Useful Links and Resources

Social Media App for Language Practice

HelloTalk

Mobile users click here. This app allows users to build language learning communities. A search for language exchange partners can be wide or very filtered. You can have private chats or large group chats, and when you set up a group, you can later remove people if necessary. What language learners get is a very robust platform for language practice on the go. Think of it as a text chat on steroids. You can exchange text messages, voice messages, and photos. There are translation tools, pronunciation support, and correction tools, too. The correction tools are wonderful for a teacher who is running a group chat. Think of the many uses for this platform, from small group collaboration to ongoing practice outside the classroom.

Sites for General Language Practice and Reference

About.com: English as a 2nd Language

Kenneth Beare provides explanations and interactive quizzes for learners at all levels. Topics range from general grammar to Business English. The site could certainly be a recommended resource for your students. Also, take a look at his suggested lesson plans and creative grammar chants.

Activities for ESL Students

This site offers a very large collection of exercises at all levels for grammar and vocabulary. There are bilingual quizzes, too. I’ve recommended the exercises to my private students for additional practice in the past. This collection has contributions from many different teachers.

Englishpage.com

Useful collection of interactive exercises with text tutorials. Student forums are offered, too.

ESLVideo.com

This site offers video-based quizzes for ELLs that make us of authentic commercials, music vids, and more. Recommend the site for independent study or use existing quizzes (beginner to high-intermediate) that tie in to your lesson plan. Take it a step further and create your own quizzes. The site allows you to build your own quizzes and share them with your students. Even better – you can see your students results on your teacher’s account.

Real English

Mike Marzio is the founder of this project, and it’s an interesting, unique, and valuable resource to use both in and out of the classroom. The range of speakers will expose students to varieties of English. The intelligent editing makes the authentic speech comprehensible to learners. Quizzes on the Real English site are categorized by grammar level.

USA Learns

Initially funded by the U.S. Dept. of Education, this site is an amazing resource for beginners and intermediate students studying independently. There’s also potential for this site to supplement classroom instruction. Videos and readings could be worked into your lesson plans as homework. If you tutor one-on-one, consider registering to set up courses and track student progress.

Sites for Listening Practice

Elllo

I’ve shared this site with private students. The selection of recorded conversations is large enough that I can choose speakers and topics that match my learners’ needs and interests. Just forewarn students that sometimes there are typos in the transcripts, but all is forgiven since the site is such a treasure.

Randall’s ESL Cyber Listening Lab

Many teachers are familiar with Randall’s wonderful work, which he has generously been sharing for over a decade. On his well-maintained site, you’ll find a large collection of listening quizzes for general and academic study at all levels. The quizzes come with transcripts.

TED

TED stands for Technology, Education, and Design. TED describes itself as “a nonprofit dedicated to ideas worth spreading.” The project that provides a resource for English language teachers and learners is the award-winning TEDTalks. Many high profile people, such as Bill Gates and Michelle Obama, have given a TEDTalk. Topics range from innovations to the environment. Their YouTube channel TEDTalksDirector features these inspiring lectures. Closed captions and translated subtitles are available on their site.

Sites for Grammar Reference

Azar Grammar Exchange

Here you will not only learn by reading well-written grammar explanations, but you can also post questions and comments. Do you have a tricky grammar question? Just register and start a discussion on that topic. You can see the latest threads here. The greatest treasure is probably the archive of Grammar Q&A Messages. The keyword index facilitates your search. Kudos and many thanks to Rachel Spack Koch for moderating the forum and maintaining the archive!

Guide to Grammar & Writing

This is a non-profit site with great information for teachers and plenty of material you could recommend to students.

Sites for Pronunciation Reference

Paul Meier Dialect Services

Students and teachers can benefit from the rich online resources of Paul Meier, accent reduction specialist and dialect coach. On Paul’s website there is one resource in particular that upper level students and teachers will appreciate: IPA charts, which cover both consonant sound and vowel sounds with the aid of flash animation and audio recordings. Teachers and serious linguists should also explore the hundreds of downloadable recordings on The International Dialects of English Archive (IDEA), of which Paul is the founder and director.

