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Thursday, 18 February 2010

A Wandering of Websites: Useful On-line Resources for English Teachers

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While a herd of cattle, a flock of sheep, a school of fish and, at a stretch, a gaggle of geese might not have too much trouble rolling off your tongue, could you happily take on board (and not feel totally ridiculous saying) "Oh my goodness, did you see that intrusion of cockroaches / squabble of seagulls / paddling of ducks / murmuration of starlings the other day - weren't they quite something?"

(That was all one sentence, by the way - I'm rather proud of it...)

I suspect not.

But a wandering of websites... well I don't see why not. Never let it be said that I never neologise, right?!

And here they are: a handful of interesting, and potentially teacher-exploitable websites that I've come across over the last few days. There have been others, there will be more, but this is what I have for you today...

This offers a series of short videos of people talking about stuff quite similar to what I do on the Hotch Potch English Mega Minute, but it's always nice to have a choice. There are also some interactive exercises and the script which is useful, and lots of different accents which is good too.

This is a very useful on-line depository of newsy stuff, the most interesting of which may be the collection of newspaper front pages from all over the world. They are available in printable pdfs and can be used in class quite easily. Relevant and up to date - what more could you ask for?! Good for comparing approaches to news stories from around the world, with a good collection of English titles to choose from.

This is a great idea in principle but pretty useless in practice... for native speakers. But excellent for students of English. The idea is that people - anyone - creates a short video where they define a word on camera and put it on the site. They can, of course, peruse all the other efforts and there's nothing to stop you from setting exercises based on watching the homespun definitions of certain words. It would be pretty fun for students to define their own words in their own English and immediately see their efforts on the internet. All you need is a free You Tube account and you're away. The reason I say it's useless, or rather pointless for native speakers is that the fun of watching some boring definitions of words we already know wears off very quickly. But for learners this is less the case.
A great site, not only for its large collection of quotes, but because you can sign up for a daily e-mail for free with an inspirational quotation and some other stuff. I just read the quotations and sometimes share them with my students. Why not have a look?
Check out this site for a really cool, and curious little interactive story. There are resources for exploiting it with students and it is very unusual and strangely engaging.
Feel free to also send in your general ideas and thoughts by commenting below, and... read you shortly!
Sab Will is Course Director at TEFL Paris, a TEFL Certificate Teacher Training Centre validated by IATQUO

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