the magazine template ourselves. Preparing your draft with a basic formatting makes this transition easier on our designer. 


Please help us by making sure your article does not need too much editing.  Proofread 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 when heard.  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.