Teaching Tools and Resources

Resources

TESOL International Organization

This is an excellent resource for discovering new research, learning about conferences, and professional development.  It also shows news, including events and awards, and provides access to resources, such as seminars, activities, sample lesson plans, and activities.

ELT Journal

The English Language Teaching Journal publishes research intended specifically for English language teachers, as well as book reviews.  It is helpful for keeping up-to-date with the development of the field of teaching English.

British Council

This website is also an excellent resource for finding teacher development opportunities and teacher training courses.  It also has a list of events, and provides resources such as activities and articles for teaching kids, teenagers, and adults.

Favorite Activities

Vocabulary Review

Overview:  At the end of a class where new vocabulary was introduced in context and discussed, each student is given one word on a piece of paper.  Everyone then splits up and has to describe their word and its definition to other people in the class using only the L2, and each pair co-constructs a sentence using the word.  The students then switch to a new partner and repeat.  

Principles Supported:  This activity allows students to focus primarily on meaning, and also provides opportunities for output and interaction.  The main purpose is to improve knowledge and use of vocabulary.  Students produce output in the target language, and teachers can determine how well students know the words by their ability to define them and explain them in the target language itself, rather than giving a simple one word translation as the meaning.  Students also get input from hearing the other students describe each of their words.

Directions

Overview:  Give students maps with various locations written on them and have them listen to an audio tape giving directions from one place to another.  Have them follow along the directions on the map to figure out where the directions are to. Then discuss with their neighbor what they heard and where they thought the directions were to, checking to see if they arrived at the same place on the map.  Then as a class, discuss the directions they heard in the audio and how they were used (turn left/right at… go straight past…. etc), making note of new vocabulary as necessary. Lastly, have the students in pairs give each other directions to places on the maps using the phrases and words they figured out together as a class.

Principles Supported:  This activity provides opportunities for realistic and authentic input, as well as output and interaction.  It focuses mostly on the form of direction-giving as well as vocabulary and collocations.  It is effective for introducing and developing vocabulary, collocations, and grammar (simple present or basic command tense, prepositions) associated with directions.  It also allows them exposure to input and time to process that input individually, in pairs, and in a class, and then allows them to produce comprehensible output using the structures they acquired or heard in the input.

Before-During-After

Overview:  Before reading a text, have students write what they already know about the topic of the text.  The previously-known information is then talked about in pairs and written on the board.  During the reading, have students note new information. After reading, discuss as a class the purpose of the text and its main points, and then have students write a summary individually or in pairs.

Principles Supported:  This activity provides opportunities for authentic input as well as output production.  It also allows students to develop literacy skills such as summarizing and looking for new information.  The activity could be used to introduce either vocabulary or grammatical forms, with different texts being utilized for different goals.