University of Iowa's Phonetics Flash Animation Project

The University of Iowa offers a wonderful resource for language study. Follow the link and you’ll find animated explanations of phonemes. The site states: “Available for each consonant and vowel is an animated articulatory diagram, a step-by-step description, and a video-audio of the sound spoken in context.” Click on the American English Phonetics Library and you will be able to select a vowel or consonant sound. Explanations of useful terminology (for example, “diphthong” and “voicing”) are also given.

Miscellaneous Sites for Teacher Reference

ESLnotes.com

“The English Learner Movie Guides” Raymond Weschler has compiled a list of films he recommends for English language instruction. His notes are helpful in choosing a film or recalling what a film is about. Each guide is a time-saver for classroom teachers and includes a plot summary, list of characters, and teaching notes (e.g. discussion questions).

Phras.In

This is a straightforward language tool. The idea is to help speakers decide which of two phrases sounds more natural by quickly providing the number of hits for each alternative. The mastermind behind the tool is a non-native speaker, Francesco Benetti, who you can follow on Twitter. He also provides a Gmail address for comments and inquiries. The simplicity is what makes Mr. Benetti’s tool so nice. It’s not about finding rules but the most frequent collocations. Many thanks to my colleagues in TESOL who shared this resource with me. I think both teachers and learners will find search results from Phras.In an insightful addition to dictionary entries.

Style Guide Resource

A compilation of style guide resources: MLA, APA, Chicago, and CSE.

TEFLVideos.com

A well-made collection of videos that offers practical advice on teaching EFL in the classroom.

The Idiom Connection

This resource has explanations and interactive quizzes on idioms. I prefer to list this as a teacher’s resource rather than one for students. As the teacher, you can select which ones and how many to present within the framework of a single lesson.

The World Clock

When I began to teach private lessons online, I quickly learned about the necessity of using a time zone converter. Always double check the time difference!

Online Teacher Training and Professional Development

Foreign Language Teaching Methods

The University of Texas at Austin has compiled professional development modules for foreign language teaching. From grammar to assessment, they cover the essentials. Through video and text, different teachers address 12 aspects of teaching.

TESOL

TESOL has a number of certificate programs, including Principles and Practices of Online Teaching Certificate.

Electronic Village Online (EVO)

The CALL Interest Section of TESOL holds 5-week professional development workshops every year starting in January. The sessions are free and open to all practicing teachers. TESOL membership is not required.

Textbooks and Other Offline Materials

50 Activities for the First Day of School Burns, Walton.

This an affordable addition to your toolkit. Keep these easy-to-use activities at hand. They’re great as ice breakers or warm-ups on any time of the year.

Accurate English: A Complete Course in Pronunciation Dauer, Rebecca

I learned a lot by teaching from this book when I was a classroom teacher. My copy at home is from 1993, but I still keep it in my library.

English Pronunciation Made Simple Dale and Poms

A pronunciation textbook with CDs. Easy to follow because it’s well organized. This was the first printed material I worked with as a teacher in the pronunciation classroom.

How to Teach English Harmer, Jeremy

This is an easy read with solid and practical information for new teachers. Even experienced teachers would enjoy and benefit from Harmer’s discussion of English language teaching. He also has a blog that’s worth visiting. (See the link in my own blogroll on WordPress.)

Principles of Language Learning and Teaching Brown, H. Douglas

There is a lot of essential information packed into this book. I recommend it for any teacher who needs to bulk up on theory.

A Student’s Grammar of the English Language Greenbaum and Quirk

An oldie but goodie. I love the copy a colleague passed on to me. I often use it to solve tricky grammar questions. At times there’s probably more information than students actually need to know, but it helps sort everything in a teacher’s mind.

TESOL Press

TESOL has quality books for ELTs. These are peer-reviewed books. The Classroom Practice Series is especially helpful. One of my favorite publications by TESOL Press is Language Teaching Insights from Other Fields, edited by Christopher Stillwell.

The Week: The Best of the U.S. and International Media

My favorite magazine for teaching and personal use.