Resources for Teaching ESL
A Few of My Favorite Books
When I entered the field of ESL education, there were very few resources online for teachers and, living in Korea, very few books to help a teacher develop. A lot has changed in the past fifteen years. I have shelves of books written for ESL teachers and I could give up sleep and work and still not have enough time to even visit every ESL website, much less read them and make use of the information and lessons provided.
However, just because something is available, does not mean it is worth my time or money. Here are some of the resources which have been valuable to me as an ESL teacher. Hopefully, you will find these helpful, as well.
Books to Read
If you are only going to read one book on teaching ESL, it should be Learning Teaching by Jim Scrivener. This book is an excellent reference which I refer to often. I have literally dozens of books on teaching, but this one generally has all the information I need in an easy-to-read format.
Having been educated in the US, grammar was not a subject focused on in the depth needed to teach ESL. So, when I need a concise way to explain a rule (or, more often, the exceptions to a given rule), I pull out Martin Parrott's Grammar for English Language Teachers. It not only explains rules concisely but thoroughly, it also provides example sentences and exercises. A winner all around.
For Conversation classes, I like George Rooks' books, Let's Start Talking, Can't Stop Talking, and Nonstop Discussion. They are set up to provide students time to think and write before speaking while minimizing the dreaded Teacher Talk Time.
For Young Learners, I love the Cambridge Copy Collection. They are a bit pricy, but have been worth it to me. I don't often use the materials as provided, but it is much easier to tailor something to my students' needs and abilities than to start from scratch.
Essential Reading and Resources
eslHQ provides free ESL flashcards, flash cards, worksheets, games, activities, lesson plans and more! This website is amazing! It has hundreds of images which you can select to create worksheets and flashcards using their templates.
- Free Printables for Teachers | flashcards, printable games, worksheets, phonics materials, conversat
Free Printables for Teachers - Free flashcards, worksheets, handouts and game cards to match, phonics materials, projects, games, and more all ready for download and printing.
- BusyTeacher: Free Printable Worksheets For Busy Teachers Like YOU!
Free printable worksheets and lesson plans for every busy teacher. Find printable worksheets on any topic: vocabulary, grammar, listening, reading, writing and speaking! There are also numerous articles on all aspects of teaching ESL.
- Jen's Teaching Tips
ESL teaching tips podcast from a longtime ESL veteran in Korea. (Me!)
Put Your Office Suite to Work
Your computer isn't only good for finding internet resources. You can make your own using Word, Powerpoint, and Publisher.
You are probably already using Word to make handouts and Powerpoint to liven up your lectures, but you can also use Publisher to make your handouts stand out. Of course, these days, Word can do most of what Publisher can do, so if you aren't familiar with it, you can make do with Word.
Professional Teaching Organizations
There are many benefits to joining an organization, not the least of which is the motivation you get from spending time in the company of like-minded teachers. Too often, when teachers get together, the "shop talk" is fairly negative-- problems with admin, problem children and their unreasonable parents, and of course, the never-ending pile of paperwork. However, at monthly workshops, the focus is on improvement.
In addition to monthly workshops, there are print and electronic publications available to members. TESOL International also offers online professional development courses.
TESOL International costs US$35-95 per year, depending on where you live, your income, and how long you have been teaching. Affiliates have their own membership rates, as well as publications, and conferences.