Website Review: Teaching English www.teachingenglish.org.uk/
In short: The best site for English teachers on the internet. If you only have time to visit one site a day, this should be it. What do you need? Activities for you classroom? They got ‘em. Training to make you a better teacher? Oh heck yeah. A worldwide community to bounce ideas off of, get help from, and have fun with. Si. Da. Nae. Hai. Tak. Yes. Yes. Yes.
For students: This site is mainly for teachers, but if your teacher isn’t using it, you might tell them about it. Also, check out their sister site for students: http://learnenglish.britishcouncil.org/en
For teachers: If you can’t find what you’re looking for, they also have links to tons of other sites. Oh, and make sure to like them on Facebook…
In short: Some great materials. The best parts are the stories. You can read, listen, and read simple versions. They are written by Kieran McGovern and he is very talented. You can learn more about him here.
Though the site design has improved recently, there are still broken links. Sometimes, the site is confusing. Most links open in a new window, so if you browse the site, you need to close a lot of windows.
For students: Check out the podcasts page for an excellent collection of listening materials.
For teachers: Click on the “reading” tab on eslreading.org to learn all about choosing ESL books (readers) for your classes. You can also read an article about writing readers.
Website Review: bbclearningenglish.com
In short: Wow, what a great site. Some of the best things are:
For students: “The Flatmates” are fantastic short episodes about a group of young Londoners. Listen every morning. It’ll only take a few minutes. It’s a great way to start your day.
For teachers: Be sure to click on the for teachers tab to find tons of great stuff (like lesson plans) that practically turns the site into a full-on curriculum.
Beyond Practice Tests: Factual Information Questions
Five ways to study Factual Information questions.
On a test like the TOEFL, Factual Information questions ask you to find an answer that the reading specifically answers. In other words, if you understand the vocabulary and grammar, you should get these questions correct all of the time. Here is a short reading and two simple Factual Information questions:
John went to the store and bought apples. After that, he went to the bank before stopping at the post office to mail some letters. Back home, he just watched some TV and took a nap.
What did John buy?
Why did John go to the post office?
Of course, these are easy examples, but if you study well, real factual information questions will be easy too. How can you study well? Of course, practice tests are very useful. But, what if you don’t have any more practice tests?
Here are five study strategies.
Reading and Writing Read a magazine article. When you’re finished, write down ten things you learned.
How did you know that? After you’ve written ten things you learned from an article, write down the ten sentences from the article that taught you those things.
Make Practice Questions Write practice questions for an article. Include the real answer and three wrong answers. When you choose the wrong answers, try to pick things that you might guess.
Try to know everything Look at sentences. Write down every fact that is in the sentence. For some sentences there might be ten new things that you can learn. Try to find as many as you can.
Be Random Randomly choose ten words, expressions, or sentences from an article. Then, read the article. Finally, create questions that use the things you chose as the answers.
Website Review: iteslj.org
In short: One of the five best ESL sites on the internet. They have everything. They’ve been putting out great material for 15 years and let’s hope they never stop. Their own menu bar says it all: Articles, Lessons, Techniques, Questions, Games, Jokes, Things for Teachers, Links, and Activities for Students.
The site is organized perfectly. There’s no distracting advertising. If you have a slow connection, this site will still load quickly. What more could you want?
For students: The “Activities for Students” button will take you to this site a4esl.org, There, you’ll find many fun things you can do to improve your English.
For teachers: You can learn from the articles and use the lessons, techniques, etc. Why not contribute as well? See if you can get an article published. You’ll learn a lot while preparing it and give a little back to the community of teachers and students around the world.