Resources posted 16 October, 2006. If any links are dead, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
This is an annotated list of useful Web sites for language teacher development (brief descriptions of at least five Web sites with titles, hyper-linked URLs and key reasons for my choosing these websites or creation of content)
Dave’s ESL Café
I have been using this site since I entered the field of TESOL in 1997. It has thus far been the easiest site to navigate and provides helpful and practical information. This site can give teachers access to jobs, schools to work at and study in, an ideas section, a forum for teachers with no prior knowledge or for teachers who have been teaching for a long time. The site can also suggest possible schools around the world where teachers can hone their skills. It is a site I would recommend for any teacher in the TESOL field.
Fred Shannon’s Blog
Fred Shannon, coincidentally a former student of the University of Southern Queensland (USQ), provides several academic papers that discuss current trends in the field of TESOL, issues at large in the English teaching field, and topics of interest for expatriates living in Asia. Such topics include academia, the opening of new language schools in Asia, reviews of CELTA schools in Thailand, and the treatment of migrant workers in Taiwan. He responds very quickly to emails, which should help any teachers in need of suggestions.
Hall Houston’s Random ESL Idea Generator
When I am in need of some new and invigorating ideas, I will check out this site. It is very viewer friendly, provides me with many ideas for lessons, and is a great source of information for the novice as well as the advanced language teacher. Great for those days when even us seasoned vets run out of ideas. He provides simple instructions on how to make your lesson much more interesting.
Internet TESL Journal
This site provides teachers with comprehensive information on teaching techniques, lesson plans, links to other great sites (such as humor, business English, and songs), and conversation questions for the ESL teacher.
ESL Teachers Board
This site provides information for ESL students and teachers, as well as information about ESL schools. From lesson plan information, how to find a school or even buy a school, to finding 'key pals' for students is listed in this site. There is also a very extensive forum where teachers can discuss their pedagogic issues.
Randall’s ESL Cyber Listening Lab
This site provides teachers with great sources for quizzes, lesson plans, audio and video options, as well as links to other ESL sites. For example, the dating and marriage section provides provocative and lively topics of interest for any junior high or above ESL class. It is a must for any and all ESL teachers.
Technology Tips of the Month
This site can aid any Internet based language instruction or computer assisted language learning (IBLI/CALL) teacher, from the novice to the expert. This site provides details about software, email, web searches, about the web, group discussion/conferencing and class projects, content based instruction, skill areas, and other topics (using screenshots, mailing lists, for example). It is very user-friendly, without technological distractions, and it is very simple to navigate.
Web-based language learning activities
Education with Student News
It is important to keep people and especially language learners up to date with the news, current events, and cultural aspects of the language they are learning, as well as news as a whole. This is why this site was chosen for students. This site includes news items related to schools, education, and international issues, with various articles in print form (reading skills) and on video (listening). This site also has links to education news, CNN presents the classroom, ten questions and news quizzes, quick guides and transcripts, as well as learning activities. The ten questions link asks students questions about the story they have just played, which helps students in comprehension, oral or written skills (depending on the choice of the teacher and/or learner). With transcripts, students can become journalists, and create enactments of the news for that day, in the form of role-play. This incorporates reading, listening, and oral skills.
This site is one I would definitely use in any Asian EFL classroom, or anywhere else in the world. Younger and older students will enjoy learning languages with this amusing site. This site provides interactive online game links, where students have to find items, solve a puzzle, and complete a task. They can learn new vocabulary, through honing in on their listening and reading skills. There is also a section which quizzes students’ knowledge about the area they live in and which PBS station is playing in their region. By clicking on the colouring link, students can play games; learn colours, family, and read a book about adventure. There is also a link about music, where students can sing along with monkey songs, Mr. Rodgers, and Big Bird, for example. This helps them with their listening and oral skills.
Time for Kids
Depending on the creativity of the teacher and student, this site can cover the four macro skills of listening, reading, writing, and speaking. Yes, it is for children, but adults enjoy a little fun in learning. Let’s keep their motivation high too, by making our lessons a little more light hearted. This site has links to space news, entertainment, education, has a games and trivia link, a homework helper (students can read and watch videos about science, the arts, language arts, math, history, geography, social sciences, and read about researching and referencing), kids scoop (kids and immature people in the news), specials (read about biographies or articles on Africa), and there is a poll zone (students are asked thought provoking questions).
Dave’s ESL Caf’s Student Discussion Forum
This part of the ESL Café is a form of computer-mediated communication (CMC). It is important for our students to know that they can read and learn about information from different sources. Educators need to teach their students to think critically, and be able to judge for themselves what is trustworthy or reliable. Through forums, where anyone can write about any topics, students can practice their writing skills, learn about various opinions and news, and keep thinking critically. Dave’s forum, in this case, discusses the events revolving around 9/11. Students need to register (for free), and then can join any number of discussions on the board.
The site for the pre-school aged students let’s them colour (vocabulary, listening), and provides links to the post office, the Moon, Nana (grandma), art, ducks, painting, stickers, songs, and hide and seek. Students can also see authentic videos. When the youngsters press the links, they can play a variety of games which can help their listening, reading, and speaking skills, as well as hand-eye coordination. The site for the elementary school aged students contains a listing of TV shows that are of interest to children, which promotes listening skills, and includes games (action games, classic games, puzzles, and show games), which can help with attitudes and motivation, both of which are indispensible to language learning.